Who are the haters? Shameful Fine Gael, shameful Irish media

Something of a small storm is raging in the North Atlantic. A group of Irish young people with a commitment to politics attended a conference in Washington of conservative-leaning students and young graduates. Their senior political colleagues or bosses at home got wind of it and all hell broke loose. Ok, that is a bit of an exaggeration – it is the silly season after all. Nevertheless the incident does speak volumes about the worrying lack of freedom in the new modernised Ireland whose praises the world seems to be singing about now. Clearly all is not as it seems.

Ireland is now a dangerous place for any young person who dares even to seem to think that there might be an alternative to liberal ideology. God help them. A friend commented yesterday, “where will any of these kids get a job in Ireland now after this barrage of hostile pc publicity?” Ireland’s graduate job-market is now dominated by corporate American high-tech and big pharma – and we know what they stand for in terms of social ideology. Government is in turn dependent on them for the high income employment which they generate. An independent State? Forget it.

‘MEP Maria Walsh, liked a tweet calling YAF (Young America’s Foundation) “a horrific hate-filled organisation” and demanded a resignation from one of the Irish students in attendance.’

This sounds more like Ireland’s party-in-power, Fine Gael, than any other organisation on the planet.

This incident carries all the traces of the same virus which gave us the Covington High School slander of a few months ago. There is no doubt but that Ireland’s political establishment and its senior partner, Irish mainstream media, have both swallowed Blue America’s ideology hook line and sinker – or is it hook line and stinker?

I’m not putting any money on the Irish Independent accurately reporting this response from the YAF.

Young America’s Foundation (YAF) hosted its 41st annual National Conservative Student Conference (NCSC) July 29 to August 3, 2019, bringing more than 1,300 participants together to learn from leading figures of the Conservative Movement. These students came from 37 states, the District of Columbia, and four countries.

Following the week long conference, several Irish students in attendance were blindsided by attacks from a reporter with the Irish Independent under a headline calling their attendance at NCSC “entirely inappropriate.” The piece goes on to quote attacks against the Irish students and Young America’s Foundation for mainstream conservative stances on today’s issues quoted as “regressive positions,” by the Independent. Even more absurdly, Irish media are now shamefully alleging that YAF’s National Conservative Student Conference has a “commonality” with the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend.

Additionally, other journalists piled on with their own ad hominem attacks and calls for the students to lose their jobs. Among those endorsing the intolerant and baseless claims about Young America’s Foundation is MEP Maria Walsh, who liked a tweet calling YAF “a horrific hate-filled organisation” and demanded a resignation from one of the Irish students in attendance.

The fact that anyone in Ireland is so threatened by a handful of students attending YAF’s flagship conference is a testament to these intolerant individuals’ weakness and insecurity in their own ideas. 

The Irish students at NCSC were attending in their personal capacity—anyone would be honored to hear from and interact with America’s leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence, the Honorable John Bolton, Senators Marsha Blackburn, Rick Scott, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Ted Cruz plus Mia Love, Lila Rose, Michael Knowles, and Liz Wheeler, among others.

In addition to this year’s distinguished speakers, NCSC has been addressed by the likes of President Ronald Reagan, Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman along with a Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader over the past four decades.

“The intolerance of the Left clearly knows no borders. The fact that Members of European Parliament or leaders from Ireland would attack a group of students for striving to broaden their intellectual horizons and learn from some of America’s leading decision makers is pathetic,” remarked YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown. “These students—and all those who took time out of their summer to learn and engage in a true free and open exchange of ideas—ought to be applauded, not demonized or threatened. Furthermore, the attempts by Irish media to sling baseless accusations and politicize a tragedy in the United States is disgusting.”

Young America’s Foundation has a long history of inviting students from around the world to participate in its conferences as YAF advances its mission to reach the rising generation with the principles of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values.

Young America’s Foundation looks forward to inviting even more students from Ireland and other countries to attend the next National Conservative Student Conference.

