Sounds of silence

I am posting this video here for discussion for a very specific journalistic reason, even though I know I am stretching the boundaries of what we do here.

I have been looking for news coverage that mentioned this very specific angle of inauguration day 2009. For weeks, months even, I have heard activists on one side of the right-to-life issue discussing this element of the story of President Barack Obama. I am sure, because abortion issues make news, that some of these people have been interviewed by major media.

Yet I have never seen this issue mentioned in mainstream coverage, let alone in a way that took it seriously -- either to quote those who would salute this argument or the opinions of those who would condemn it. Instead, there is silence and silence is rare in journalism on such an obvious and controversial image and idea.

Come to think of it, I have not seen any stories in the Washington Post that note that another rather large group of people will start gathering here inside the Beltway today -- overlapping with the joyful throngs still here in the wake of yesterday's awesome and inspiring rites of civil religion.

It's a rather obvious story, since it happens every year. It would be highly symbolic timing if the March for Life takes place hours after Obama signs an executive order restoring federal funding for abortion. Whatever you think of that issue -- that's a news story. Silence?

Anyway, here is a link to the YouTube page for the pro-Vatican activists at and their other materials, if you want to put this Obama ad into context. Here is another question, if CatholicVote found the funds, would any major broadcast or cable television network take this ad? What about during the Super Bowl?

All of this reminds me of that Sojourners issue long ago that changed my mind -- I was, remember, a moderate Baptist at the time -- on the issue of the sanctity of life. The famous author of one of its key articles later wrote a parallel essay for a National Right to Life publication. It included these words, while arguing that government supported abortion was a form of institutionalized racism:

"What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? What kind of person, and what kind of society, will we have 20 years hence if life can be taken so casually?"

The author? The Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Please focus your comments on the media issues raised by the CatholicVote ad. I also request your help in looking for mainstream, traditional journalism coverage of the issues raised in this post.

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