Donald Trump stepped on a political landmine yesterday. On Hardball with Chris Matthews, Trump declared that “there should be some form of punishment” for women who undergo illegal abortions. Immediately after these remarks, Trump was denounced by those on the left and right in a freak firestorm that rarely engulfs the real-estate mogul turned probable Republican nominee.
The media treatment of this story varied. Here, I have analyzed three different articles, one from ABC, one from MotherJones and one from Politico.
This article, while more critical than most legacy media outlets have been in this election, was still an even handed treatment of the Don and his “evolving” stance on abortion (as if anything in the Don's mind continues to be characterized by increasing innovation or improvement). There was speak about flip flopping, although there was no declarative sentences saying this was a bad thing. The report is very factual, and I give ABC kudos for actually digging to find videos and recording of his contradictory statements throughout the decades, however the article has no teeth. It is as drab as the name of the organization itself: ABC.
As political journalism, Politico’s article provides the political reaction to the Don’s statements yesterday. Parties and politicians from both sides of the isle are quoted in denouncing the candidate’s most recent abortion remarks. However, the article focuses more on entertaining political theatrics. It is written like an article in People Magazine except rather than quoting a Kardashian, the major political players are all quoted. Aside from the harsh quotes, no context is given surrounding the Don’s quotes, there is little to no mention on his flip-flopping and certainly no digging to find evidence of contradicitons.
While the headline is indeed very declarative, the content of the piece is short and sweet and also up to date. There is an examination of the Hardball interview that harbored the comments. It also offers an updated full press release from the Trump campaign retracting the Don’s comments, instead offering the idea that doctors who preform illegal abortions should be held accountable. The piece ends in typical MotherJones fashion, offering a current real world case in which a woman in Tennessee is being held on assault charges for trying to induce her own abortion.