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WGN-TV / Under the Covers vs. Undercover--Where is today's press?

Commentary by Nedd Kareiva *

I grew up with WGN-TV. From Ray Raynor and Loony Tunes to Garfield Goose (which show I once appeared on) in the mornings to Bozo at lunchtime, WGN Channel 9 was part of my TV life during my grade school and high school years. Who could forget Clutch Cargo and Diver Dan or Suzy Snowflake and Hardrock, Coco and Joe during Christmas on the Ray Raynor show? Watching Family Classics and viewing Cubs games added to my enrichment of TV. WGN was once the source of family friendly entertainment.

Enter PBS. In 1969, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, The Electric Company and Zoom competed for viewership. I seldom watched Channel 11. The quality just wasn't there. I had minimal interest. It could not compare to WGN's quality programming. Perhaps it had something to do with WGN being run by a private enterprise, while PBS was run by the federal government.

Fast forward to the 1980s. Ray Raynor and Garfield Goose were given the pink slip. Family Classics, which used to run every Sunday afternoon except when Cub games aired, went to once a month and eventually they were history. Bozo was a bastion of joy for children since its inception in the 1950s. You had to wait years on a waiting list to get a ticket to the show. But in the late 90s, Warner Brothers (the WB) took ownership of the TV station along with the Chicago Tribune. Bozo's days were numbered, despite its consistent popularity.

Eventually, the WB moved Bozo off the set. Adult programming, like Dawson's Creek and Friends, shows that absented themselves of wholesome family values, replaced the inimitable Bozo. And PBS increased its children's program with Barney, among many others. Of the original four shows back in 1969, only the Electric Company is now off the air.

On to WGN News. Channel 9 entered the news scene back in the 1970s or 1980s, can't remember which. It had an edge on the competition by starting its newscast an hour earlier than ABC, NBC and CBS. Fox News 32 joined the competition with WGN for 9:00 viewers. Channel 9 eventually went to an hour-long newscast. Fox 32 News did the same to keep its ratings competitive.

With an hour to do the news, you would think WGN would pick up more insider or "undercover" stories that other stations are limited time wise from doing. While they do, to some extent, they probably can't compete with NBC's fearless Dave Savini. However, neither of these stations, nor any other, has gone undercover to expose a crime-wave that has largely been ignored by the TV and print media--except for the WB's affiliate in Dallas/Fort Worth, Channel 33.

For those of us concerned about the nation's rapidly declining moral values or for just news junkies, Life Dynamics in Texas has exposed a crime spree few media sources have reported on.

It's not your traditional crime spree. Life Dynamics went undercover to see if abortion clinics run by Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) are following the law. The abortion industry has largely avoided any regulation of its practices, due to its allies in the media and government. But open up a veterinary clinic and you'll see how stringent its laws are.

What Planned Parenthood and NARAL clinics have done is avoid, at almost all costs, reporting cases of sexual abuse involving minor children (under 18) and adult men (over 19) to state authorities and/or child custody agencies. Failure to report such activities is a crime in all 50 states. It's bad enough they commit atrocities by killing unborn children in the womb and get away with it, courtesy of Roe vs. Wade. But in its undercover operation, Life Dynamics found that as many as 90% of the 800+ clinics across the country that perform abortions do not comply with the law with regard to reporting underage sexual activities (can you say "jailbait"?).

The woman hired by Life Dynamics to call the abortion clinics portrayed herself as a 13 year old who was having sex with a 20+ year old man. In just roughly 10% of the clinics did the person answering the phone tell the undercover woman about the need to comply with the law.

So Channel 33, the affiliate of WGN TV, the Tribune and the WB, sent reporter Dawn Tongish to follow up on Life Dynamics activities to see if Texas clinics were meeting the requirements of the law. Tongish obtained a tape of a call to an east side clinic in the Dallas area and brought it to the director of the Planned Parenthood clinic. They ignored her and turned her away. Calling Planned Parenthood's headquarters proved futile, as their phones were off the hook for quite some time.

