Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Let’s see. A middle school class teacher in the Green Bay area wants students to hear Barack Obama’s inauguration, so it turns on the radio, WTAQ to be exact.
WTAQ is airing live coverage of the momentous occasion, but it just happens to be during Rush Limbaugh’s program. Naturally, El Rushbo is interjecting his commentary because, after all, that is his job.
Public school class room, public school teacher….you can imagine what happened. The teacher had a hissy fit, complaining that the students were “shocked, angered, and saddened” by Limbaugh’s remarks. I wonder if this liberal teacher wasn’t really just describing his/her personal reaction. Kids crying because the radio was on? I don’t think so.
Conservative commentary in the classroom? We can’t have THAT!!
You see, it was ok to interrupt reading, writing and math instructions, but it was wrong to have the kids hear Rush’s “interruptions.”
Limbaugh has offered to give some civics classes, and even fly the students around in his private jet. The cool thing to do would be to accept his offer. But the school won’t.
Read the story.
Meanwhile from the blog of WTAQ talk show host Jerry Bader:
4:01 PM, The "speech" Rush Limbaugh, etc...
Barack Obama was sworn in today as the 44th president of the United States. First, reaction to the speech. It's being reported President Obama wrote this himself (most of his speeches to this point have been penned by David Axelrod). I would argue both the writing and delivery were flat. Yes, there was talk of how hard-working Americans are what make America great. But Obama wasn't his usual oratorical self and it sounded more like a campaign speech than an inauguration speech. In fact, Obama still seems to be in campaign mode.
Rush Limbaugh: Rush chose to provide commentary during Obama's speech. I don't agree with that call. I also don't agree with the emails and calls I've received saying Rush's language was "offensive, hateful and bigoted."
Edison Middle School, I am told, used our station's audio for provide the speech to a student assembly of 1200. I am told Rush's comments made children cry, I was skeptical, and told the teacher who e-mailed me I found it hard to believe. Her response to my question was equally difficult to believe:
You have got to be kidding...Black African American students who have been waiting for hundreds of years to hear their strains for equality answered have only heard loud and clear the voice of a true bigot belittle this "DREAM"... in front of the world!
So, how exactly do middle-school aged children wait "hundreds of years" for anything? As I emailed her in response, this sounds a lot more like SHE was upset than her students were. By late afternoon it was pretty clear that the school was recruiting people to call and email. I, in fact, have let Premiere Radio Networks know I disagree with Rush's decision to do this. I do think it disrespected the office. The notion it was racists, offensive or hateful, I just don't see.
2:28 PM -- Update on Rush and the Edison Middle School use of WTAQ's audio of Rush on inauguration day....I'm receiving scores of calls and emails from around the country; Rush listeners who heard the story of WTAQ airing Rush's commentary of the inauguration and are voicing their support. Edison piped the broadcast throughout the school and one teacher claimed "children were crying" as a result of Rush's commentary.
Local hatemail also continues to come in, but is dwarfed by the number of support calls and letters coming in.
Here are the topics the panelists discuss on InterCHANGE Friday night at 6:30 on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10 with a repeat Sunday morning at 11:00:
1 – President Obama.
What did you think of his inauguration speech? Was it inspiring and uplifting? Was the media a little over the top? Was it discourteous to Bush? Now the real work begins. Will he force the economy back into shape? Will he end the war in Iraq in 16 months as he repeatedly promised during his campaign? Will the honeymoon with the media last his entire presidency? Does the fact that he is an inspiration to so many people make him a good president?
2 – Judge Joe Wall.
An appeals court slaps former Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Wall on the hand for a lecture he gave to a drug dealing coke-head in court on sentencing day. Wall ridiculed the unemployed convicted felon for finding a “Baby Mama” who worked and went to school, while the defendant sat at home and watched his kid, and the judge said “Where do you guys find these women?” 22-year-old Landray Harris was given two years in prison, but now will get another judge to give him a new sentencing hearing? Was Wall being insensitive and racist? Was he simply trying to use ghetto street language to make an impression on the defendant? Or, as Wall says, "The comments, reasoning and conclusion of these two judges are legally incorrect and shameful, and are a transparent stretch to appear politically correct at a politically correct moment.”
