by Steven Ertelt
August 30, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Media outlets are supposed to report news, not make it. But an editor for one of the world’s most recognized news outlets is at the center of a controversy over abortion after he emailed scathing remarks to a pro-life group in response to a press release.
After sending out a routine press release responding to a judge’s decision against the partial-birth abortion ban, the National Right to Life Committee received a scathing email from Todd Eastham, a Reuters editor in Washington.
"What’s your plan for parenting and educating all the unwanted children you people want to bring into the world," Eastham asks. "Who will pay for policing our streets and maintaining the prisons needed to contain them when you, their parents and the system fail them?"
"Oh, sorry. All that money has been earmarked to pay off the Bush deficit," Eastham continues. "Give me a frigging break, will you?"
Douglas Johnson, NRLC’s legislative director, received the email and said he was shocked to see Eastham’s response.
"It is sad, but revealing, to see an editor for a major news service so casually and gratuitously express such blatant hostility to both the Bush Administration and to the right to life of unborn children," Johnson said in response.
"We can only wonder at how such vehement opinions may color Mr. Eastham’s reporting or editing on subjects such as abortion and the Bush Administration," Johnson added.
Eastham is defending his actions, despite departing from Reuters policy.
He says he normally doesn’t edit stories submitted by reporters on the topic of abortion. In response to a Washington Post query about the email, Eastham claims he read the news release "as a personal political solicitation and was not responding in my capacity as an editor."
"I didn’t intend this as a professional communication," Eastham contends.
However Eastham apparently violated Reuters "editorial policy," that says "Reuters journalists do not offer their own opinions or views."
Reuters spokesman Stephen Naru told the Post it’s "unfortunate" that an editor "chose to offer his personal opinion."
An email to Eastham from LifeNews.com requesting comment for this story was not returned.
Eastham is a Reuters editor for North American news stories. He has also authored numerous Reuters news stories on subjects such as politics and the Catholic Church.
ACTION: To express your opinon about Mr. Eastham’s email, go to https://www.reuters.com/-helpSection.jhtml?p=contactUs