Scott Walker a terrifying Christian, apparently

The New York Times has a bone to pick with Scott Walker's consistency on abortion:

DES MOINES — It was a memorable political ad: Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin spoke directly into the camera in a 30-second spot last fall and called abortion an “agonizing” decision. He described himself as pro-life but, borrowing the language of the abortion rights movement, pointed to legislation he signed that leaves “the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

That language was gone when Mr. Walker met privately with Iowa Republicans in a hotel conference room last month, according to a person who attended the meeting. There, he highlighted his early support for a “personhood amendment,” which defines life as beginning at conception and would effectively prohibit all abortions and some methods of birth control.

Times authors Trip Gabriel and Jonathan Martin base their analysis on an anonymous source, allegedly relaying information from a private meeting including "fewer than a half-dozen" "Iowa Christian conservative leaders last month."

The Times' language appears to signal its readers in several places.  Take "fewer than a half-dozen," which looks like a bigger number than "fewer than six" – or, more precisely, "between two and five."  Then there's the common misleading statement about personhood amendments prohibiting birth control.  If a given drug destroys a human embryo, it is "birth control" only if one considers abortion birth control – but any Times editor worth his salt knows that to write "would effectively prohibit all abortions and some methods of abortion" is redundant.

Note also the Times' relegation (three times) of the abortion fight to "Christian conservatives[,]" and the emphasis on Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed as "the Christian conservative."  And the thrust of the piece itself spirals into a tenacious focus on Walker's own faith in the last few paragraphs.  Walker, the "son of a Baptist preacher," taking a "much harder line" on abortion and marriage seems like good fodder to alarm the Times' solidly left-leaning readership.

On substance, the Times does admit that "Mr. Walker does not appear to be rewriting his positions on specific issues[.]"  Loath as the paper may be to report it, this important detail will be familiar to political junkies: pols with presidential aspirations tend to do an emphasis dance as they go from exploratory phase to primaries to the general election.  While it is doubtless frustrating for pro-life activists and others who crave consistent passion from their elected officials on a literal life-and-death issue, politicians regularly tailor their messages to their audiences.  Real problems tend to arise from this only when presidential aspirants go overboard – i.e., into "Etch A Sketch" territory.

For obvious reasons, the liberal New York Times has no problem highlighting the fluctuations in Walker's respective messages to the general public and to a few pro-life and pro-marriage money sources.  But it's best not to shoot the messenger, assuming that the Times' source is on the level.  Voters more objective than the partisan "paper of record" should look carefully at Walker's statements and his record – and be as critical of their politicians as they are of their newspapers.

Drew Belsky is American Thinker's deputy editor.  Contact him at drew@americanthinker.com, and follow him on Twitter @DJB627.

The New York Times has a bone to pick with Scott Walker's consistency on abortion:

DES MOINES — It was a memorable political ad: Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin spoke directly into the camera in a 30-second spot last fall and called abortion an “agonizing” decision. He described himself as pro-life but, borrowing the language of the abortion rights movement, pointed to legislation he signed that leaves “the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

That language was gone when Mr. Walker met privately with Iowa Republicans in a hotel conference room last month, according to a person who attended the meeting. There, he highlighted his early support for a “personhood amendment,” which defines life as beginning at conception and would effectively prohibit all abortions and some methods of birth control.

Times authors Trip Gabriel and Jonathan Martin base their analysis on an anonymous source, allegedly relaying information from a private meeting including "fewer than a half-dozen" "Iowa Christian conservative leaders last month."

The Times' language appears to signal its readers in several places.  Take "fewer than a half-dozen," which looks like a bigger number than "fewer than six" – or, more precisely, "between two and five."  Then there's the common misleading statement about personhood amendments prohibiting birth control.  If a given drug destroys a human embryo, it is "birth control" only if one considers abortion birth control – but any Times editor worth his salt knows that to write "would effectively prohibit all abortions and some methods of abortion" is redundant.

Note also the Times' relegation (three times) of the abortion fight to "Christian conservatives[,]" and the emphasis on Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed as "the Christian conservative."  And the thrust of the piece itself spirals into a tenacious focus on Walker's own faith in the last few paragraphs.  Walker, the "son of a Baptist preacher," taking a "much harder line" on abortion and marriage seems like good fodder to alarm the Times' solidly left-leaning readership.

On substance, the Times does admit that "Mr. Walker does not appear to be rewriting his positions on specific issues[.]"  Loath as the paper may be to report it, this important detail will be familiar to political junkies: pols with presidential aspirations tend to do an emphasis dance as they go from exploratory phase to primaries to the general election.  While it is doubtless frustrating for pro-life activists and others who crave consistent passion from their elected officials on a literal life-and-death issue, politicians regularly tailor their messages to their audiences.  Real problems tend to arise from this only when presidential aspirants go overboard – i.e., into "Etch A Sketch" territory.

For obvious reasons, the liberal New York Times has no problem highlighting the fluctuations in Walker's respective messages to the general public and to a few pro-life and pro-marriage money sources.  But it's best not to shoot the messenger, assuming that the Times' source is on the level.  Voters more objective than the partisan "paper of record" should look carefully at Walker's statements and his record – and be as critical of their politicians as they are of their newspapers.

Drew Belsky is American Thinker's deputy editor.  Contact him at drew@americanthinker.com, and follow him on Twitter @DJB627.