 

The practice of (biased) journalism

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The Radio Times, the BBC’s mass circulation listings magazine, promotes a programme on the issue of abortion this week with the following introductory paragraph.

There are few topics as delicate or contentious today as abortion. From Donald Trump’s global gag rule, which sparked international outrage earlier this year, to Ireland’s forthcoming referendum on whether to repeal its abortion ban in 2018, it is one of the most polarising issues of our time

The word “delicate” is ok. I think we can all accept the objectivity of “contentious” as well. But when we move to Trump’s “global gag rule” we begin to feel a little unsure of our ground. No one likes being gagged and people who gag others are generally objectionable. Then there is “international outrage”. Was there no support for his policy move? The final blow to our confidence in the BBC’s honesty, fairness and integrity comes with the Irish reference.

The Irish are not going to the polls next year to repeal or not repeal an “abortion ban.” They will be deciding whether or not to continue to vindicate and defend the right to life of the unborn, whether or not to remove from their constitution the article which says:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

Am I playing wth words? No, I am trying to do what the BBC is failing to do – use words as objectively as I can, stating the facts without the colour of my opinions attached. My effort at trying to describe what the BBC programme is hoping to do would go something like this.

There are few topics as delicate or contentious today as abortion. From Donald Trump’s policies on Planned Parnthood funding, which sparked international outrage among pro-choice supporters earlier this year, to Ireland’s forthcoming referendum on whether to repeal its law on the right to life of the unborn  in 2018, it is one of the most polarising issues of our time.

No matter what your personal opinion on the issue might be I would hope that you would be reasonably comfortable reading that ‘intro’ to the subject. You might still detect something of my personal opinions there but I would also hope that you would detect something of my respect for your right to an opposing opinion. The Radio Times simply  clobbers me over the head with its strident language. Sad.

On reading that opening paragraph in the magazine who could have any expectation that what this programme will present will be anything other than another apology for abortion on demand?

And sadly this is just one small example of the rampant abandonment by so many journalists of any effort to present facts dispassionately when they at the same time proclaim a commitment to that very ideal. The consequence of all this is that they not only destroy our confidence and trust in a great public institution but they undermine the strength and value of their own opinions. If we cannot trust them to give us the facts honestly then we cannot place much value on the opinions which they are calling on those “facts” to support.

 

“An assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality”

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Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists who helped give us the full picture – well, a fuller picture anyway – on Edward Snowden (firstly on American PBS’ FRONTLINE and then on the documentary, Citizen Four, now issues these somewhat somber warnings about the machinations of the CIA and its manipulation of the US media.

The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest. There is a wide array of legitimate and effective tactics for combating those threats: from bipartisan congressional coalitions and constitutional legal challenges to citizen uprisings and sustained and aggressive civil disobedience. All of those strategies have periodically proven themselves effective in times of political crisis or authoritarian overreach.

But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality. And casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.

Beyond all that, there is no bigger favor that Trump opponents can do for him than attacking him with such lowly, shabby, obvious shams, recruiting large media outlets to lead the way. When it comes time to expose actual Trump corruption and criminality, who is going to believe the people and institutions who have demonstrated they are willing to endorse any assertions no matter how factually baseless, who deploy any journalistic tactic no matter how unreliable and removed from basic means of ensuring accuracy?

Read the full article here.

Betrayal comes for the Archbishop

Saint Thomas Becket died defending the freedom of the Church

He gave a clear and very accurate account of the Catholic Church’s understanding of, and teaching on, the institution of marriage – both in its natural and supernatural dimensions. He set it in the context of the choice now facing the Irish people – whether or not to radically change the definition of marriage enshrined in their republic’s constitution. He clearly indicated that such a change was against all that he had described and could not be supported by the pastors of the Catholic Church.

That was the story.

The speaker was the Archbishop of Dublin, the Primate of Ireland, Dr. Diarmuid Martin. He was a guest of the Iona Institute addressing an audience on “The Church’s Teaching on Marriage Today”.

