Media Frenzy over Abortion Flip by Democrat Tim Ryan

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

A week ago roughly 500,000 young people marched in freezing weather up Pennsylvania Avenue as they have done every year for four decades calling for the overturning of Roe v. Wade and an end to abortion in America.

Like clockwork, the mainstream media largely ignored them.

As they do practically every year, the one and only photo run of the March by the Washington Post was of a handful of counter demonstrators rather then the throng of pro-lifers stretching from the Supreme Court all the way down to the Air and Space Museum.

A week later, a Congressman announces he’s no longer pro-life and he gets practically wall to wall coverage. Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio made the announcement yesterday, and dozens of major outlets immediately picked it up.

TIME led the way: “Pro-Life Congressman Explains Why He’s Now Pro-Choice.” CNN reported, “Ohio Democrat explains pro-choice shift.” USA Today went with, “Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan changes abortion stance.” The Christian Science Monitor reported, “After listening to women, a Congressman switches sides on abortion.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, “Rep. Tim Ryan says politics aren’t behind abortion switch.” And the Associated Press reported, “Democratic Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan changes stance on abortion”

What was largely unreported in the stories about Ryan’s flip on abortion is that pro-lifers say it wasn’t a flip at all. Pro-lifers disowned Ryan years ago. He was dropped from the advisory board of Democrats for Life in 2009 for his support of public funding of abortion in the District of Columbia and other related issues.

Doug Johnson of National Right to Life said in 2009 that Ryan “masquerades” as a pro-lifer.

At the news of Ryan’s supposed shift on abortion, Johnson said, “Each of Ryan’s successive shifts has been transparently opportunistic, based 100 percent on his assessments of what would best advance his personal political ambitions. Central casting could send Tim Ryan to play the stereotypical opportunistic, ambitious politician in a television melodrama — except the TV critics would say that he is a caricature of the type.”