Alabama Republicans have just passed an abortion ban so extreme that even some national Republicans are saying they’ve gone too far. It’s the kind of ban that makes people who are generally wishy-washy on abortion sit up and realize that, whoa, Republicans are really ready to send women back to back alleys to die. So what does The New York Times have to say? That Democrats are on the defensive because of effective Republican messaging.
The word Alabama appears only once in more than 30 paragraphs. Instead, the focus is on the Republican lies blasted so repeatedly by Donald Trump that women are getting to the point of childbirth and suddenly deciding to have their newborns executed. It is a dangerous lie, and a cruel one, as neonatal intensive care nurses have called out. And when someone with Trump’s platform is blasting such a vicious lie, you do have to respond. But we’re talking about responding to a flagrant lie, by someone who lies constantly, with truth and emotional accuracy. As Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Leana Wen says, “These are families that have assembled a crib, picked out little clothes and put them into little drawers and had baby showers when they’ve received the most devastating news of their lives.” This is not a case in which Democrats are making a dry factual argument to rebut emotion-baiting Republican lies. The emotion may be on both sides—but it’s true on one of them, and it’s entirely appropriate to the argument. And this is what the Times considers being “on the defensive.”
And gee, wonder how the Republican message is “penetrating beyond the social conservatives who make up a large part of the Republican base,” when The New York Times is opening articles with copy like, “With grisly claims that Democrats promote ‘birth day abortions’ and are ‘the party of death,’ the Republican Party and its conservative allies have aggressively reset the terms of one of the country’s most divisive and emotionally fraught debates, forcing Democrats to reassess how they should respond to attacks that portray the entire party as extremist on abortion.” Funny how that works, huh, that if major media outlets repeat a long series of lies before setting the record straight, the lies are what penetrates the public consciousness.
But The New York Times really, really misses the boat if it thinks that the defensiveness is on the pro-choice side, post-Alabama (and Georgia, and Ohio, and Missouri). Republican extremism is making people wake up and realize just how endangered women’s reproductive freedom is.