The Federalist: Why Is No One Doing Stories On People Unaffected By Dobbs, Huh?

The Federalist: Why Is No One Doing Stories On People Unaffected By Dobbs, Huh?
Meme Reaction GIF by Travis

Back in August, Politico put out a call asking for people to share their stories about how they have been affected by the Dobbs ruling. Specifically, they were looking for answers to the following two questions:

1) Have you had trouble filling prescriptions unrelated to abortion, such as medications for acne or rheumatoid arthritis?

2) Have you been denied emergency treatment for a miscarriage or pregnancy-related complication?

Christopher Jacobs at The Federalist saw this and was deeply disturbed by the evident bias of such a survey, which didn't even ask about the experiences of people who had been entirely unaffected by the ruling.

Were you harmed by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade? Then Politico wants to hear from you. If you weren’t harmed, or agree with the court’s ruling, not so much.

That’s the entire premise of a survey the Capitol Hill rag published during Congress’ August recess. Based on the tenor of the survey, the publication wants to compile the proverbial “parade of horribles” that have transpired since the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

What an oversight! Imagine, we could have seen incredible testimonials from people about the ways that Dobbs has not impacted their lives. Riding a bus? Exactly the same as it was a year ago. Doing laundry? No change at all! Cell reception? No difference that I could tell!

Or perhaps we could just hear from people whose individual lives have not changed in any meaningful way due to the ruling. Stories from people who don't have sex! Stories from people who don't want an abortion and don't want to defy a God who may want them to die in childbirth, for reasons! Stories from people who cannot get pregnant to begin with! I could even contribute my own story of how my personal reproductive choices have not been impacted, due to the fact that I live in a state that protects them. Wouldn't that be riveting?

This could be a whole new way of looking at journalism! We were all very excited about this in our Slack chat yesterday and came up with several similar angles for stories:

What about the people who weren't affected by a particular hurricane, because of how they live somewhere else? – Me

What about people who didn't get e coli because they never eat salad? — Gary

What about people who aren't flying their own rockets into space, huh? — Dok

What about all the people Jeffrey Dahmer DIDN'T eat? — Gary

Did you not even bother to get leg-lengthening surgery over the pandemic? Tell us your story! — Me

Truly, this man is an inspiration.

Jacobs also says that it is the duty of every journalist to run with literally every story anyone ever comes to them with, even if it does not align with their worldview.

If someone brings a reporter a compelling story—regardless of who that person is, or how the person approaches the reporter—a good journalist should run with it regardless, for two reasons. To assume the purest motives, a reporter should dig into a good story to advance the public’s right to know.

Even if a reporter doesn’t particularly like a story because it disagrees with his or her worldview, or for some other reason, a reporter should still look into it, for no other reason than fear. If a reporter at another publication digs into the matter and comes up with a compelling story or scoop, the reporter at the first publication might face an angry editor questioning why the publication got beat to the punch. (However, that competitive dynamic assumes that media outlets won’t collectively collude to silence stories they don’t want to cover, perhaps a questionable assumption in this environment.)

Either that or it would never happen because it would be weird to assume that every writer would write every story ever. That is not generally how things work. If I were to write every story brought to me, I would never have time for sleep. I would have to reduce my 10-step skincare routine to five steps, probably! And you all would be getting 12 stories about Kari Lake a day because that is how many press releases her damn team sends out.

Curiously, however, Christopher Jacobs does not actually seem to write too many stories that conflict with his own personal worldview, nor does the site he writes for. In fact, I can find absolutely no evidence of him ever having done this. According to his own essay, he was absolutely disgusted by the fact that the editor he contacted at Politico suggested that he perhaps be the change he wants to see in the world.

Instead of asking, ‘why doesn’t news organization X write about my preferred storyline instead of Y,’ a political professional such as yourself might look to establish professional relationships with reporters and editors and pitch them ideas rather than personally attacking or making ill-informed judgments about them—it tends to be a more productive approach.

"That’s a nice conjuring trick," Jacobs scoffed, "blaming the person raising the complaint: If we’re not running a story, it’s only because you’re not trying hard enough. Yet at this point we’ve seen far too much in the way of bias by reporters over the past several years not to question them."


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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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