Media Miss the Mark in Covering Kagan; Partial-Birth Revelation Ignored
What was the big story in Wednesday’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan? According to the New York Times, it was “Republicans Press Kagan on Social Issues,” while the Washington Post focused on how Kagan “charmed her critics.”
It must have taken a Herculean effort for editors and reporters to ignore the most genuinely newsworthy development yesterday: Evidence that, as a White House staffer in 1996, Kagan lobbied two medical associations to produce “scientific” support for the Clinton administration’s position on partial-birth abortion.
Reporting by Shannen Coffin at National Review and Byron York at the Washington Examiner clearly documents Kagan’s intervention, raising important ethical questions about a lawyer willing to manipulate supposedly objective evidence for political purposes.
Kagan seemed evasive in her answers to Sen. Orrin Hatch’s questions about the ACOG memos and — as Audrey Hudson notes in her report today for Human Events — Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life said, “There are serious discrepancies between her statements to Senator Hatch and the documented evidence of her actions in December 1996.” Yet, with the exception of Human Events and Steve Ertelt of Life News, it seems no other reporter found Yoest’s accusation of “discrepancies” newsworthy.
Yoest is scheduled to testify before the Judiciary Committee this afternoon. (Because of memorial services for Sen. Roberty Byrd, today’s hearings will be delayed until 4 p.m. Eastern.) Yoest can be expected to highlight Kagan’s partial-birth manipulation of the American Medical Association (AMA) and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which looks suspiciously like what some might call evidence tampering.