MTV schools everyone in how to commit journalism

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, December 30, 2010 23:48 EDT
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Reading this reporting on the “No Easy Choice” documentary that aired late on December 28th on MTV, I was struck at the absurdity chronicled in this paragraph:

Some who are against abortion rights protested the show before it even aired. Conservative blogger Jill Stanek argued that, even though MTV insisted that it would cover the issue from all sides, no anti-abortion voices were included, and a few anti-abortion advocates swore off MTV entirely.

Here’s the thing: the documentary didn’t take “sides”. No pro-choice activists were included, either. It was just the three women and Dr. Drew Pinsky, being a decent person for once. He was compassionate towards the women and reported the facts accurately: abortion is common despite the silence around it, it’s not an easy decision, it’s extremely safe, and most women who do it really think long and hard about their decisions. Basically, the anti-choicers are angry about the facts, due to facts having a pro-choice bias.

How, exactly, were anti-choice voices supposed to play a part in a documentary that focused strictly on individuals telling their stories? Do they have 25 minutes of women talking about the pros and cons of abortion, and then say, “And now we’re going to cut to someone who has never talked to these women so he can screech lies about abortion at you for 5 minutes in the interest of ‘balance’”? Obviously, the very idea is silly. The documentary was short, but it was basic journalism. Here’s some facts. Here are the experiences of the people who lived through it. Draw your own conclusions.

It’s fascinating that conservatives basically are admitting up front that they have no argument if they’re not allowed to introduce lies and propaganda into the situation.

The sad thing is that this kind of bullying usually works on actual news networks, which feel pressured to give air time to overt lies in order to achieve “balance”. It’s a real shame to see MTV show up any news show that has ever allowed some wingnut airtime to spread lies without actually fact-checking their claims. Good on you, MTV. Hope everyone else is taking notes.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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