3 – Andrekopoulos.
Does it make any sense to extend the contract of MPS Superintendent William Andrekopoulos (Which is set to expire in March) by another 15 months at a time when both the state and the city are looking into dissolving, reshaping, or taking over the district? Or, does it make all the sense in the world not to hire a new Captain for a sinking ship? Does it make sense to stick with this guy until June 30, 2010 when most would argue that MPS hasn’t improved much in the 6 plus years he has been in charge?
During these catastrophic events in American history, there were the following number of deaths:
Hurricane Katrina fatalities: over 1800
Pearl Harbor: approximately 2350
9/11 victims: approximately 3000
American deaths in the Iraq War thus far: 4,229
American deaths in the Vietnam War: approximately 58,000
World War Two American casualties: approximately 418,500
There have been more than 49 million abortions in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 36 years ago today that abortion was legal.
All of these deaths were significant. All of the victims’ lives were important. All of these moments in history deserved massive attention.
So where is the news coverage about the millions of unborn children?
And when there is coverage, if it isn’t on C-SPAN2, are the stories objective and unbiased?
Back in 1990, the not-so-conservative Los Angeles Times wrote a four-part series on a comprehensive study the newspaper conducted that found the press often favors abortion rights in its coverage, even though journalists say they make every effort to be fair.
Even though the study was done in 1990, I daresay the situation hasn’t changed. In fact, the coverage has probably become even more unbalanced.
Highlights of the LA Times series' findings:
- The news media consistently use language and images that frame the entire abortion debate in terms that implicitly favor abortion-rights advocates.
- Abortion-rights advocates are often quoted more frequently and characterized more favorably than are abortion opponents.
- Events and issues favorable to abortion opponents are sometimes ignored or given minimal attention by the media.
- Many news organizations have given more prominent play to stories on rallies and electoral and legislative victories by abortion-rights advocates than to stories on rallies and electoral and legislative victories by abortion rights opponents.
- Columns of commentary favoring abortion rights outnumber those opposing abortion by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the op-ed pages of most of the nation's major daily newspapers.
- Newspaper editorial writers and columnists alike, long sensitive to violations of First Amendment rights and other civil liberties in cases involving minority and anti-war protests, have largely ignored these questions when Operation Rescue and other abortion opponents have raised them.
- Most media organizations, including the Associated Press , the world's largest news agency, use the label "pro-choice", the preferred label of abortion-rights advocates, but not "pro-life", the preferred label of those who oppose abortion. During the first nine months of 1989, the TV networks used "pro-choice" in 74% of their references to abortion-rights advocates and used "pro-life" in only 6% of their references to abortion opponents.
- When the Supreme Court issued Roe, initial news accounts emphasized the part of the ruling that said a woman would be allowed to have an abortion without restriction during the first three months of pregnancy. Even now, some in the media write about Roe in terms that suggest it legalized abortion only during that first trimester, even though it made abortion legal for any reason throughout the first and second trimesters of pregnancy (and for broadly-defined "health" reasons even in the third).
- The Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York is probably the single-most widely quoted source for studies and statistics on abortion, for example, but the media rarely point out that the institute is special affiliate of Planned Parenthood of America, a major leader in the battle for abortion rights.
- The media is generally careful to include comments from abortion-rights advocates in stories about abortion protests, but coverage of abortion-rights activities sometimes fail to include balancing comments from abortion opponents.
