Corona Bias: Media Outlets Offer More Accuracy for Aborted 'Baby Pigs' Than Humans

May 3rd, 2020 12:48 PM

Our former NewsBusters colleague Katie Yoder wrote a column for Townhall on how media outlets that ideologically resist using the term “baby” in abortion stories don’t have the same reservations now as hog farmers abort baby pigs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The central example was a Reuters story on April 27 headlined “Piglets aborted, chickens gassed as pandemic slams meat sector.” Reporters Tom Polansek and P.J. Huffstutter began:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - With the pandemic hobbling the meat-packing industry, Iowa farmer Al Van Beek had nowhere to ship his full-grown pigs to make room for the 7,500 piglets he expected from his breeding operation. The crisis forced a decision that still troubles him: He ordered his employees to give injections to the pregnant sows, one by one, that would cause them to abort their baby pigs.

They could have used the term “fetal pig,” but they had no political sensitivity on this story. Feminism doesn't intrude and insist terms must change to protect a "woman's right to choose."

“Van Beek’s piglets,” the reporters continued, “are victims of a sprawling food-industry crisis that began with the mass closure of restaurants.”

Yoder noted they used the matter-of-fact word “killing” as well. Euphemisms weren’t required. Shame and grief were allowed:

The pandemic barreling through farm towns has mired rural communities in despair, a potent mix of shame and grief.

Farmers take pride in the fact that their crops and animals are meant to feed people, especially in a crisis that has idled millions of workers and forced many to rely on food banks. Now, they’re destroying crops and killing animals for no purpose.

Farmers flinch when talking about killing off animals early or plowing crops into the ground, for fear of public wrath.

As pro-life group Live Action pointed out in a tweet on April 28, Reuters “forbids journalists from acknowledging the humanity or victimhood of human children targeted for abortion,” and yet, “fetal pigs are ‘baby pigs,’ ‘piglets’ and ‘victims.’”

The Reuters Handbook for Journalism entry on abortion insists “Unless quoting someone, refer to aborted foetuses rather than unborn babies." It also object to the terms "pro-life," "pro-abortion," "pro-choice," and "abortionist."

Even with the discrepancy, Live Action criticized, Reuters “prides itself in its supposed ‘Freedom from Bias.’” Even as they use politicized terms, they proclaim "As Reuters journalists, we never identify with any side in an issue, a conflict or a dispute. Our text and visual stories need to reflect all sides, not just one."

Yoder also noted a story on the Newsweek website. “The closures of slaughterhouses have caused huge problems for pig farmers,” editor Brendan Cole wrote in a story published on April 28. Without enough room and with the decreased demand, farmers are forced “to cull the hogs and piglets or even give pregnant sows injections, causing them to abort their baby pigs.”