So why isn't WGN TV (or, for that matter, any station, here in Chicago) reporting on this wave of ignoring child sex statutes by the abortion industry as reporter Tongish has? Life Dynamics made the same calls to Chicago area clinics, as they did in Texas, with the same results. Is this not newsworthy? Well, I believe a reasonable person would look at this and be outraged, especially if it was a parent of an underaged girl who was having sex with an adult male. Why would the American people (except those in the porn industry) not want to know that clinics all over the country are failing to follow their state's reporting laws? Don't abortion clinics want to safeguard young girls?

Apparently not, as evidenced by the hundreds of clinics who are working to circumvent reporting requirements. This is not about abortion per se. This is about the law. After all, states are entrusted to ensure that the welfare of minor children is not violated. So it is hard to understand why WGN, already in lockstep with the government on so many issues, has chosen to ignore such news in the wake of overwhelming evidence of the abuse of children. Stations like WGN create a feeding frenzy when there is physical abuse of a child in a home in a depressed area. The reporters are on the bandwagon to get the story first. So why is this story being ignored?

For the record, I e-mailed the three part series by reporter Tongish to WGN. Of course, being an affiliate of the WB in Dallas, they didn't need me to do that. They could have easily found it on the Internet. All I got was an automated reply. Of course, that was the easy way out. The e-mail was likely deleted by some faceless acolyte in the press.

Many conservatives, like myself, look for unbiased news sources. Most don't exist in national TV or print spectra. The Washington Times is one exception. Therefore, conservatives go to the Internet for news that is otherwise missed. World Net Daily and the Washington Times, among other Internet sources, have reported Life Dynamics investigations. Obviously, these sources have nothing to hide and have reported these damning crimes against children.

Here is an observation. Media sources are supposed to tell the truth about news they see and hear. Obviously, that is not the case at many print and TV outlets. The question should be, "Is the story newsworthy?" It's hard to imagine a reasonable person could think this story is not newsworthy. If such a story is deemed not newsworthy by media pundits, the question should be raised, "Is there something to hide?"

There appears to be a "hidden" agenda here, basically keeping stories like this "under the covers" instead of going undercover. If a story like this (about abortion clinics not reporting statutory abuse to law enforcement personnel) is unworthy of public reception, could it be there are people in the press newsrooms--or their friends and accomplices elsewhere--who don't want this brought to the light of day because of possible severe adverse effects to these individuals? Such effects could include the loss of income or personnel in abortion clinics, dragnets dropped on all violators of the law, and even public outrage.

Perhaps this is why we don't hear negative news stories on traditional media outlets on homosexuality and crimes committed by homosexuals against children. Could it be there are homosexuals in the newsrooms who don't want bad exposure because public outrage will demand that such people be exposed and brought to justice? After all, our society is conditioned to emotionally sympathize with the plights of youngsters. It would put homosexuality in a bad light and would thwart the rising tide of it in public schools and governments across the country. One news source claims homosexuals comprise 75% of the personnel who work the front-page stories for the New York Times. What would happen if a news outlet gutsily reported this? I would venture to say a backlash would occur--and that's putting it mildly.

One has to wonder if WGN and other Chicago stations have personnel in their newsrooms who would rather put these stories "under the covers" and "in bed" instead of boldly telling the truth. It's easier to attack tobacco companies because there are no adverse effects to media pundits. They have helped demonize smokers. Lighting up has become politically incorrect, while immorality has thrived. Look at what the media reports and doesn't report.

Until reporters stop picking and choosing which newsworthy stories to cover and not to cover, I'll continue to go to World Net Daily, NewsMax, the Washington Times and FOX News online (They report, we decide) for the real truth. The likes of NBC, ABC and CBS, like WGN, are out of touch with reality and appear to only report items that would not offend or hurt one of their core constituency groups.

If there is a Dawn Tongish type reporter in Chicago who wants to do what is right, will he or she please stand up and report this abuse? The days of not covering a story of such magnitude because of the negative side effects by a constituency group has to cease. If there is a vestige of credibility out there in press land, where is it?

Under the covers vs. undercover--where is today's press?

 

* Nedd Kareiva is an activist for social conservative issues and lives in the Chicago area. He can be reached via e-mail at: punnedd@toast.net

 

Note: Commentaries may not necessarily reflect the view of Republicans For Fair Media’s management.

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