In the Q&A which followed his lecture Ireland’s liberally-biased media again became to focus of frustration – even of anger – in the audience. Archbishop Martin did not take sides on that one. He said that in his experience he had nothing to complain about. He had always been fairly treated by the media.

He had to wait only a few hours to have that trust and confidence grossly betrayed.

In his lecture on marriage, in no more than an aside, he had mentioned that some letters he had received about the current issue of the constitutional referendum on marriage – proposing to open it up to same-sex couples – people had betrayed a very unchristian attitude to homosexuals. He reproached them for it. However, there was no impression that these came from anything more than an unrepresentative handful.

No journalist with respect for the speaker, or respect for themselves, would manipulate the event to turn this remark into the story of the night.

What happened? In one media outlet the following morning – recycled in online and broadcast media – the story ran under the following headline: “Archbishop Martin hits out at ‘obnoxious jibes’ at gay community from ‘No’ camp”. This was the headline and this was the story. The truth is that it was not the story. That the reception of a handful of letters from a few unrepresentative individuals with appalling judgement and poorer taste should overshadow the serious substance of everything else the Archbishop had said was nothing short of a betrayal of the man, a disregard for his office and for the public who should have expected an honest and balanced report of what he said. What they got – something they are pretty used to getting now – was a media establishment’s dishonest trick of turning the lecture event into an instrument of its own moral agenda, undermining the message of the Archbishop and his effort to explain the teaching of his Church.

Betrayal by those whom he though were his friends came swiftly on the heels of his honest expression of trust and confidence in their integrity. Sad story.

This, yes this, is the human and civil rights issue of our time

LifeSiteNews this morning reports (LifeSiteNews.com) on how a group of Irish families, backed by one of the country’s small band of fearless pro-life politicianshave joined with international medical experts and disability advocacy groups to launch the Geneva Declaration on Perinatal Care at the United Nations.

Last night in Dublin a crowd of thousands gathered outside the Irish parliament to protest against media bias on the issue of abortion in the country. The Irish Times this morning reported “several hiundred”. How about that for a sample of bias? The crowd listened with subdued anger for an hour as speaker after speaker told them stories about the saving of lives, stories exposing the culture of destruction of the unborn and stories of harm suffered by women which national media in the country have ignored. 

A section of the crowd at last night’s demonstration in Dublin

 Ireland’s Pro-Life campaign late last year analysed a sample of two weeks’ mainstream media coverage of health-related stories and found a ratio of 33:1 stories favouring the culture of abortion as opposed to a culture of life. While the demonstration – attended by people from all over the country – focussed on media bias related to the life issue it might equally have shone the light on a number of other social issues where slanted media coverage is angering that percentage of the Irish public which still places value on the common good over rampant individualism.

Some wondered why the demonstration was held outside the Irish parliament. There are probably two answers to that. Firstly, media bias is so rampant across all national general newspapers and broadcasting organisations that selection of the offices of just one would have been invidious. Secondly, the elected represenatives are perceived by the frustrated Irish public as being cowed into submission to political correctness by the pundits who dominate the newpaper colums, the chat shows and current affairs programmes.

Currently a very flawed Children and Family Relationships Bill is being rushed through the Dåil (the Irish parliament’s lower house) with backing from all parties. The Bill is the darling of the media and has been allowed to get to this stage without the normal scrutiny given to proposed legislation. 

Over the past two months there was general media moaning because a proposal from pro-abortion deputy, Clare Daly for the abortion of children diagnosed with “fatal feotal abnormalities” was rejected – depuies had no choice but to reject it because it would have been unconstitutional. It would have passed easily had Ireland’s Constitution not given its protection to the unbond child’s right to life. No one is under any illusions about the real intentions of Ms. Daly –  the overturning of this right. 

This group of Irish families taking the issue to the UN is flying directly in he face of this contrary campaign. Last night’s meeting heard numerous stories of instances where unborn children were diagnosed with feotal abnormalities and yet were born, treated, and now live normal happy lives.

