Report: News Media Dodges Questions, Refuses to Ask Democrats about Abortion

When reporters asked U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) why he would support legislation to align America’s abortion regulations with those of European nations, he responded, “I’ve always been pro-life.”

He then challenged the press corps to find out what Democrats believe on abortion. “You need to be asking Democrats what restrictions they support,” Rubio told reporters. “Democrats won’t vote for any restriction of any kind on abortion.”

What happened next. Senator Rubio’s office emailed 55 different reporters from 40 major news outlets—including the largest newspapers in Florida and 20 largest in the nation—to find out if they or their colleagues had ever asked federally elected Democrats real questions about abortion.

Only three outlets responded.

  • One reporter responded to the survey within minutes, writing, “I have asked those questions.” When asked for links to include in the report, the same reporter went silent.
  • Another reporter asked, “Why does a public official think it’s ok to ask questions to news organizations on this issue?” and proceeded to exchange multiple emails without answering any questions.
  • Business Insider went so far as to write a 370-word article about the “combative” inquiry but steadfastly refused to address any of the questions.

Rubio’s response. “This highlights two major problems we have in this country,” Rubio explained.

“First, reporters believe no one is allowed to ask them questions. They take offense at the idea that you, me, or anyone else should dare to question the sanctity of their reporting,” Rubio continued. “That arrogant, dismissive attitude is exactly why there is a crisis of confidence in our nation’s news outlets. They truly think they are better than everyone else.”

“Second, Democrats get away with murder, literally. They are never pushed to answer specific questions about where they stand on the taking of human life,” Rubio said. “The truth is that every single Democrat supports taxpayer funded abortion without any restrictions up until the moment a child is born. That is the truth, but Democrats never have to explain their radical position, because the press is all too willing to cover for them.”

Background. Many reporters point to the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755) as evidence Democrats are on record supporting restrictions. For example, in response to the inquiry, a Business Insider reporter tweeted, “Dems answered that question already in their attempts to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.”

  • The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explained the WHPA contains no “meaningful limitations” on the termination of a pregnancy.
  • “It wipes 500 state laws off the books. It expands abortion,” Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) observed.
  • National Review called it “a barbaric abortion bill that would enshrine in federal law a virtually unlimited right to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy in all 50 states.”

Senator Rubio’s office asked those 55 different reporters whether they, or anyone at their organizations, had ever asked federally elected Democrats to clarify the following points:

  • What, if any, restrictions they support on abortion?
  • When is an unborn child considered viable?
  • Whether abortion providers like Planned Parenthood can provide a “good-faith” medical judgment that “continuation of pregnancy” would pose “a risk” to the pregnant woman’s “life or health” after viability?

Every reporter was informed that non-answers would be treated as an acknowledgement that their publication had not asked those types of questions to any federally elected Democrat.

Not a single outlet bothered to provide documentation it had asked Democrats a single tough question on abortion. 

The outlets included: ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, CNBC, CNN, Dallas Morning News, Florida Politics, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Insider, Los Angeles Times, NBC News, New York Post, Newsday, NPR, Orlando Sentinel, Punchbowl, Reuters, Roll Call, San Francisco Chronicle, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Star Tribune, Tampa Bay Times, Associated Press, Arizona Republic, Boston Globe, Denver Post, The Hill, Houston Chronicle, Miami Herald, New York Times, Palm Beach Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico, Seattle Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and USA Today.

The takeaway. “These reporters and editors know that no one on the right trusts them, so they don’t even bother being fair. There is no benefit to asking Democrats tough questions because their readers—the people that pay their salaries—don’t want to hear it,” Rubio explained. “Besides, they agree with the Democrats anyway.”

For his part, Rubio doesn’t shy away from questions. Last week, he responded to over 40 questions from more than a dozen different reporters in the Capitol and held a bilingual press conference outside of The White House.

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