Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Watch What The Media Doesn't Want You To See.

Victoria Cobb, President
The Family Foundation of Virginia

Today is the midpoint of the 2013 General Assembly session, and a lot has happened so far this year.  Some of it you may have read about in the newspaper or seen on the news, but a lot you have not.  For several years, in an effort to bring you the most comprehensive information about what happens at the General Assembly, we have been videotaping key debates in both sub and full committee meetings.  At a meeting of the Senate Ed and Health committee earlier in session, at least one capitol reporter seemed a bit put off by our efforts.
As we were setting up our camera, in the same place we’ve set it up for several years in the committee room, one senior reporter asked our staff member who she worked for and then finding out she was with The Family Foundation chastised her saying, “You can’t do that here.  You aren’t credentialed press.”  A quick conversation with a Capitol Police officer made it clear, these are public meetings and we can videotape them if we want.
So, it would appear that either the reporter had forgotten that our government’s actions are open to the public or, perhaps, he’s a bit intimidated by the fact that the media narrative is going to be challenged by the video showing exactly what happened, not how it’s described it in media “stories.”  Of course, maybe he just didn’t want his view blocked (though our camera was right next to a large post so we wouldn’t block anyone’s view).
Perhaps some of the issue is that our video exposes their media myths.  In a Richmond Times-Dispatch story about the Ed and Health meeting and specifically the debate over abortion center health and safety standards, one reporter stated, “Both sides in the abortion debate packed the hearing room with advocates of the same arguments they’ve used to battle each other for the past two years.”  Except, that’s not at all accurate.
As you will see watching the video, we used material from Department of Health inspection reports that show wide spread health and safety violations at Virginia’s abortion centers – something the Richmond Times-Dispatch simply refuses to cover – material that was available just this past summer.  It is new evidence of why we needed the health and safety standards and it is evidence we didn’t have prior to the regulations – so we couldn’t have used it “to battle each other for the past two years.”
We’ve been saying for the past year that there are some capitol reporters who have exchanged reporting for opining and, in particular, have driven some of the hysteria surrounding pro-life legislation.  They’ve ignored or dismissed the facts about what’s happening in Virginia’s abortion centers, and they have little interest in balance.
Many journalists in Richmond still do great work and are fair, balanced and hard workers, while several have clearly allowed their bias to affect their work.  All the more reason for our being here and for you to watch the video and to share it with others.