After ignoring Gosnell, media turns Wendy Davis into a folk hero

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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When the Republican minority in the U.S. Senate employs the filibuster to stop something they deem to be bad public policy, they are usually portrayed as obstructionists — almost on par with Strom Thurmond. But when Wendy Davis filibuster’s a law that would outlaw aborting babies after 20 weeks, she’s suddenly channeling Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? 

That’s the way it appears to me, and the New York Times’ Ross Douthat seems to agree. In a recent blog post, he writes:

“[A]bortion opponents have basically tried to do what gun control advocates did after Newtown, and use a horror story to make the case for policies that have clear majority support but also face passionate opposition. And Davis and other abortion rights supporters have tried to do in Texas what gun rights supporters did in the United States Senate: Use countermajoritarian mechanisms to thwart a legislative push, and hope that with time and sufficiently passionate opposition the energy behind the bill will subside.”

Analogies are rarely perfect, but it doesn’t seem a stretch to compare the horrors of Newtown to horrors of Gosnell. Both instances involved children, both were graphic and disturbing, and both touched on hot-button political issues of the day. And in both cases, a group of people posturing as modern-day abolitionists observed Rahm’s rule about never letting a crisis go to waste. But the media’s reaction to the two efforts was anything but consistent.

When it came to gun control regulations, the media served as cheerleaders. But you won’t find them cheerleading any common-sense regulations to stem the tide of late-term abortion infanticide.

Instead, they have turned Wendy Davis into a sort of folk hero — a sort of anti-Wilberforce, if you will.

It’s fine for pro-abortion activists to envision her as heroic, but should the media? As Douthat notes, “it seems like a genuinely fair-minded, ideologically disinterested press would at least tend to mention the link between the Gosnell case and the Texas bill as often as it mentions Wendy Davis’s footwear.”

Matt K. Lewis