A coalition of progressive advocacy organizations are urging journalists to challenge charged rhetoric in a document they’re describing as “guiding principles” to cover so-called culture war issues without amplifying misinformation.
Groups who specialize in immigration, gun reform, LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights banded together in the effort, saying it was frequently difficult to counter the volume of misleading statements on a one-on-one basis.
The coalition came out of a report released by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, better known as Naral Pro-Choice, which found just 11% of news reports about abortion “featured a real woman’s story”.
“With the supreme court gearing up to hear a direct challenge to Roe, we must ensure that the media has the tools necessary to accurately cover this case, and the issue of reproductive freedom more broadly,” said Kristin Ford, Naral Pro-Choice’s acting vice-president of communications and research, about the landmark 1973 case Roe v Wade.
Presently, women have the legal right to opt for an abortion until the fetus can live outside the womb, generally understood to be 24 weeks gestation. About six in 10 Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to the Pew Research Center.
In the abortion debate, obstetricians and gynecologists have long lamented the misuse of medical terms, especially as Republicans have passed increasingly extreme abortion bans termed “heartbeat bills”.
Such bans would make abortion illegal before most women know they are pregnant, around six weeks gestation. None have gone into effect because they are unconstitutional per legal precedent set by Roe.
ㅏ homophobic lobbyist coined the term “heartbeat bill” to focus attention on the moment when fetal cardiac activity is detected, but before an embryo develops a functioning heart. 에 2019, the Guardian changed its style guide to reflect that “heartbeat bill” was a misleading term for state abortion bans.
Groups said similar situations have played out across immigration, gun violence prevention and LGBTQ+ rights. Naral Pro-Choice partnered with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 그만큼 National LGBTQ Task Force and the immigration advocacy group United We Dream in the effort.
“In a world where there is so much misinformation, and so many new voices who can proactively get misinformation out there, we thought it was important to highlight the way misinformation is getting out there,” said Brian Wesolowski, communications director for the Giffords Law Center, a gun violence prevention advocacy group.
In other cases, news coverage has actively endangered migrants, some of whom flee persecution, or has allowed politicians to purposefully misgender trans people to advance anti-transgender legislation.
In gun violence prevention, Wesolowski said the media often failed to note large majorities of Americans support proposals such as universal background checks. In another example, large majorities of both gun owners and non-gun owners oppose allowing people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit or training, 에 따르면 Pew.
“The gun rights movement has gotten far more extremist,” said Wesolowski. “The voices we’re seeing in so much news really [are] just not a reflection of the majority of Americans.”
Ford said the groups’ partnership shows the urgency of challenging misinformation cuts across policy areas.
“We are not alone in this fight,” said Ford. “By partnering with leading LGBTQ, immigration and gun violence prevention groups, we are presenting a unified front to say that it is long past time to prioritize accuracy and inclusion in media coverage.”