February 16, 2017

Ideological investigative journalism

By Hendrik van der Breggen
The Carillon, February 16, 2017
Ideological investigative journalism

I think there is a need for ideological investigative journalism. By this I mean a form of journalism that examines the ideology (faulty belief system) that lurks behind journalism, often slanting reports and thereby ignoring or misrepresenting truth.

Consider these examples.

A few weeks ago this book was published: Gosnell: The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer. Written by veteran journalists Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, the book is a true crime story about Philadelphia abortionist and drug dealer Kermit Gosnell who murdered hundreds (perhaps thousands) of born-alive infants by “snipping” their spinal cords with scissors. Gosnell is now serving three consecutive life sentences without parole.

But mainstream journalists didn't dare to challenge the sacred cow of abortion, so they initially gave the trial of Gosnell a pass (until public outcry). This is abortion-friendly ideology at work. We should be grateful to McElhinney and McAleer for courageously challenging this ideology.

Yet things get worse. As the authors report, Gosnell was also given a pass by “pro-choice” politicians and bureaucrats who kept health inspectors at bay. This served to enable Gosnell's grizzly work in a grungy, cat-feces-laden “clinic” staffed with unlicensed “professionals,” resulting also in the deaths of two women. (The doctor even collected severed babies' feet as trophies.)

Back to the book itself. Gosnell quickly climbed to #4 nonfiction bestseller status (#3 on Amazon) but the New York Times excluded it from the top 15 non-fiction list. Go figure.

The citizen's group Accuracy In Media astutely reports: “It is the media’s duty to report the facts, the whole truth… not merely the facts that align with their own biased agenda.” Gosnell co-author McElhinney sums up the situation thus: “The media doesn’t want this story to see the light of day because it shines a negative light on abortion.”

Moving from abortion-friendly ideology at work, let's get more controversial and closer to home. Consider LGBTQ-friendly ideology at work in Canada.

Remember Steinbach's gay pride parade?

CBC News visited Steinbach apparently to cover community views concerning the upcoming gay pride parade (because, yikes, not everyone agrees with the beliefs of the LGBTQ community). Four people were interviewed. Three pro, one con. The one who is con was an old woman who suffers from dementia.

Happily, the CBC deleted the interview with the dementia-stricken woman, thanks to local citizens who expressed concern. Still, the original CBC story had over a thousand shares. Moreover, the revised story only presented pro voices.

Remember the concerns about security at Steinbach's gay pride parade? The original concerns arose out of the parade route going near a construction zone. Later media reports made it seem like the concerns were due to Steinbach's community of anti-gay terrorists.

Remember Steinbach's vigil for the Orlando massacre (the massacre in which Omar Mateen shot 100 gays and lesbians and killed 50 in a nightclub)? The Carillon covered it with a front page article (that spilled over onto page two), an editorial, plus a couple letters.

But no editor or reporter or letter writer (besides a later letter from me) mentioned anything specific about Omar Mateen's motive, i.e., that he was a Muslim jihadist who publicly expressed allegiance to ISIS. Nadda. Nothing.

Yes, we were told there was a terrible massacre at a gay club, which is truly terrible. And then we were told we've got to have more inclusive attitudes about sexual orientation and gender identities, and we should be more accepting of district-school-related issues advanced by the local LGBTQ community.

Wittingly or unwittingly, this was a manipulation of public mourning and outrage in the service of LGBTQ ideological ends. The unspoken suggestion/ implication was that those who disagree are at fault or responsible for the murders at Orlando. But Mateen and ISIS are at fault.

More could be said about Canada's push for Medical Aid In Dying (a.k.a. physician-assisted killing ideology), the Women's March on Washington (abortion-friendly ideology again), and the U.S. election surprise (anti-conservative ideology), but space does not permit.

Ideological investigative journalism—it's what we need in our so-called “post-truth” times.

(Hendrik van der Breggen, PhD, is associate professor of philosophy at Providence University College, Otterburne, Manitoba.)

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