The Geneva Declaration, which is the centerpiece to a a global campaign to end disability discrimination caused by the  ‘incompatible with life’ label, has already been signed by more than 200 medical practitioners and researchers and 27 disability and advocacy NGOs.  It aims to improve care for mother and baby where a life-limiting condition has been diagnosed before or after birth.

 At the Geneva event, entitled ‘Achieving excellence in Perinatal care; Babies with a illness and disability deserve better than abortion’ families from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada, Spain, and Switzerland said that the label ‘incompatible with life’ was not a medical diagnosis and was causing “lethal discrimination against children diagnosed with severe disabilities, both before and after birth”.

The conference was addressed by Dr Ana Martin Ance an expert in perinatal hospice care, who said that, in her experience, families benefited hugely from supportive care which allowed them to spend time with their children, whose short lives had meaning and value.

Barbara Farlow, whose ground-breaking research led to a new understanding of the experiences of families where children had a life-limiting condition, said that the label ‘incompatible with life’ had been shown to lead to sub-optimal care after birth and that the phrase dehumanised children.

In a moving presentation, Grace Sharp, Derbhille McGill, Sarah Nugent and Sarah Hynes from Ireland spoke about the love and joy their children had brought to them in their short lives.

“My daughter, Lilly Joy, was alive and kicking inside of me and then she fought so hard to have four hours with us after birth before slipping peacefully away. All she knew was love,” Grace Sharp told the conference.

They were joined by Spanish family Francisco Lancha & Macarena Mata who said the right to life of children with disabilities had been seriously eroded.

The Independent TD from Tipperary , Mattie Mc Grath, said that he was delighted to support the global campaign and welcomed news that politicians in Spain, the US and Northern Ireland had expressed support for the initiative.

Professor Giuseppe Benegiano , former director of special programmes for the UN, said that the UN should give support for this important initiative against disability discrimation.

Prof Bogdan Chazan, an eminent obstetrician from Poland said that babies with a challenging diagnosis deserved better care than abortion.

Tracy Harkin of ELC who launched the Declaration states that: ‘As medical practitioners and researchers, we declare that the term “incompatible with life” is not a medical diagnosis and should not be used when describing unborn children who may have a life-limiting condition’. It  also calls for better perinatal care for families.

Ms Harkin said that the families wanted to challenge the United Nations to recognise the dignity and value of all children with terminal illness and disability.

The UN Convention states that ‘States Parties shall take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children’. The Preamble to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child also states that a child ‘needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth’.

“Yet studies show that up to 90% of children with disabilities are aborted before birth. In particular, children with life-limiting conditions are subject to discriminatory language and attitudes which deny them their humanity and their human rights. Families who are told that their baby may not live for long after birth need our full support and holistic perinatal care, but this can only be achieved if misleading and offensive language and attitudes are discontinued,” said Ms Harkin.  

 

Journalism “unfair in content, tone, choice of language, prominence of play.”

In a splendid article on the Real Clear Politics website the media’s greatest sacred cow is put under the microscope for our consideration. It presents us with a wretched story of gross injustice in the name of rights, rights perceived through the tinted glasses of global group-think and it will make – or should make – those complicit in its perpetration blush with shame when the history of our age is written.

Ireland’s working journalists should read this and put their hands on their hearts and tell the truth about the part they play in this self-righteous charade. They collectively, through the country’s major media organisations, if not necessarily individually – there are honourable exceptions, – tick all the boxes in this sorry catalogue of dishonesty and wilful blindness.

Carl M. Cannon, in an article posted on Real Clear Politics just over two months ago, recalls the recent history of journalism’s flight from the truth and responsibility for even-handedness which should be the hallmark of all reporting media. The history of journalism is not wanting in other aberrations of this kind down the decades of two centuries or more. But has any aberration been as persistent as this one?

