In a Twitter post today, Matthew Hennessey, deputy op-ed editor for the Wall Street Journal, complained about a New York Times story on a British court ruling that a mentally disabled woman must have an abortion.
“Reporter calls abortion rights group for comment on big story but harvests pro-life quotes from social media. Another totally fair report from our great journalist advocate class,” Hennessey tweeted with obvious sarcasm.
In a follow-up tweet, he added, “It’s almost — almost — as if making the phone call, talking to real pro-lifers and respectfully recording their views is so disgusting and legitimizing as to repel the average journalist.”
Before I analyze the Times story in question, a quick note on the case itself: The Catholic News Agency reports that the forced abortion has been overturned on appeal.
Back to Hennessey’s complaint, which has been retweeted 125 times and liked 272 times as I type this post: I’ve read numerous news reports over the years where I would have said “Amen!” and agreed wholeheartedly. In fact, in an email chain with my GetReligion colleagues, I called dibs on critiquing this story before reading it.
It seemed like a quick-and-easy case to make the highly relevant journalistic point that we often do here: That is, ample evidence supports the notion of rampant news media bias against abortion opponents, as noted in a classic Los Angeles Times series by the late David Shaw way back in 1990.