Monday, October 22, 2012

Getting the facts right

Yet again, a television current affairs programme loads the dice against one side by showing archive material that doesn't actually relate to the topic in hand.  

On Close Up, on the 16th October, Mark Sainsbury and his team showed archive footage of an abortion clinic in the United States being burnt by an arsonist, and other footage relating to the murder of an abortionist in the same country.   But the discussion was about abortion in New Zealand, where pro-life activism has been peaceful.  

The inference was that the New Zealand pro-life movement was involved in the murder of abortion clinic doctors and in firing abortion clinics.  This isn't the case, and there has never been a murder of an abortion doctor in New Zealand.   

The only abortion clinic in New Zealand to have been damaged by fire was in Auckland.  This occurred in 1989, and the person who burnt the building has never been caught or convicted.   No one knows whether a pro-lifer was involved or not, including Alison McCulloch, the spokeswoman for the Abortion Law Reform Association, who appeared on the programme opposite Dr Norman McLean, a pro-life doctor from Invercargill.  

Of course, murder of abortion doctors and footage of abortion clinics being burnt is more dramatic than the facts.   It's on a par with using footage of Muslims 'enraged' by Western actions, or 'rejoicing' at deaths of Westerners, when the Muslims in the footage could have been anywhere in the world shouting about anything - who knows what.  

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