But on Nov. 18, one Democratic group rebuked such laws instead of learning from Edwards. The Democratic Attorneys General Association—a national committee for state attorneys general—announced it will refuse to endorse or assist any candidate who does not publicly support abortion.
Meanwhile, a federal jury in California ruled against pro-life activist David Daleiden for publicly exposing abortion.
After a six-week civil trial, the jury said Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress broke the law by secretly recording Planned Parenthood officials callously describing abortion procedures and discussing the sale of unborn baby parts. The price Daleiden could pay for his efforts to expose the industry: as much as $2.3 million in damages.
Exposure of a different kind embarrassed a major television network in November: A leaked video showed ABC News anchor Amy Robach complaining that the network had refused to run her reporting on Jeffrey Epstein years before he was charged with sex trafficking of minors. (Epstein died in his prison cell in August.)
Caught on a hot mic between tapings, Robach told someone off camera: “I’ve had this [Epstein] story for three years. We would not put it on the air.” ABC later denied Robach’s claims, and the anchor walked back her comments.
Cultivating journalistic judgment starts long before editors and journalists are faced with a high-stakes national story, but that seemed lost on some college newspaper editors.
Editors at The Daily Northwestern profusely apologized for their paper’s coverage of a speech by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions at Northwestern University on Nov. 5. (Some students protested Sessions’ appearance.) Among the paper’s offenses: Reporters used a student directory to text sources and ask for interviews in advance.
If that sounds like basic news gathering, the editors lamented: “We recognize being contacted like this is an invasion of privacy.”
Meanwhile, some of the current and former editors of The Harvard Crimson joined a petition demanding the paper apologize for its coverage of a student rally calling for the abolition of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
The paper’s offense? A reporter asked ICE officials for a comment. (A student group complained that contacting ICE could harm undocumented students on campus.)
The Crimson’s president, Kristine E. Guillaume, explained the paper seeks comments from all subjects in an article. That’s Journalism 101, but Harvard’s undergraduate student government voted to support the petition to protest the paper for trying to get both sides of a story. (Ironically, ICE didn’t respond to the paper’s request for comment.)
It’s best for journalists (and readers) to learn early that covering the circus of news can be stressful, but it’s ultimately more stressful to back down from doing it properly.
WORLD’s editor in chief Marvin Olasky has recounted the story of John Stubbes, who faced true stress after writing a pamphlet criticizing Queen Elizabeth in 1579: Officials cut off his right hand. Olasky notes that the Christian writer under duress “set the pattern of respecting those in authority over us, while exposing their unbiblical actions.”
Stubbes reportedly pulled his hat off with his left hand and cried: “God save the Queen.”