Nicole Radzievich is a good journalist, but I’m very disappointed with this article. As ever, the Morning Call’s official position seems to be that no matter how many immoderate votes Charlie Dent takes, he still must be described as a moderate:
Describing it as a “war on women,” Democrat Jackson Eaton on Tuesday blasted Republicans – including Congressman Charlie Dent – for saying they would support giving religious institutions an out to providing health care coverage for birth control if it violates its religious tenants.
Eaton, a 34-year-old attorney who changed his parties for the chance to run against the Republican congressman, said he thought the birth control issue was settled decades ago and this debate is “another sad symptom of a broken Congress.”
“The Center for Disease Control reports that 99 percent of American women of childbearing age have used contraception to prevent a pregnancy. The CDC calls this usage rate ‘virtually universal’,” Eaton said in a statement. “What do the Republicans call it? Controversial.”
The two-page statement, which he delivered in front of the Walters Pharmacy in Allentown, aims to tie Dent, a moderate Republican, to social conservatives like presidential hopeful Rick Santorum during the national discussion on whether birth control should be covered under the new health care law.
The assertion that Charlie Dent is a “moderate” is a statement of opinion, it is not a fact. It is a poorly-supported opinion at that. An 87% party loyalty record makes Mr. Dent a highly orthodox conservative, especially in such a startlingly radical Congress.
It’s unprofessional for the Morning Call to put statements of opinion in news stories. If they want to persuade readers that Mr. Dent is a moderate, that belongs on the editorial page.
The description of Mr. Dent’s position on contraception coverage is also inaccurate.
The Blunt Amendment, which Mr. Dent supports, would not simply roll back President Obama’s mandate that insurance companies cover contraception. Ms. Radzievich’s description gives the reader the impression that Mr. Dent and the Republicans simply support exempting religious-affiliated institutions, which is not true. The Republican proposal would go much further than that, creating a new right for employers to refuse to cover birth control if they have any vague “moral” objections. That’s not just religious-affiliated institutions, it’s all employers, including secular ones.
How are readers supposed to form a well-informed opinion on this issue, or the candidates for this seat, if the Morning Call is giving them false descriptions of the candidates’ positions?