In media news today, Chris Hayes downplays Biden’s phone call with ex-Afghanistan president Ghani, ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather gets crushed for tweet comparing pro-lifers to the Taliban, and an MSNBC analyst likens the Texas abortion law to slavery
The media meltdown over a Texas law banning abortions after six weeks stretched into its second day with no end in sight Thursday, with analysts comparing the measure to slavery, terrorism, and the end times.
The Texas Heartbeat Act, or SB 8, not only bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, but it gives individuals the right to sue abortion clinics or those who help women obtain abortions in the state. Groups challenged the constitutionality of SB 8, but the Supreme Court rejected an attempt to halt the measure. As a result, news networks spent much of Wednesday and Thursday morning predicting disaster for women.
“The dark dystopian undertones of this just cannot be overstated,” CNN’s Alisyn Camerota commented Wednesday.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin shared Camerota’s doomsday predictions, saying Wednesday that it looked like the “sky is falling” after the law went into effect.
“There are five justices…who seem like solid votes to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Toobin said. “We’ve been accused, those of us saying that Roe is about to be overturned as being Chicken Little, the sky is falling, the sky is falling. We’ll see, because it certainly looks like the sky is falling now.”
MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid was one of several media figures to suggest Texas had just become a scene out “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a popular Hulu show depicting a totalitarian regime that treats women as property.
Harvard Law School professor and columnist Laurence Tribe suggested the Lone Star State had turned back not only on women’s abortion rights but racial progress.
“Texas turned back the clock not just 50 years to Roe v Wade (1973) but nearly 140 years to the enactment of the KKK Act (1883),” he wrote.
“Who is gonna invade Texas to liberate women and girls,” the Washington Post’s Karen Attiah asked, in one of numerous references by liberal media members to Afghanistan.
MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Vance also said the lawsuit provision of new law was akin to slave bounties. She deleted the tweet and admitted it was a “bad take,” but later declared that the law was unconstitutional for “violating Supreme Court precedent.”
The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof criticized the measure by offering pro-life conservatives some unsolicited advice.
“To conservatives gleeful at the Texas law: The most effective way to reduce abortions isn’t a ban but help with contraception,” Kristof tweeted. “The advanced country with the lowest abortion rate is the Netherlands, which allows abortion but also provides comprehensive sex ed & family planning.”
Plenty of others attacked pro-life supporters of the measure, including ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather, who made a not-so-subtle comparison to the Taliban.
“It’s worth noting that many of the same people attacking the Biden Administration for leaving women’s rights behind in Afghanistan are eager to control women’s bodies and choices in the United States,” Rather tweeted.
In fact, Rather was one of several people to make the Taliban analogy, including Dolly Parton’s sister.
Opinion writer Sophia A. Nelson helped keep the analogy alive by including the hashtag #TexasTaliban in their tweets.
Some networks even appeared to sacrifice airtime of the crisis in Afghanistan in favor of coverage of the abortion law, despite the fact that Americans are still stranded in the country. “CBS Evening News,” for instance, ignored the military withdrawal Wednesday, but spent two minutes and 15 seconds of coverage on the abortion measure.
President Joe Biden condemned the Supreme Court ruling on the abortion ban on Thursday, calling it an “unprecedented assault” on women’s rights.