Wichita

After Kennedy retirement, you'll find thousands of the nation's happiest people in ... Wichita, Kan.

After Kennedy retirement, you'll find thousands of the nation's happiest people in ... Wichita, Kan.

After Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement announcement Thursday, CNN political analyst Jeffrey Toobin tweeted that abortion will be illegal in 20 states in 18 months.

The Twitter post, expressing the worst fears of abortion-rights supporters, quickly went viral.

But if there is weeping and gnashing of teeth — on the pro-choice side — over the future of Roe v. Wade, the mood is something entirely different among thousands of pro-life advocates gathering in Wichita, Kan., this weekend.

Coincidentally, the National Right to Life committee's three-day national convention started this morning — the day after the Kennedy news shook the nation's political and legal landscape.

This post mainly serves as a public service announcement that regional newspapers — including the Kansas City Star and the Wichita Eagle — are following the convention and have produced some excellent coverage already. 

Today's in-depth preview of the convention by the Star mixes crucial details and relevant context both on the National Right to Life Committee and red-state Kansas itself:

For the first time in its 50-year history, the nation’s largest anti-abortion organization is holding its annual convention in Kansas, a state seen by many in the movement as a model for passing tough abortion restrictions.

The National Right to Life Committee, which has affiliates in every state and more than 3,000 chapters across the country, will open its convention Thursday morning at the Sheraton Overland Park with 90 minutes of speeches by Gov. Jeff Colyer and others.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm and optimism in the pro-life base right now,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “We are seeing a lot of young people getting involved. We have a president who is issuing great pro-life orders and actions. And he’s appointing judges to the courts that we believe will strictly interpret the Constitution and not make it up as they go along.”

And yes, the Star notes the significance of Kennedy's retirement:

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Why did the Wichita Eagle go into full-force 'activist mode' in reporting on California travel ban?

Why did the Wichita Eagle go into full-force 'activist mode' in reporting on California travel ban?

The phrase "travel ban," included in the headline above, will evoke all sorts of thoughts in America's current political state of mind.

Feel free to dismiss them. 

This post is about an actual news story concerning a real, live, travel ban. And Donald J. Trump's red-hot executive-order pen has nothing to do with it.

California, the one-time republic now part of the United States, has implemented a September 2016 law prohibiting the state and its agencies from spending money in places where alleged "discrimination" against gays is practiced, the Wichita Eagle, published in the state's largest city, reports:

California has banned state-funded travel to Kansas after determining that the Sunflower State is one of four in the nation with laws that it views as discriminatory toward gay people.
The policy could prevent public universities in California from scheduling sporting events with Kansas teams and raises the question of whether teams will travel to Wichita in 2018, when the city is scheduled to host two rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
“California must take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” states the California law, which was passed in September. The law prohibits state agencies and universities from using state dollars to pay for travel to states with laws it views as discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. There are a few exceptions, such as for law enforcement purposes.
Kansas is on the travel prohibition list because of a 2016 law that enabled college campus religious groups to require that members adhere to their religious beliefs and standards. That law was crafted partially in response to a controversy in California that occurred when a Christian student group lost recognition on California State University campuses for failure to comply with an “all comers” non-discrimination policy in 2014.

Unlike those controversial bills in North Carolina on transgendered people and bathrooms, or the since-amended Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Kansas law makes no specific mention of sexuality but merely allows campus-based religious groups to require that leaders and members adhere to the group's beliefs.

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In this journalistic desert, abortion supporters thrive while pro-life advocates go thirsty

In this journalistic desert, abortion supporters thrive while pro-life advocates go thirsty

Over the years, GetReligion repeatedly has cited the classic 1990 Los Angeles Times series — written by the late David Shaw — that exposed rampant news media bias against abortion opponents.

Just a few examples of our critiques:  here, here and here.

So feel free to file this latest post under the category of "Here we go again."

Among Shaw's findings a quarter-century ago were these:

* The news media consistently use language and images that frame the entire abortion debate in terms that implicitly favor abortion-rights advocates.
* Abortion-rights advocates are often quoted more frequently and characterized more favorably than are abortion opponents.

Which leads us to the above-the-fold, Page 1 story on abortion in today's Los Angeles Times.

Before we dive into this review, care to guess:

1. How many of the seven sources quoted in this front-page story support abortion rights?

2. How many abortion advocates are quoted before the Times gets around to a pro-life source?

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Sorry, Heartland, you suffer from a major case of Islamophobia — an elite newspaper said so

Sorry, Heartland, you suffer from a major case of Islamophobia — an elite newspaper said so

On the front page of Sunday's Washington Post — below the banner coverage of "A blizzard for the ages" — ran a long, long profile of a young Muslim woman from Kansas.

The nearly 4,000-word story, told by a Pulitzer Prize-winning feature writer, follows a now-familiar media premise: Americans, particularly those in backward places like the Heartland, treat Muslim women who wear hijabs with suspicion and even disdain.

In this story — dubbed "The Education of Maira Salim" — the Post declares that Muslims like Salim are "enduring the worst spasm of Islamophobia in their lifetime as they decide their relationship with America."

We have, of course, repeatedly highlighted the problem with that word.

Granted, a lot of people on Twitter seemed to really like the Post's story on Salim. The piece was described as "beautifully sensitive," as "an engrossing read" and as "the very best of what the Washington Post does," just to cite a few examples.

And certainly, the story benefits from a talented writer:

 

 

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