Chris Graham: How about some media backlash?

The media didn’t do its job in glossing over Marshall remarks

Column by Chris Graham

The weight of the media is coming down on State Del. Bob Marshall, and rightly so.

“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.” That’s what Marshall said during a press conference last week to talk up the idea of blocking continued state funding for Planned Parenthood. It’s reprehensible. Marshall should resign and retreat into the nearest spider hole.

My issue isn’t with Marshall. The guy has people a lot more motivated than me to worry about for what he said than to have to worry about some talking head in Waynesboro.

My issue is with my fellow travelers in the news media. Note how I reported above that Marshall’s comments came last week at a press conference. The firestorm didn’t start to rain down until Monday, when a report by a Virginia Commonwealth University student reporter for the Capitol News Service began trickling out into the blogosphere.

Which is to say, Marshall said what he said at the press conference last week, and what he had to say was, you know, ignored, glossed over, however you want to characterize it.

Trying to be fair here, from reading accounts of the press conference, man, that thing was quite the event, with the Marshall comment about disabled kids being a punishment from God and talk about Pat Robertson and Haiti and voodoo among the headline-grabbing details.

Back to not being fair: The MSM folks are making it clear that they were dragged into covering this story kicking and screaming. The accounts that I’ve scanned today emphasize that the quote comes from the Capitol News Service story, for instance, to me trying to imply to the reader, That’s what the VCU kid said he said, not what he said we said, so take it all with a grain of salt.

Not surprisingly, this has provided grist for the mill for the diehard partisans who don’t seem bothered by the fact that they’ve been reduced to defending a man picking on disabled kids, and for Marshall himself, who issued a garbled statement Monday night that had him trying to cast himself as something of a victim whose remarks were misinterpreted and the usual blather from somebody who got caught saying something he wishes he hadn’t said.

(Unfortunately for him, the CNS posted audio from the news conference, so that laundry won’t wash.)

Kudos to the kid at VCU who walked away from that press conference last week with what turned out to be the big story.

Reminds me of the other kid from VCU who did the piece on state lawmakers playing around on Facebook in the middle of debates in the General Assembly.

The future of journalism seems safe in these kids’ hands, I would say.

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