Monday, January 08, 2007

Michelle Malkin: evil creature

Yeah yeah--what a newsflash. But this article, which appeared in today's sun-duhzette, had me seeing red. The gist of the article is thus: in April, the New York Times ran story by Jack Hitt which described in detail El Salvador's absolute abortion ban. But wait! One of the women Hitt talked to who had been sent to prison for thirty years, was actually there for killing the baby after it had been born! Calumny!

Malkin takes this and RUNS with it. "The New York Times has no shame," she snarls, and proceeds to bash out a column dripping with rage and contempt for Hitt, the NYT, pro-choicers, and oh what the hell--the point is just to hate as many people as possible.

This hit on Hitt really pissed me off. I frequently admire the pieces he does for This American Life; he's a thoughtful and compassionate journalist. In this instance, he was apparently a little bit sloppy--although the case doesn't seem to be entirely cut-and-dry:

The article said she was convicted in 2002 of aggravated homicide, and it presented the recollections of the judge who adjudicated Ms. Climaco’s case during the pretrial stage. The judge, Margarita Sanabria, told The Times that she believed that Ms. Climaco had an abortion when she was 18 weeks pregnant, and that she regretted allowing the case to be tried as a homicide. The judge based her legal decision on two reports by doctors.

The first, by a doctor who examined Ms. Climaco after the incident, concluded that she had been 18 weeks pregnant and had an abortion. A second medical report, based on an examination of the body that was found under Ms. Climaco’s bed, concluded that her child was carried to term, was born alive and died in its first minutes of life.

The three-judge panel that received the case from Judge Sanabria concluded that the second report was more credible than the first, and the panel convicted Ms. Climaco of aggravated homicide.

But let's say that this is true: it was homicide, plain and simple. Malkin wants to use this to invalidate the entire article. But it's a long--eight-thousand-plus words--piece. The Climaco story is less than seven hundred words. Malkin doesn't even try to dispute the basic thrust of the article--that El Salvador's law allows abortion under no circumstances--she just tries to muddy the waters by flinging as much vitriol as she can at the NYT. From Hitt's article:

In prosecutors' offices in El Salvador, as in prosecutors' offices anywhere, longer sentences are considered better sentences. "The more years one can send someone away for," I was told by Margarita Sanabria, a magistrate who has handled several abortion cases, "the better it is for the prosecutors." She cited this motivation to account for what she has observed recently: more later-term abortions being reclassified as "aggravated homicide." If an aborted fetus is found to have been viable, the higher charge can be filed. The penalty for abortion can be as low as two years in prison. Aggravated homicide has a minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum of 50 years.

"Cruel," she writes of Climaco's case. "Horrible. Outrageous. And utterly, demonstrably, false." So, any words for all the cases of women going to prison for abortions that AREN'T utterly, demonstrably false? If you're willing to concede that such things do happen, then what exactly is your point? Apparently, the article is "pro-abortion" propaganda. This is just fucking bizarre. Hitt reports the facts of what happens in El Salvador. If that upsets anti-abortion zealots--well gosh. I'm awfully sorry that reality has been so mean to you, but don't you think it's a bit MUCH to start screaming about the people who report it to you? There is a large pile of dead messengers outside the conservative headquarters.

The real question is, why exactly would anti-choice types be upset about women being sent to jail for abortions? After all, abortion is murder, as 190,000 websites--and an equal number of signs wielded by protesters screaming at emotionally vulnerable women--proclaim. This is only the logical conclusion of your belief system. And if you come to realize that you aren't willing to take your beliefs to their logical conclusion, perhaps you should rethink said beliefs instead of getting all enraged at people who report on it.

Also, I'm not totally clear on how we should take this to mean that the Times is EBIL EBIL EBIL! when they themselves were the ones who issued a correction. "The New York Times has no shame?" Well, someone has no shame.


Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

Surprise, surprise! Faux Noise resident mean girl spins a story so she can launch an incoherent and inaccurate attack against the "librul mee-jah." Do you think the low effort thinkers who watch her aren't going to eat this stuff up and parrot it to their fellow numbnuts?

10:36 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. pontificated to the effect that...

No, I would not think that if it ever became an issue, though this particular story apparently never got wingnut traction, for whatever reason.

11:01 PM  

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