Missing the Story?

The recent testimony by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and its lack of coverage has Mollie Hemingway a little concerned, particularly as it hides the issues of religious liberty.

What I’m trying to figure out is why the grandstanding silliness based on the completely erroneous claims that Dabbs Garrett and Champion don’t exist and didn’t testify back in February received so much coverage and why the faux-hearing based on Sandra Fluke’s completely irrelevant testimony was live-streamed on CNN, for instance, while the actual remarks given by the actual people who testified at the religious liberty hearing were ignored and the actual remarks given by the actual Secretary of HHS are ignored.

One can imagine perhaps two other reasons as to why the women were forgotten.

First, they were the “B” side. The first panel would naturally be the ones to get attention. This apparently would be the intended position of the hearing organizers.

Second, as to Dr. Champion, her testimony was weak. She did not possess institutional authority — she works with students, not in the administration of the college health plan for employees, the center of the controversy. Second, the testimony itself shed little new light, serving more to bring up conventional talking points, particularly as regards the status of the fertilized egg status (while members in the Christian Reformed community may hold this viewpoint it would be a mistake to think of it as the normative one in the denomination).

And lastly, the hearing itself had about it the whiff of grandstanding. That too, lends an easy frame for media coverage. The failure would appear to be more that of the committee leadership than of the coverage per se, after all, they could have put other figures before the committee and the media.


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