In America’s newsrooms of the 1970s and 1980s, Cannon observes, a general consensus emerged on two fraught political issues. The first, affirmative action, was understandable. Expanding the pool of what had been a white male-dominated profession was not only a laudable social goal, it was a logical business imperative for newspapers seeking to expand their reach. And it was even more than that. If you worked for any major news organization, including the sprawling newspaper chains that dominated the landscape, it was also official corporate policy.

 The second issue, in a sense, grew out of the first. That issue was abortion, or in the vernacular adopted by the media, “abortion rights.” To say that big city editors and reporters were “pro-choice” is to understate the case. Mostly, it went without saying: Roe v. Wade was the law of the land, and any reporter or editor who harboured doubts about it — and those who voiced them aloud — was considered a sexist, or perhaps a religious nut.

 Editorially, most newspapers supported abortion rights. Two studies done in the late 1980s showed an overwhelming majority of U.S. journalists personally supported legalized abortion, numbers that were almost certainly higher among elite news organizations. And after the Newspaper Guild formally endorsed “freedom of choice,” journalists began marching in pro-choice rallies.

 He speaks of a former editor whom he worked for in those years, James R. Bettinger, city editor of the San Jose Mercury News, who now remembers the nagging feeling that his paper’s coverage of demonstrations by those opposed to abortion suffered because of the monolithic views of the reporting staff.

We might wish that some of the editors serving the Irish public today were afflicted with even a little of this nagging feeling.

 Bettinger, now the longtime director of the Knight Journalism Fellowship program at Stanford University, says “I was convinced there were stories we were missing and nuances we were trampling on because we weren’t hearing [the pro-life] perspective voiced in the newsroom. For all I know, there may have been reporters and editors who felt strongly on the issue, but it wasn’t getting voiced. It felt to me like a failing.”

 Cannon then quotes, influential Los Angeles Times media critic David Shaw who tackled this issue in 1990 with a 5,000-word opus that began on Page One. It pulled no punches, Cannon says. Shaw noted that it is certainly possible for reporters and editors to put aside their personal beliefs and follow the obligation of their chosen profession to be fair and impartial. But, he said, that wasn’t happening on this issue.

 “A comprehensive Times study of major newspaper, television and newsmagazine coverage over the last 18 months, including more than 100 interviews with journalists and with activists on both sides of the abortion debate confirms that this bias often exists,” Shaw wrote. “Careful examination of stories published and broadcast reveals scores of examples, large and small, that can only be characterized as unfair to the opponents of abortion, either in content, tone, choice of language or prominence of play.”

 In the years between 1973, when Roe v. Wade was decided, and the publication of Shaw’s opus, “viability” — i.e., the amount of time a fetus had to develop before being able to survive outside the womb — had steadily been shrinking. For journalists who ridiculed conservatives’ supposed hostility to science, this should have been a huge warning flag. Cutting-edge science and traditional religion were in sync. In the press, we were mainly in sync with Democrats.

 In 2008, at a joint appearance with John McCain at Saddleback, the sprawling Southern California mega-church founded by evangelical pastor Rick Warren, Barack Obama was asked, “At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?”

 “Well,” Obama replied, “I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.”

 This answer prompted widespread ridicule of Obama among social conservatives — and of the mainstream press for accepting such a dodge. But the exchange between Warren and Obama succinctly illustrates how the sides in this debate talk past one another. Those opposed to abortion frame the question as being about the rights of the unborn. Those who defend it talk about abortion as being integral to a woman’s right to control her own body, a necessity that trumps theological teaching or scientific advancement.

 Because it had long ago chosen sides in this debate, the media collaborated with the pro-choice side to sanitize this debate to the point where the details of the procedure abortion are almost never mentioned and the word “abortion” itself extraneous. Who is so sexist they can oppose “a woman’s right to choose”? How un-American to oppose “choice.”

 The ‘pro-choice’ movement has corrupted language and made choice a weasel word. The media has colluded in this corruption and in doing so has undermined the very principles of truth and honesty on which its credibility, its right to respect and its very raison d’être rests. Pay grade? For what?

