Monday, November 4, 2013

Abortion in Tennessee: In the News

Nashville's Gannett-owned newspaper, "The Tennesseean," has published a relatively objective, wide-ranging, and detailed series on abortion in Tennessee

The series notable for at least three reasons: 

First, you just don't see much substantive, investigative journalism in the daily papers anymore.  Constrained by shrinking subscriber and advertising dollars, the big city newspapers have become smaller and smaller and the constraints on projects have become greater and greater. There are still a few web-based sources for good investigative journalism--but they are few indeed.

Second, the more than 20 articles in the series hew closer than one might expect to relative objectivity (emphasis on relative).  The truth is, when it comes to this very contentious subject (and contentious, it should be given the fact that it involves all the most critical issues of life and death, freedom and liberty, law and lawlessness) there really is no such thing as genuine objectivity and there is only rarely relative objectivity--especially in the modern media environment.  This is the sort of journalism that will likely make the partisans on both sides more than a little agitated (I winced any number of times as I noted sometimes subtle, sometimes not-so-subtle pro-abort jabs--but, then found myself gratified at other points: fair enough).

Third, this vital issue is actually given its due in the series. It is not cut off short with brusk bromides all too typical when such unpleasantries are broached in the contemporary  journalistic conversation.  In Tennessee, the net importing of abortion makes this a particularly vital issue for this particularly conservative state.

So, for all these reasons, this is a rather extraordinary piece of work indeed.