Megan Fox, a conservative columnist and journalist, has behaved like an ethical journalist should regarding the convenient tale of the 10-year-old pregnant rape victim that has been reported as fact by multiple “respected” news organizations and, most recently, President Biden in his remarks when announcing an almost completely meaningless executive order “protecting” the right of abortion. Fox has tracked the bona fides of the claim and found them wanting.
She notes that after the Washington Post’s Trump-Deranged former conservative Jennifer Rubin wrote an inexcusable column about “forced births” citing the phantom 10-year-old, the Post’s “factchecker,” the reliably biased Glenn Kessler, issued a gentle analysis in which he said that he could find no verification of the story, which had as its single source a pro-abortion activist. When he called her for some kind of details that would show there was such a girl, the reply was, “Thank you for reaching out. I’m sorry, but I don’t have any information to share.”
Yet Kessler, good progressive soldier that he is, still refused to award the apparently fake story any “Pinocchios,” because it might be true. However, a newspaper, broadcast news reporter or President who states as a fact that which has cannot be confirmed as a fact is lying. By the “Factchecker’s” own stated standards, this kind of lie rates at least two or three “Pinocchios.” Saying or writing “This happened” when the speaker or writer cannot possibly know whether it has happened or not may be motivated by confirmation bias—they want the story to be true—rather than a desire to deceive, but they still know that the story cannot be accurately and fairly called true….yet, and maybe never.
At least Kessler, while putting on the metaphorical kid gloves he never used to examine a dubious Trump claim, did sort of do his job, stating that the poor, pregnant 10-year-old’s existence could not be confirmed with any facts whatsoever.
That unavoidable verdict was immediately attacked by the vast majority–I’d estimate over 75%— of over a thousand reader comments (so far) from the Post’s knee-jerk woke readership (yes, even more knee-jerk woke than New York Times’ readers). How dare Kessler challenge a serviceable pro-abortion fable?
Many engaged in deflections and goalpost shifting, like “Have you considered the highly sensitive nature of this case before you decided to cast doubt on the fact that this 10 year old did indeed need an abortion?” That’s not the issue! Why the facts might be hard to confirm, if they are facts, doesn’t change the key and unavoidable reality that the story can’t be confirmed. Others, risably, accused Kessler of being a right-winger, because, I guess, only an evil right-winger would balk at publicizing an extreme abortion dilemma that might shift public opinion just because it might be hooey:
Interesting to see the usual fools ready to hop onto the latest conspiracy theory. Just because they don’t know the girl’s name…or weren’t there to observe the procedure… obviously didn’t happen. Everything from the flat Earth….the fake moon landing…President Obama’s birth certificate and JFK Jr. coming back to lead the Space Force to return Donald to the White House.Called HIPPA…and human decency… and the last bit of privacy we have left
But all Kessler is saying is that there is no evidence besides an obviously interested party’s claims that the story is true. That is not the same as claiming it isn’t true. Here’s another: a commenter responded to a benign comment from another reader who simply stated, accurately, “No one has found any proof that this story was true. A viral story with no proof is repeated and repeated and now presumed to be fact without any proof” and exploded with…
There is all kinds of proof Republicans want to force 10 year old rape victims to carry their rapist’s fetus. OH and many more states are passing these hideous laws. Those who want to force 10 year olds to carry their rapist fetus have shown no proof this particular case is not true. So they post like this to avoid explaining why they think 10 year old rape victims should not be allowed to have an abortion. Do you think it is a gift from God?
I must interject that I doubt any abortion opponent can’t explain why a rape victim’s fetus is as much of a human life worthy of legal protections as a non-rape victim’s fetus. That’s easy. The tough challenge is the abortion fan’s obligation to explain why a growing human being’s right to live should be devalued because of its origins. In my experience, they can’t, at least without defaulting to “Human being? I don’t see any human being!”
The most rational and calm apologists for the story state all of the reasons it might be difficult to confirm, and these were the most popular of the Post reader comments critical of Kessler. But again—that’s not the issue. A story is either reliably confirmed, or it isn’t. Until it is confirmed, it is dishonest and unethical to publish it or state it as truth.
What the comments show is a that the entrenched abortion-supporting establishment believes that basic ethical principles that stand in the way of their mission most be ignored, denied, or breached. The ends justify the means.
That is consistent, to be fair, since the phrase accurately describes abortion itself.