Cannon has much more to say, and it is all profoundly unsettling.

Ireland ‘contra mundum’

Today, MercatorNet carried this review of the events surrounding and following from the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Ireland contra mundum – or more accurately, mundus contra Hiberniam – seems to be the burden of shrill, not to say lurid headlines circling the globe since Wednesday of last week, when the story broke about the tragic death of a pregnant Indian woman in a Galway hospital on October 28.

But the facts surrounding this sad case and the international media’s reading of them are disturbingly out of synch. The Irish Times set the agenda for interpretation when it broke the story under the headline, “Woman ‘denied a termination’ dies in hospital”. The story being run around the world is not the sad story about an unfortunate woman’s death resulting from septicaemia caused by a miscarriage. It is a story about Ireland’s resistance to legislation allowing abortion and – in the commentariat’s view –why that resistance must now be abandoned.

What is disturbing about all this is the flight from reason and truth in the service of a propaganda campaign by Ireland’s – and the whole world’s — pro-abortion activists. Many of the facts surrounding the case are not at all clear, but one thing is certain: this tragic case is not the result of Ireland’s law protecting the unborn child. At issue is medical practice in a particular Irish hospital and whether or not the medical team involved in this case did everything they could do to save this woman’s life, as they were obliged to do by Irish law and the ethics of their profession.

Read more here.

A bad week for human dignity and honest journalism

I’m not sure that that I needed it, but affirmation of one’s judgement from independent sources is always useful. Eilis O’Hanlon’s piece in today’s Irish Independent reaffirmed me in my judgement that I did the right thing in refusing to fund the Irish Times with my weekly subscription. We have been through a bad week for objective journalism – sorry, not objective, honest journalism. The Times is not the only medium in which my colleagues have shamed themselves but it led the charge.

The shamelessness with which the paper fostered the hysteria around the sad death of Savita Halappanavar,  and used the woman and her family in promoting a cause which is accountable for the deaths of millions of children across the globe, is astounding. The complexity of the case, the sensitivity with which human decency should have suggested it be treated, were thrown to the winds.

O’Hanlon cites the submission by the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to the Oireachtas All-Party Commission on the Constitution as an example of the standards which should have applied. It said on that occasion: “There is a fundamental difference between abortion carried out with the intention of taking the life of the baby … and the unavoidable death of the baby resulting from essential treatment to protect the life of the mother.”  The institute’s Clinical Practice Guide on the management of early pregnancy miscarriage, she notes, warns: “Women are sensitive about references to pregnancy loss. As their loss is not out of choice, use of words like ‘abortion’ can be sometimes offensive at a vulnerable time. Hence, discussion or documentation of management of early pregnancy loss should be worded appropriately.” O’Hanlon continues:

There was no such sensitivity shown at the Irish Times last week in its reporting on the death of 31- year-old Savita Halappanavar in a Galway hospital after contracting septicemia following a miscarriage. Instead the paper opted to present what had happened as a simple morality tale of what can happen when a woman is denied an “abortion”. Beyond the headlines there was more nuance about the range of treatments which, in practice, are offered to women in Ireland in similar circumstances, but there was no doubt that the pitch being presented by the Irish Times was one of the dangers of failing over a 20-year period to legislate for abortion in light of the X Case.

The debate for the rest of the week was coloured entirely by the Irish Times’s decision to reduce a complex personal tragedy, about which few facts were still known, to a rallying call for a new abortion law. And it wasn’t only in Ireland. The world’s media, having picked up on the tragedy, echoed the same line, deaf to the testimony of doctors that what was being called for in this case was not an abortion but a routine clinical procedure carried out on thousands of women in Ireland, and ignoring entirely the position of pro-life campaigners who made it clear that they had no moral or legal objection to Savita’s life taking precedence in these circumstances.

