Please do note that this isn’t a discussion of whether abortion should be allowed, should happen, nor the terms of either. I’m well aware that my own views on the subject are entirely out of step with the zeitgeit. Rather, this is to point to a basic problem that we’ve got with this whole “fake news” campaign. What is fake news depends rather on who gets to define what is fake, doesn’t it?
For example, we could imagine rather a large number on the left who would insist, absolutely, that a minimum wage does not reduce employment. They’re wrong in that, a low minimum wage will reduce it only marginally, below the level we can detect at the macroeconomic level, a high one will be more obvious. But there would still be those who would insist that it doesn’t, that to assert basic economics is fake news even a lie.
Similarly, concerning economics and gender the assertion that the gender pay – better described as earnings – gap is in large part to entirely about gender based decisions concerning primary child carer is true. It will also be denounced as fake news by many.
Which brings us to Amanda Marcotte, never the brightest banana in the bunch poor lass. She wants to tell us that the entire fake news industry is just writ large what the anti-abortionists have been doing for decades. Assertions of what is not true in order to fool people into opposing their own interests. She gives us this list of such:
Opposition to legal abortion has always been rooted in hostility to women’s equality and sexual liberation
A rather large assertion there. But we’ll let that slide and on to this:
Here are just a small sample of the falsehoods that anti-choicers have promulgated, and around which they’ve often built legislation:
The supposed malady of “post-abortion syndrome,” in which women are made mentally ill from abortion regret. In reality, abortion is not linked to poorer mental health outcomes, although childbirth can be. Women rarely regret their abortion decisions.
That women rarely regret means that some do. Therefore this thing called “abortion regret” does in fact exist, doesn’t it?
Birth control pills are said to be dangerous, to cause infertility, and to be a clandestine form of abortion, none of which is true.
Birth control pills are dangerous. Read the packet sometime, look at the warnings. Sure, all drugs are dangerous, all have side effects, nothing in this life is perfectly safe. Specifically, some formulations are not for those prone to, say, blood clots. In fact some women are warned off using the pill at all and very strongly advised to use other methods. For those very safety reasons. As to a clandestine form of abortion, that is in fact the considered view of the Catholic Church. Sure, that’s something you can disagree with but it’s again a matter of definition, isn’t it? The pill works to stop the fertilised egg (ovum? Blastocyst? Baby? Whatever) from attaching to the uterine wall. In that Catholic view life begins at conception, action to prevent that pregnancy going to term is abortion. Again, you don’t have to agree with this logical construct, sure you don’t. But it’s not a lie to assert said logical construct either. It’s a difference of opinion, not a lie.
Fetuses supposedly feel pain in the second trimester and “scream” in the womb, which is demonstrably untrue.
Scream, probably not, but the second trimester goes to 24 weeks. There are babies born at 22, 23 weeks and there’s no one who is going to say they are insensitive to pain now, is there?
Condoms do not protect against sexually-transmitted diseases because they have “holes” in them. In reality, condoms work very well to prevent disease transmission.
That condoms work very well is again an admission that they don’t work perfectly. Yes, that idea from that Cardinal about the holes letting the HIV virus in was idiotically wrong but that’s not to then be able to insist that the opposite assertion is true, that they’re perfect.
In a very fundamental and disturbing way, the anti-choice movement has decided to build its entire worldview and ideology on lies.
That pioneering effort really led the way to the Trump era, where right-wing lies are the new normal and the term “fake news” has itself been appropriated by conservatives to demonize any news story they find disagreeable.
Again, please note that I’m discussing fake news here, not abortion itself. That contentious subject is just here as an example of this next. What counts as fake news depends upon who is doing the defining of what is fake, doesn’t it? And most assuredly I’m just as worried about people to the right of me getting to define the truth as I am those to the left of me.
Which brings us all to the really important question here. If we’re to purge the media, social media, of fake news who gets to decide what is fake? Anyone happy with the idea that Amanda Marcotte, on this evidence, gets to decide it for us? Steve Bannon or Jerry Falwell Jr? Hell, I’d be worried if I got to decide what is true enough to go in the newspaper and I write for the things.
It’s a problem, isn’t it? The only possible solution being that all get to shout and scream as they wish and we leave it to caveat emptor to decide among them. You know, that free speech thing?