Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune deserves a Pulitzer Prize for this: Jill Stanek told him she was mistaken in her blog posts this earlier year about what Sen. Obama did in the Illinois Legislature on the "Born-Alive Infant Protection Act."
Jill Stanek’s direct quote in the Tribune was "A mistake."
I wrote Eric Zorn to make sure I was reading his article correctly and he confirms, she is acknowledging her mistake.
I respect Jill for that. But the mistake has created a firestorm in the anti-choice blogosphere, and may still be the subject of a major 527 campaign trying to distort Obama’s record. It is hard to put the facts back in perspective when the lies have spread so far, and once they are on TV, only a TV rebuttal can hope to effectively counter those lies. In this campaign we are also seeing amazing lies under the radar in email, and of course the widely discredited Jerome Corsi book, but we also see how this smear machine has impacted the polls.
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Curiously, Jill Stanek has posted almost every other bit of recent media on the topic on her blog, continuing to push the story, but has not mentioned her admission to the Tribune that she is mistaken.
Sen. Obama said flat out the people promoting the misinformation were lying. For the past two days Jill and others have pushed back on that.
I’ll give Jill the benefit of the doubt on the mistake and say that the lies being spread came as a result of her mistake. She was a key witness at the hearings in question, so the anti-choice community has trusted her on the issue. They have spun it wildly from there, but even Jill couldn’t bring herself to fully quote the explanation the campaign recently gave on her blog, making it appear she had Obama in a "gotcha" moment. The Obama campaign has released a detailed explanation of events.
This is a classic example of the way the far-right spreads misinformation, and through its repetition by anti-choice zealots who believe everything they read on Jill’s blog, or Lifesite.com, or any of the other major anti-choice blogs, it becomes an accepted fact within their community. Even many in the mainstream media then buy into the anti-choice framing of issues, because it appears to be so widely accepted.
If you can’t trust Jill and others not to be mistaken or distort the facts of a political debate, how can anyone trust them not to be mistaken or distort the facts of abstinence-only policies, contraception, and the reasons women might choose to terminate a pregnancy, just to gain political advantage? As we watched this story unfold at Rewire, we’ve been clear it was up to the Obama campaign to explain his position, and our role is to report the issue accurately so that the misinformation doesn’t reinforce stereotypes about reproductive health care that the far-right promotes.
One of our most aggressive anti-choice commenters, Rueben, was like a dog with a bone on my post about Obama calling anti-choice lobbyists out on these lies, and started by saying that I should admit when I’m wrong. Like so many anti-choicers, they just keep repeating their favorite phrases (i.e. "abortion on demand") and conjuring images of rampant late-term abortions, as though these were the norms. The reality is far from the mistaken and distorted notions promoted by anti-choicers, and Americans are starting to realize this.
We’ll be waiting for Jill Stanek to acknowledge her mistake on her blog, which should be easy since she did it already in the Chicago Tribune. Rueben, any comment?