The Irish Times rushed to fill the vacuum left by an absence of facts with a single word, “abortion”, which was then tossed into the debate like a hand grenade into a small crowded room. In doing so, they not only sent out a message to the world that Ireland is some benighted, backward, bigoted land where religious dogma takes precedence over young women’s lives. At home they also opened the door to a vitriolic assault on pro-lifers who were suddenly being blamed for a chain of events which none of them had supported or would ever support.

There was an air of palpable nastiness in the air; the sense that a coiled spring of anger and bitterness which had been building since Clare Daly’s private member’s bill to deal with abortion was defeated in the Dail had suddenly found an outlet and could be unleashed. Pro-choice groups were now able to portray anyone who did not want to immediately legislate for more liberal abortion laws as a monster who was responsible for the death of an innocent young woman.

There was no doubt that they were upset and outraged by what had happened, but no side has a monopoly on compassion. This wasn’t a case of good vs evil, the compassionate vs the heartless, but pro-choice campaigners seemed to feel that they had a monopoly on human sympathy. They took total ownership of the story, refusing to allow anyone to even express their own sense of horror and sadness at a woman’s death unless they signed up wholesale to the pro-choice manifesto.

Everyone who dared put their head above the parapet was raked with rhetorical machine gun fire. Caroline Simons, solicitor for the pro-life movement, was measured and humane on Tonight With Vincent Browne, but her reasonableness seemed to annoy the critics more.

Senator Ronan Mullen received even more abuse when he appeared on Pat Kenny’s radio show. Fine Gael’s Michelle Mulherin, on the same programme the next day, didn’t stand a chance, having previously made an ill-advised comment about “fornication” in an unrelated context.

Anyone who tried to present any sort of argument for limiting abortion was tarred as a hardhearted dinosaur, a defender of the abstract rights of foetuses over the life of living, breathing, suffering women.

I heard recently that at a promotion event in the head office of the Irish Times, its editor – in defending the paper’s coverage of the abortion issue – said that he himself was a Catholic and that he was not pro-abortion.  If that is so then the only explanation for what the record of publication shows is that  the paper’s standard of honesty, fairness and integrity is being set by a clique within his organisation. This clique is clearly far more interested in achieving legislation which will facilitate the deaths of thousands of babies in their mother’s wombs than it is in providing an honest, comprehensive and balanced news and comment service to its readers. Whatever the truth of the matter is, and while this standard persists, I feel vindicated in my personal decision to cancel my subscription.

Is the “paper of record” troubling consciences?

Well what do you know? The “paper of record” has done it again. If you wanted some detailed news about what the leaders of the Catholic Church in Ireland is offering to its followers this weekend by way of information and encouragement to take a stand consistent with the belief and moral teachings of the institution they have freely chosen to follow, which paper would you go to? Not the paper of record.

Below are the three reports from Saturday morning’s Irish broadsheets. The Irish independent gives us nearly 400 words in its comprehensive summary of what the Irish bishops have issued to the parishes throughout the county. The Irish Examiner gives us over 200 and a good report. The Irish Times, however, gives us just over 150 words from its renowned even-handed religious affairs correspondent and buries the story at the bottom right hand corner of page six, probably one of the most “invisible” news slots in any newspaper.

Wonderful – and this after last week’s numbers debacle where the Times reported – apparently under “tweeting” pressure from the pro-abortion people –  that “several” thousand protesters thronged the ranks of a pro-choice street demonstration in Dublin last weekend when in fact a serious count using the video images from the demo showed that the number did not even reach one thousand.

Combine this observation with everything else we have been reading in the Irish Times in the past few months pertaining to the abortion issue and it is very hard not to conclude that here we have a paper which has deliberately set it face in the direction of the Mecca of introducing abortion legislation into Ireland.

What choice has a conscientious person who considers that such legislation, if put on the statute books of this country, would lead to the wholesale taking of the innocent lives of babies awaiting delivery from their mothers’ wombs? One choice, I think – if they are paying subscribers to that paper.  Cancel their subscription because it looks very much like a financial subscription to a cause supporting that wholesale slaughter.

