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Hobby Lobby Hysteria and Unchallenged Hyperbole
It didn't take long, following the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby earlier this week, for many liberals to explode into full-fledged hysteria mode.
The Internet predictably flared up with venom-fueled, breathtakingly irresponsible claims of companies now having the right to ban their female employees from using birth control. The assertion was utter nonsense of course, but that didn't stop people like actor James Morrison (from the television show 24) from making statements like this:
"SCOTUS ruling is as perverse/abusive as a man who beats his wife/girlfriend. Crime of ignorance, violence, assertion of male power/dominance."
God bless Hollywood.
So let me get this straight... Ruling that a company shouldn't be forced to provide free birth control to its employees is the same as a man physically beating up a woman? How could someone so intellectually bankrupt have ever been in charge of CTU?
The reality, of course, is that the Supreme Court's ruling did not deny contraception access to anyone. What the court ruled was that the owners of a closely held company, who have religious objections to providing contraceptives or abortifacients through their insurance policies, can't by forced to do so by the government. Employees of companies who choose not to provide them are free to acquire the desired contraceptives or abortifacients on their own - just like before the Affordable Care Act (when few felt they were being victimized by the inconvenience).
In Hobby Lobby's case, the company was already providing contraceptive coverage to their employees before the Affordable Care Act ever mandated that they do so. Their objection wasn't to contraceptives (of which they are perfectly willing to continue covering 16 types), but rather to abortifacient (causing an abortion) drugs.
Now, I wouldn't expect people like Mr. Morrison and the rest of the unenlightened-and-angry Internet crowd to be held accountable for their hyperbole, other than simply being mocked by others on the Internet. It would be a waste of time. Their words might be infectious to like-minded ideologues, but such people have relatively little public influence.
But what about those people who do have great influence in our society, like our elected leaders? If they aren't challenged when they make the same type of completely over-the-top statements, by the people whose job it is to do so, how can that be anything but dangerous to a democracy?
Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote that she couldn't believe "we live in a world where we'd even consider letting big corps deny women access to basic care based on vague moral objections."
Fortunately, we don't live in that world. What Warren said was an outright fabrication - one that I've seen no one outside of the conservative media challenge.
Senator Patty Murray called the ruling "a dangerous precedent and takes us closer to a time in history when women had no choice and no voice."
Has Murray been asked by anyone in the media to qualify that remark? How has the ruling, in any way, taken us closer to that era?
Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself, in her written dissent, outright lied about what the ruling meant: "In a decision of startling breadth...the exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga... would deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraceptive coverage that the ACA would otherwise secure."
Why isn't this line of bologna a story in itself? No woman will be denied whatever contraceptives she chooses to purchase. And shouldn't the fact that Planned Parenthood is using this very quote to build political support and raise contributions also get some press?
Speaking in my home state of Colorado on Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made this comment on the Hobby Lobby ruling at the Aspen Ideas Festival: "It is a disturbing trend that you see in a lot of societies that are very unstable, anti-democratic, and frankly prone to extremism... Where women and women's bodies are used as the defining and unifying issue … because of their religion, their sect, their tribe, whatever."
One would think that a likely 2016 presidential candidate comparing the inconvenience of having to pay for one's own contraceptives to Sharia law would be a major new story. Nope. Crickets.
This of course all goes back to the prevalent problem of liberal media bias in this country. The mainstream media makes Republican leaders answer for their hyperbolic statements, as well they should. When an elected leader spreads utter, vitriolic nonsense to the public, they absolutely should be challenged. By not extending that level of scrutiny to the Democrats, however, the media lets completely false narratives saturate down into the electorate, and become accepted talking points that are repeated to no end. And the media, unfortunately, sees nothing wrong with that because they like the results.
If they did see something wrong with it, and did their job, no one could conveniently omit the word "illegal" from the term "illegal immigration" and still be taken seriously. No one would snidely call the Benghazi YouTube video and the IRS targeting of conservative groups "phony scandals," and still be respected. Lying to the public a couple dozen times about the Affordable Care Act letting people keep their insurance plans and doctors wouldn't be a forgivable offense. Accusing someone of being a racist would trigger requests for evidence of such, beyond merely a hunch. Basing a "Republican War on Women" on the moronic comments of two candidates, who were immediately castigated afterward by the GOP, would be met with eye-rolls. To me, the notion that the Supreme Court ruled to ban women from using contraceptives sits at the same level of lunacy as the notion that President Obama was born in Kenya. Yet, there's a stunning discrepancy in the way the media's treating it.
The further accepted wisdom drifts from the truth, the worse off we are as a society. Unfortunately, the conveyers of news in the mainstream media only recognize this when those who are being untruthful have an "(R)" next to their name.