Media Outlets Ignoring Forced Abortion in Reports on Chen

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 30, 2012   |   12:56PM   |   Washington, DC

Mainstream media outlets across the world are focusing on the plight of Chen Guangcheng, the human rights campaigner who is currently holed up in the U.S. Embassy after escape house arrest. However, some of them are ignoring the fundamental reason why Chen was subjected to imprisonment and house arrest — his worldwide exposure of brutal campaigns of forced abortions and sterilizations at the hands of family planning officials enforcing the nation’s one-child policy.

CNN issued one report on Chen with the term “alleged forced abortions” — as if tens of thousands of women have not been brutalized by abortions taking place as late as eight months into pregnancy.

“He trained himself in the law and then defended the rights of poor village women against alleged forced abortions,” CNN reported about Chen and his background.

The subject of forced abortions became the main focus of Chen’s video that he released after he escaped the clutches of local family planning and Communist Party officials who had him under house arrest.

Timothy Carney, a Washington Examiner reporter, also focused on other incidents in which the mainstream media is ignoring or downplaying the main reason for the harassment Chen faces in China.

Chen Guangcheng is a Chinese “dissident” and a “lawyer” who was jailed by the Chinese government and held in house arrest after his sentence, until he escaped over the weekend, presumably to U.S. custody.

You’ll learn all that from this 1300-word Washington Post story today, but you’ll never learn why the Communist Chinese regime wanted to silence him — that he has exposed the horrors of China’s one-child policy, including forced abortions and forced sterilizations. [related]

Honestly. Search the article. “Abortion” never appears. Nor does “one-child” “family-planning,” or “sterilization.”

Of the five Post news articles I found discussing Chen, only one of them has the word “abortion.”

The Post wasn’t the only one to make this weird omission. CBS News’s Norah O’Donnell doesn’t mention abortion, sterilization, or the one-child policy at all.

Reuters, in the 13th paragraph, mentions that Chen “campaigned against abortions forced under China’s ‘one child’ policy.”

Media bias when it comes to the issue of abortion is expected. In 1995, Stanley Rothman and Amy Black polled the news media elite. Nearly all of the media elite (97 percent) agreed that “it is a woman’s right to decide whether or not to have an abortion,” and five out of six (84 percent) agreed strongly. And in a 1992 Media Studies Journal poll, more than half of journalists (51%) said abortion should be “legal under any circumstances,” compared to just 4 percent who thought abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances.”

But forced abortions go beyond the pale — making what is supposed to be a “choice” or “woman’s decision” into a doubly worse human rights violation. Yet, apparently kowtowing to China and ensuring media access there is more important than revealing the truth.