Irish independent

Church launches new anti-abortion campaign

By Luke Byrne, Saturday October 06 2012

The Catholic Church will tomorrow begin a public campaign to oppose access to abortion in Ireland under any circumstances.

A pastoral message is to be read out at Mass opposing abortion and earlier this week all 1,360 parishes north and south of the Border were sent material on the church’s opposition to abortion, including homily notes, prayers, and posters.

The move is being seen as the opening salvo in the church’s campaign to lobby against access to abortion here.

It follows a promise by Cardinal Sean Brady in August that priests would be provided with the resources to campaign on the issue.

The homily notes have suggested that tomorrow’s first Bible reading come from the creation account of life from Genesis. “This provides an ideal context in which to speak of the beauty and sanctity of human life as part of the gift of God’s creation,” it said.

A prayer card has also been provided for parishioners. Along with a prayer, the card will say: “As science makes clear it is at fertilisation that a new, unique and genetically complete human being comes into existence.”

Responding to the planned campaign, Senator Ivana Bacik said she believed that the church’s moral power had been “significantly weakened” by the sexual abuse scandals.

“I think it’s disheartening that the church still thinks it can dictate to women regarding sexual health matters,” she said.

“I think the church should get its own house in order,” she added.

The church has also called for a month of prayer dedicated to the theme of ‘Choose Life’ to begin tomorrow, which it has called ‘Day for Life Sunday’.

The literature has told priests that it is not necessary for the Government to legislate for legal abortion in Ireland following the 2010 European Court of Human Rights case against the State.

Instead, it said that the Government “could choose to protect the life of the unborn baby in the womb” by changing the Constitution to set aside the Supreme Court ruling in the ‘X-case’.

As part of the campaign, the bishops’ conference has also commissioned a website at www.chooselife2012.ie

Ms Bacik said that the issues of the ‘X-case’ have twice been put to referendum and both times Ireland supported safe abortion in the case where a mother’s life was at risk.

Irish Examiner

Church to launch pro-life campaign with messages to Mass-goers

By Juno McEnroe, Political Reporter, Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Catholic Church will launch its pro-life campaign this weekend with anti- abortion messages for Mass- goers, posters in churches, and testimonies from women who have experienced crisis pregnancy.

The campaign details, letters, and materials have been sent to 1,360 parishes ahead of the release of the Government’s expert group report on abortion.

Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, recently said the Church would run a campaign against legalising abortion in Ireland.

Cardinal Brady said the State was not obliged to legislate for abortion as a result of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the so-called ABC case, which the expert group is addressing.

The “choose life” campaign will run for the next four weeks. Notes sent to priests on homilies read: “Any mother or father who has gazed in wonder at an ultrasound scan of their baby, or heard his or her heart beating for the first time, will know how rapid and beautiful is the development of their baby in the womb.”

Priests are also being advised to tell Mass-goers the Government should introduce laws or a constitutional amendment that would set aside the Supreme Court ruling in the X case, which allowed for abortion in some circumstances.

The Irish Times

Bishops launch anti-abortion month

PATSY McGARRY

Ireland’s Catholic bishops have called on “all who believe in the equal dignity and beauty of every human life” to “join us in calling on our public representatives to respect the humanity and life of children in the womb and to reject abortion.”

The bishops made their appeal in a special pastoral message which will be read and distributed in all Catholic parishes on the island this weekend. It coincides with “Day for Life Sunday” tomorrow, which also marks the start of a month of prayer around the theme “Choose Life!”, announced last month.

Relevant “Choose Life!” material was sent to all 1,360 Catholic parishes in Ireland this week to promote the month of prayer campaign. A special website chooselife2012.iehas been launched with a complementary Choose Life! presence on social media (Choose Life 2012 on Facebook, and @Chooselife2012 on Twitter and on YouTube).

The bishops said their message was for people of all backgrounds and traditions across the island.