Reactions to Reuters editor Todd Eastham’s
What's your plan for parenting & educating all the unwanted children you people want to bring into the world? Who will pay for policing our streets & maintaining the prisons needed to contain them when you, their parents & the system fail them? Oh, sorry. All that money has been earmarked to pay off the Bush deficit. Give me a frigging break, will you?
In the days that followed, Eastham's e-mail was reproduced in many
different publications and websites. His e-mail drew many comments. A small
selection of these are excerpted below. Spelling, punctuation, and style
have been left as in the originals.
As a former veteran of the Reuters newsroom in Washington, D.C., I was not surprised to see the piece in The Washington Post (Aug. 30, 2004) about the unethical and wrongheaded e-mail sent to your organization by the Reuters editor. I worked in the D.C. newsroom from 1998 to mid-2001 before resigning for a number of reasons, one of which was the blatant liberal, left-of-center tilt to the reporting and editing assignments/copy generated by the staff. Journalists must be impartial outsiders if they are to be journalists, but in that newsroom they were far from that, which could easily be seen in the stories that were published and the ones not published during my tenure. The Reuters editor at the center of the problem e-mail is emblematic of the outspoken liberal, anti-Republican stance in that newsroom. When I was there, the unethical tirades came often, and at the height of the election controversy in 2000 it was obvious there was a Gore cheering section throughout the newsroom (literally). Worse yet, the "beats" assigned by the editors were misguided, with . . . the most strident anti-Republican in the room [name deleted] covering social issues like abortion. So, in closing, I am sorry for journalists everywhere that newsrooms offer a lockstep mentality these days, where Republicans (conservatives) and their views are bad and anything liberal is good, or at least better than that of right-to-life supporters, etc. I am registered with no party, held no favor for anyone I covered, but I had to hear the disdain from the liberals when I let it be known I did not support the liberal view of life: pro-abortion . . .
Gary Schneider, in e-mail to NRLC, August 31:
As a former Reuters employee of approximately 10 years (was most recently VP, Product Marketing for news and financial information products), the response you received from Todd Eastham does not surprise me in the slightest. I have personally experienced what can arguably be described as a corporate culture there that is at times hostile to the Christian-conservative worldview.... or at least fearful of groups who aggressively espouse politically correct (read secular) ones.
Daniel A. James of Chicago (on his blog, August 30):
I guess I'm disturbed that an editor of a news service would view this press release as so contemptible as to contact the principle with his own critique. I guess I'm doubly disturbed by the assumption of the same editor that it's a no brainer that aborted fetuses are bound to otherwise grow up to be criminals who must be incarcerated or executed. I guess I'm really, really disturbed by his truculent and arrogant insistence that a eugenic solution for the health of society is thus served by aborting these fetuses. My belief in abortion rights is that it is an imperfect alternative in a very tough situation. But my consience is disturbed reading the sort of argument from Mr. Eastham. Isn't yours?
David Miller, from an e-mail he sent to Reuters, Sept. 1:
As a journalist who used to subscribe to your feed (and who favored it over AFP when we were discussing which to drop), I was saddened and disappointed to read about a message from a Reuters editor, Todd Eastham, to the National Right to Life Committee . . . . It’s not a huge surprise that a Reuters editor would personally favor a legal right to abortion, but it impacts Reuters’ professionalism when one of its editors is seen to indulge in crude, simplistic rant that adds more heat than light, rubbishing the mutual respect that enlightened players should be showing to all others within the marketplace of ideas – not least under the banner of a Reuters e-mail address. This incident revealed a double lapse in judgment: uncivil discourse and abuse of Reuters’ name in representing this discourse.
"LRB" from Minnesota, posted in an internet discussion group on August 30:
Here is part of the reason why we will NEVER see any truthful coverage of the abortion issue in the mainstream media. When Todd Eastham, Reuters Editor (one of the LARGEST news services in the WORLD) demonstrates such blatant bias, bigotry and hatred it is no wonder that the media is so pro-abortion!
"Westbrook," posted on Free Republic website, August 27:
Four of my seven children are adopted. Those of you have adopted children know the difficulties and expenses involved in doing so. We love our adopted children as much as if they were born to us. There is NO DIFFERENCE to us in our hearts.
From "MH," posted on World magazine blog, August 30:
So if killing is an appropriate response to unwanted children, why not kill those children already born who have been abandoned by their parents, and now languish in the foster care system? These are certainly unwanted children, and are often at-risk because they have no stable home life. The social costs of educating and providing for their upbringing certainly justify the elimination of these unwanted children as well! Give me a friggin break!
"Cabin Master," on his blog, September 1:
You see, the first thing I thought when I read Mr. Eastham's response was that this could easily have been said by any advocate of slavery before the Civil War (can't ever resist mentioning that some would call it the War of Northern Aggression). Many a pro-slavery advocate made the claim that slaves could not be free because they couldn't take care of themselves (ignoring of course the fact that many a free slave learned right quick how to be free and how to take care of themselves). Setting all of those slaves free would be a burden to society they claimed (ignoring the fact that the Southern economy wouldn't have been anything like it was without the hard work of slaves). We all know how that ended. If I had a dime for every time someone made the false assumptions that Mr. Eastham makes.....Mr. Eastham's powers of precognition are amazing! He already knows that all of the children who's lives would be spared were partial-birth abortions to be banned would all have horrible parents and grow up to be criminals. Simply amazing! Do you know next week's winning lotto numbers too Mr. Eastham?
Laura Russert, in an e-mail sent to Todd Eastham, August 27:
[M]aybe in 10 - 20 years, you will come out with another humane suggestion such as withholding critical medical care or killing off the "unwanted elderly" so that society needn't concern itself with paying for their medical care and staffing the nursing homes and hospitals needed to "contain" those whose 1 or 2 spoiled, non-aborted children fail to care for them. After all, they chose to abort their future care-takers, right? Or perhaps you will suggest a more egalitarian approach such as setting an age limit at which humans can no longer use the earthly space and resources that are required to sustain the indulgent lifestyle that you undoubtedly have now or seek to attain. 80 years and you're up. Or maybe you'll be kind and suggest 85. I hope you contemplate just how vile and thoughtless your reasoning and justifications are.
"Athanasius," in a blog posting, August 30:
Ebenezer Scrooge couldn't have said it better. "If they are going to die, let them die, and reduce the surplus population." It boggles the mind to think of how much is wrong with that paragraph: 1) It's an argument for killing every criminal, lest they soak up tax dollars for their trial and imprisonment. 2) It assumes that any "unwanted child" will become a criminal. 3) It assumes that anyone who contemplates abortion, or has one, would be a bad parent. 4) It assumes that "unwanted children" (who are, among other things, the subjects of tens of thousands of adoptions each year) are an inevitable and unnecessary burden on society. 5) It assumes that "unwanted children" offer nothing to society to justify their existence (as if they have to). 6) It contains an implicit endorsement of eugenics, which called for the weeding out of undesirable elements from the gene pool, often with an explicit emphasis on potential criminals. And on top of all that, Eastham claims he wasn't acting in his professional capacity when he responded to the NRTLC's press release, which he only got because of his professional capacity.
Gaytor Rasmussen, e-mail to NRLC, September 5:
As a pro-choice person I want to appologize for
the uninformed Todd Eastham. His response was reactionary and ignorant as to
what you argue for. I have been to your site a number of times and find it
fascinating to hear an arguement based on something other than bad religion.
Your site causes me to pause and think. I would argue that your arguement is
emotional and you would argue that mine is heartless. Somewhere inbetween us
is the truth.
To return to the main story on Todd Eastham and Reuters news service,
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