- When Roman Catholic bishops individually spoke out on abortion or, collectively, hired a public relations firm to aid them in the battle against abortion, some in the media grumbled about the church's intrusion into the political arena. Similar media lamentations were forthcoming when bishops criticized (and raised the specter of ex-communication for) public officials who refuse to oppose abortion. But no such criticism was levied at the bishops in earlier years, when they endorsed a nuclear freeze or opposed Reagan Administration economic policies.
- The major media paid no attention to the discovery by Bob Woodward of the Washington Post that two justices who had played a major role in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion had conceded, in private memos, that they knew they were "legislating policy and exceeding (the court's) authority as the interpreter, not the maker of law," as Woodward wrote.
- “When pro-choice candidates win, it is perhaps more easily accepted than it should be that their pro-choice position was the reason, and when pro-life candidates win, perhaps it is more easily accepted (than it should be) that that was really irrelevant to the race," says Douglas Bailey, an abortion-rights supporter who publishes the nonpartisan "Abortion Report," a daily compendium of news on abortion and politics. There have been a number of races in which the media said an abortion-rights advocate's victory showed the political strength of that movement when, in fact, most of the votes in the race actually went to anti- abortion candidates.
Here is the 4-part LA Times series, July 1-4, 1990, on a study of major newspaper, television and newsmagazine coverage over 18 months, including more than 100 interviews with journalists and with activists on both sides of the abortion debate that confirms that this bias often exists.
Part 1. ABORTION BIAS SEEPS INTO NEWS
Part 2. ABORTION FOES STEREOTYPED, SOME IN THE MEDIA BELIEVE
Part 3. 'RALLY FOR LIFE' COVERAGE EVOKES AN EDITOR'S ANGER
Part 4. 'ABORTION HYPE' PERVADED MEDIA AFTER WEBSTER CASE
And from an editorial in the January 22, 2008 Washington Times:
"While politicians and activists have much debated the question of whether human life begins at conception, in the womb or outside it, we should give ear to former President Reagan, a convert to the pro-life movement, who in 1983 wrote that 'when we talk about abortion, we are talking about two lives — the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child... Anyone who doesn't feel sure whether we are talking about a second human life should clearly give life the benefit of the doubt. If you don't know whether a body is alive or dead, you would never bury it. I think this consideration itself should be enough for all of us to insist on protecting the unborn.'
Indeed, we must guard life with the vigilance due to our most vulnerable population: the unborn."
Early in the 1990’s while working for WTMJ, I covered a news conference held by several women who wanted to speak out on their sorrow and the regrets they had about their abortions. Abortion proponents and opponents always found their way into the news, but this was an entirely different aspect of this highly emotional and volatile subject, and it was playing out as TV cameras and tape recorders rolled from all the various news stations in town.
One by one, with pained anguish, the women told their stories and wished they could reverse their decisions. They spoke and wept openly.
If a similar event was ever held for the news media locally since that day, I can’t remember, although it seems more and more women are shedding their shame and discussing their personal tragedies. There’s even a national/international movement encouraging women to speak out about the effects abortion has had on their lives.
But what about the men?
What about them?
“The truth is that men become fathers at conception and it follows that the intentionally caused death of their unborn child can seriously impact them as well as their partners.”
Vincent Rue, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Pregnancy Loss in Jacksonville, Fla.
Like those women at that early 90’s news conference, men who come forward to discuss how abortion has affected them are rare. But male silence may be slowly changing. Conferences are being held, studies are being conducted, and men are starting to talk, as they should. They are, after all, one of the key pieces in this troubling puzzle.
We can safely answer the question of how abortion impacts men this way: men suffer the same consequences as women.
Vincent Rue, quoted above, supplied specifics in this interview.
Thursday marks the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. By some accounts, over 50 million unborn babies have been killed ever since.
For many of those babies, there are mothers who still grieve, who will never forget. We shouldn’t forget the same holds true for many fathers. Their newfound courage to step out of the shadows of silence hopefully will inspire and encourage more future parents to make the choice of life.
It's a nuisance.
Just an observation.