Tuesday, February 28, 2006

AP Bias Shines Through

The Associated Press released an article this afternoon with the glaringly idiotic headline, "Supreme Court Backs Abortion Protesters." If you managed to get past that headline and actually read the substance of the article, you would have learned that the Supreme Court -- as constituted prior to the confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito, minus Justice O'Connor's vote -- handed down a unanimous 8-0 decision that pretty much said abortion protesters could not be prosecuted under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

The Associated Press should know better, since its headline is intended to make at-a-glance newsreaders think that the newly constituted Supreme Court is on the warpath against abortion. I have not read the decision yet, but I am going to go out on a shaky limb and guess that it does not give protesters (of abortion or any other subject) carte blanche to damage people's property and intimidate or even harm people. It merely says that a federal statute designed to prosecute mobsters and drug traffickers cannot be used to silence people who are exercising their First Amendment rights.

Heck, the article even acknowledges that Justice Alito did not factor into the decision (although it ominously drops that factoid in at the end of the story . . . as if to say, "Geez, if the Court can make this dastardly decision without Alito . . . imagine what it can do with Alito").

Normally, this is where I would pile on and slam the mainstream media, but for the most part, the headlines and articles hit the right note in that they merely pointed out that the decision was essentially placing boundaries on RICO. Those news sources that pick up the AP wire (like Forbes) both used the same idiotic headline, but for the most part, there was an attempt to tell it right. (Click here for a list of current headlines and stories on the decision. As a caveat, the headlines seemed fair when I last checked this link. Since they update frequently, the tone may change in one direction or another.)

My kingdom for a fair AP headline.

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