America's Abortion Wars: The Issue
Several states have been passing controversial abortion laws, giving the issue more controversy than ever. This will be an examination of some of two states and their laws, with particular focus on the way they are represented and talked about in the media.
- Media focus on abortion laws in the past few months has been primarily on Kansas and Arizona. These to states have passed laws with some questionable elements in their fight against abortion. Several media sources who are either trying to remain objective or are blatantly conservative are leaving out information included in these laws when reporting to the public.
The Kansas Abortion Law
- Unlike the articles to follow, this article accurately describes many issues found in the law. While it begins with looking at the tax issues involved, it also examines the other issues at hand. The problems include: the requirement for doctors to tell patients that abortion is linked to breast cancer (unproven), the allowance for doctors to lie to their patients and the concern that the University of Kansas OB/GYN program might lose its accreditation. It is important that this source includes all of the issues and tries to stay objective on the issue. This neutral language allows the reader to glean useful information that they may not find at left or right leaning media sources.
For instance, a right leaning source, like the following article from Fox News, might only focus on the tax aspect of the bill but neglect to inform on the other issues existent in the bill. While this particular article does allow for the university's problem with the bill, it does not elaborate and simply says that "language" was added to the bill which addressed the issue. It completely ignores the other things wrong, such as the lying.
- While there are obviously right-leaning media examinations of this topic, more blatantly liberal messages exist as well.
- For instance, this article in the Huffington Post uses much more direct and aggressive language in describing the bill than the language used by Fox, and they focus primarily on the other issues, instead of the tax deduction issue. This is clearly a bid for opposition of the law.
By looking at these three media sources, a reader gains three very different sets of information. Clearly, the best is the one provided by the first article, which is by far the most objective. However, from there, the reader could decide their stance on the issue and move on to one of the biased sources. Language and the way media presents an issue is very important to this sensitive issue and the way people feel about and respond to it.
The Arizona Abortion Law
- The following article is the most unbiased piece I could find on the matter. This article from MSNBC describes the details of the bill, but does not address every issue. However, it does use more neutral language than the articles to follow. It admits that the law is controversial in nature and addresses some of the concerns, but without a judgmental tone.
- This articles use of language is important because it gives a mostly objective viewpoint of the issue which, much like the article about the Kansas law from the Kansas City Star, is a great starting point for those who wish to form their own opinions. A reader who might come across a biased news source before a more objective one might be swayed by the biased article's use of language to appeal to their demographic.
The following article from Fox News is a more biased view of the Arizona abortion controversy. It attempts to make excuses that validate certain aspects of the controversial issues. For instance, it says that the 20-wwk abortion ban is in response to the medical claim that fetuses can feel pain after that stage in the pregnancy. It uses these tactics to place the abortion law, which is very much in the conservative wheelhouse, in a good light that should be accepted by everyone.
- Unlike the conservatively biased news source above, the two following sources are from liberal media. They draw stark attention to the controversial issues of the law, with particular focus on the redefinition of when life begins. The main issue with this particular law, which the other articles do not address, is that the new Arizona law place conception at the end of the last menstrual period, which can be up to two weeks before conception. This particular issue has saturated liberal media about abortion rights and has outraged many liberal sources.
- While the Huffington Post article is clearly more sophisticated and professional than the one from Jezebel, the inclusion of this article showcases the outrage felt among extremely left-leaning media. You don't even need to read the article to gain the feeling of the article on the issue, the headline does it it all. "Uteruses Everywhere Weep as Arizona Governor Signs Insanely Restrictive Abortion Bill Into Law." This headline is dripping with outrage at the issue and does not even attempt to conceal it.
The differences among the language and use of words in these news sources is very important to note. A person who were to read the Jezebel article first might form a stalwart opinion of the issue based on the information they provide. Similarly, someone who reads the Fox article, may feel that there isn't really anything wrong with that, because they do not learn everything they need to know, or they might be influenced by their less enthusiastic choice of words. For these reasons, people who wish to be informed on any issue should look for the most objective news source possible to initially learn about a controversial issue. By doing so, any individual will be allowed to form their own opinion based on pure information, rather than opinionated media sources.
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