During a recent GOP debate, Newt Gingrich charged that in the last presidential campaign the elite media never asked “why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide.” Gingrich wasn’t off by much—Obama was rarely asked about it, and never was he pressed on this issue. Even now, the media cover-up that Gingrich alleged is patently true.
The day after Gingrich’s remark, we conducted a Lexis-Nexis search linking “Obama” and “infanticide,” scouring all U.S. newspapers. Our results found that only four papers, and one wire service, reported on Gingrich’s claim. But there was more to it than that, there were actually five newspapers that made mention of this.
The Chicago Tribune, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Washington Times all gave accurate accounts. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was factually wrong when it said that “Gingrich was referring to Obama’s opposition to…partial-birth abortions.” No, Gingrich was referring to Obama’s opposition in the Illinois state senate to bills in 2001, 2002 and 2003 that would have mandated that a child born alive as a result of a botched abortion be given medical care.
AP mentioned what Gingrich said but did so by citing Obama’s support for “infanticide.” Why the quote marks? Intentionally letting an infant die who is completely born would be nothing less than infanticide.
The top prize for deceit went to the New York Times. In the paper’s early edition, the story by Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg offered the Gingrich quote but added a curious parenthetical: “(It was a reference to Mr. Obama’s opposition to bills in Illinois that would have provided legal protection to aborted fetuses showing signs of life; Mr. Obama said he had seen the measures as attacks on women’s reproductive rights.)” This attempt to bail out Obama, as bad as it was, was stricken altogether from later editions—there was no mention of the infanticide issue—and did not appear in a Lexis-Nexis search.
By the way, in 2008, Rutenberg wrote that accusations surfaced “accusing Mr. Obama of supporting ‘infanticide’ (he does not).” The bias couldn’t be more blatant.