Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ryan's abortion extremism is big news nationally, but Wisconsin readers are blacked out

Ryan is featured in the photo accompanying the NY Times story on abortion controversy.

Paul Ryan is all over the national news stories about the Republican anti-choice agenda, since Todd Akin made the mistake of saying what he really thinks. Today's front page NY Times story, headlined Akin Controversy Stirs Up Abortion Issue in Campaign features Ryan prominently:
That agenda — largely eclipsed for two years by a protracted fiscal crisis and the fight over how to manage the federal deficit — has wedged its way, for now at least, to the center of the 2012 campaign. It is focusing attention on an issue that helped earn Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, a reputation as a flip-flopper, threatening the Republican quest for control of the Senate, and leaving Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, Mr. Romney’s vice-presidential pick, in the uncomfortable position of distinguishing himself from Mr. Akin, with whom he has often concurred... 
In an anti-abortion measure once sponsored by Mr. Akin, Mr. Ryan and scores of other Republican lawmakers, an exemption was made for victims of “forcible” rape, though that word was later removed... 
Mr. Ryan’s more conservative views, which have been reflected in votes that would restrict family planning financing overseas, cut off all federal funds to Planned Parenthood and repeal President Obama’s health care law, have come into sharp relief as Mr. Akin struggles for his political life. 
Mr. Akin and Mr. Ryan each have voted in this Congress for 10 abortion-restricting measures as well as those that limited other family planning services. Both Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney have earned praise for their positions from the National Right to Life group and other anti-abortion organizations. “The right-to-life Romney/Ryan ticket is now complete,” wrote Barbara Lyons and Sue Armacost, executive director and legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life, on the organization’s Web site.
But this story, incredibly, continues to be missing from Wisconsin media coverage of the campaign.  Ryan's role, his views on the issue, his phone call to Akin, their joint sponsorships of many far-out pieces of anti-abortion legislation -- scarcely a mention.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel certainly isn't ignoring Ryan or the race.  Some very competent reporters -- Craig Gilbert, Don Walker and Dan Bice among them -- are covering the race and writing about it.  But we keep  reading "Local Boy Makes Good" stories and little or nothing about the controversy swirling around Ryan.

We are inclined to blame their editors, who must not be encouraging --if not actively discouraging -- their people from doing the real reporting they are capable of.  That's a shame, as Wisconsin, a battleground state, gets a sanitized version of the news from its biggest circulation newspaper.

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