The Texas anti-abortion law is an abomination. It’s a stunning attack on women’s rights, the rule of law, and democracy itself. If you’re fired up about it, you should be. And the media is right for giving the story a ton of attention these past few days. But here’s the thing.
A Texas Judge has already stepped in and temporarily blocked any lawsuits from being filed under the new law, pending a hearing. In other words, this judge basically did what the Supreme Court refused to do, and as of now, the anti-abortion law is not actually up and running. Curiously, this development has received almost no media coverage at all.
In fact, when we ran an article about it yesterday, someone replied by asking “Why is it that I have not read about this anywhere except the Palmer Report?” That’s a really good question. Some local Texas news outlets have covered it, as has The Hill. But beyond that, the media is treating this judge’s ruling as if it didn’t exist. Why is that? Planned Parenthood even put out a statement praising the ruling, yet the media has still largely decided that this judge’s ruling didn’t really happen.
This gets into one of the mainstream media’s most disturbing habits. The media is right to sound the alarm about this Texas anti-abortion law, and the Supreme Court’s refusal (thus far) to block it. We should all be talking about this. We should be marching in the streets. This should be the focus of the 2022 midterms.
But let’s be real here: the media is hyping this story because it’s scary enough to keep people tuned in, which means it’s good for ratings. If the media were to acknowledge that a judge has in fact already put key parts of the law on hold pending a hearing later this month, some folks might tune out until the hearing happens. And the media can’t have that, now can it?
Again, we should all be focused on this Texas anti-abortion law. It should be our rallying cry. It should be the reason we fight. But in order to win these kinds of battles, we need to start with an accurate understanding of what’s actually going on. The public deserves to know that Texas courts are already clamping down on this law. It helps demonstrate that this is a winnable battle.
And on a more basic level, you don’t leave out a key piece of the story like this just because it doesn’t fit the ratings-friendly narrative you’re chasing. The mainstream media owes us the entire story on these things, not just the most doomsday way they can spin it. We need to hold the media accountable on these things, so the media will do better.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report