WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

Silence is Complicity

ksavoies Icon Posted by Keely Savoie

April 26th, 2007

They’re at it again: A week since the SCOTUS began dismembering Roe anti-choice lunatics are terrorizing women’s clinics, as reported by the Associated Press in a very brief piece headlined, “Explosive found at Austin women’s clinic.”

The “they” in question, however, is not the domestic terrorists responsible. It is the media that systematically ignores these stories, as Jennifer Pozner has pointed out in the past. This particular story — in which “A package left at a women’s clinic that performs abortions contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death” took place in Austin, TX yesterday. I wouldn’t have known myself unless I had a friend down there, where it was covered with all the fanfare of a traffic accident.

The national press? Aside from 97 words from the AP and a brief mention from CNN — nothing (according to a Nexis search at 5:15 pm today). In that lone CNN mention, we’re told that “Officials from the Homeland Defense Team, which includes police officers, also other Austin officers, the Department of Emergency Ordnance Disposal unit and the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives” were on the scene. Yet still, not a peep from the national press. Now, imagine if this clinic had been a bank, or a high school, or a sports arena. I bet we would have heard something about it then.

The media’s silence surrounding issues of violence against women is not only emblematic of a fundamentally dismissive attitude, it ultimately harms all feminist causes, and lends to the perception that feminists are all just knee-jerk alarmists railing against imaginary enemies. It’s easier to dismiss the need to constitutionally protect women from violence and discrimination if you erase all evidence that such things exist.

UPDATE o4/27/07: ABC News, MSNBC and Reuters have now covered the story, but wider coverage is still notably lacking.

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