I don't know who I'm madder at, USA Today or myself.
Last week USA Today editorial writer Louise Branson e-mailed me a request to:
... write a short piece for us about the regulation of fertility clinics in the aftermath of the octuplets scandal, and praising the proposed GA legislation as the standard that should be set nationwide. The piece would need to be around 350 words. It would be an opposing view to our editorial that would warn against the kind of regulation that brings anti-abortion politics into the issue.
"Absolutely," I responded. With a pro-abortion audience in mind, I wrote a piece explaining the harm of egg harvesting to women, the vast number of human embryos killed throughout the in vitro fertilization process, and how human embryo research proponents use the "leftover" embryos excuse to push their agenda. I closed by describing common sense regulations.
I received this response:
Sorry to be a pain, but could I get you to re-do it a bit.... We were hoping to see a piece that would... say the best way to prevent another Suleman case would be to limit the number of embryos that could be implanted and also define an embryo as a person.... We would be less interested in all the medical details as our debate is on how best to regulate fertility clinics.
I was taken aback. USA Today was telling me how and what to write? I responded...
Continue reading, "How USA Today used me (and I let it)," at WorldNetDaily.com.
It's amazing to me how far liberals will go to make sure that arguments are easier for them to "refute".
If one can't argue their position without changing the oppositions argument yourself, that's sad. What a bunch of phonies.
I thought your original sounded great, Jill. I'm sorry they didn't use it. I hope that everyone who reads USA today will come to your site and see what was done.Posted by: Bethany at March 25, 2009 6:28 AM
PBHO is starting to remind me of Snoop Dog as the pilot in the movie 'Soul Plane'.
Compeletely unprepared by experience or training for the job he has been selected to do by someone who is at least equal in incompetence. And then there is the pilot's phobia of heights.
The 'peter principle' states that a person will rise to his highest level of incompetence. BHO is an 'overchiever who has the ability to charm where he lacks ability.
'If you can't dazzle with brilliance, baffle them with bovine scatulation.'
60 Minutes' Steve Kroft to PBHO, "Are you punch drunk?"
yor bro kenPosted by: kbhvac at March 25, 2009 6:48 AM
We learn slow and we forget quick.
This is the way todays excuse for 'journalism' works, especially when it deals with emotionlly laden issues. The 'journalists' has an idea for a story with a pre-conceived and preferred conclusion. The the 'journalist' goes quote shopping, choosing only those quotes which fit her/his predilections.
This is the way in which the 'MSM' operates today. They have gone all the way from 'observable bias' to advocacy.
Thank goodness the 'traditional new outlets' are going broke. People are seeing less and less value in their product.
The financially strapped New York Times announced they are selling their corporate.
Only problem with that is:
Who wants a plane with two left wings?
yor bro kenPosted by: kbhvac at March 25, 2009 7:03 AM
Jill, I can understand todays's column. Because of the experience of having vital content edited, I have a strong preference for live interviews.
I've refused taped interviews on national news in order to dodge similar problems.
Don't let 'em paint you into a corner. Some of the craftier ones might be editing with the purpose of causing internal prolife discord. They've been doing it to the republicans. Watch for that.Posted by: KB at March 25, 2009 7:13 AM
The financially strapped New York Times announced they are selling their corporate jet.
Only problem with that is:
Who wants a plane with two left wings?
yor bro kenPosted by: kbhvac at March 25, 2009 7:32 AM
Posted by: kbhvac at March 25, 2009 7:32 AM
Now that was good!Posted by: Kristen at March 25, 2009 7:53 AM
Posted by: kbhvac at March 25, 2009 7:32 AM
Kind of explains why they keep going round in circles!Posted by: Chris Arsenault at March 25, 2009 8:03 AM
No anonymous comments please.Posted by: Carla at March 25, 2009 8:52 AM
Freedom of the Press?
Ha!!!!Posted by: HisMan at March 25, 2009 8:57 AM
Well done on your USA Today cover.
I think you put it beautifully and I was especially refreshed by your openness. Most of all, you sum up the lessons to be learned elegantly.
I think you - or should I say, love - won in the end.
Don’t beat yourself up. Been there, done that. You were in the classic conundrum of “if I don’t write it, they’ll find someone, perhaps (likely) less qualified, to write it anyway.”
As you quickly learned, it is about manipulating the debate. I judge parliamentary debate, my daughter teaches some 200 home school kids parli-debate each year.
In Parli, the “government” has the advantage (as opposed to “Cross X”, where the opp has the advantage) due to the fact(s) that the actual topic is not known until the government defines it, and BECAUSE the GOVERNMENT defines actual topic.
Useless Today did that to YOU. THEY defined the debate in narrow terms to fit their editorial policy, then tied your hands behind your back by playing both “debater” and “judge”.
I have long said that the media would tank if everyone had to submit to an interview, and then have it published after editing. Oh, the media IS tanking….
Keep up the GREAT work, and forgive yourself. You did the right thing, and thank goodness (God) that you have an outlet to get the complete truth out to those who will seek it.Posted by: Brad H. at March 25, 2009 9:11 AM
Brad, Anthony, thanks for your kind words.
I did what I could today to fix the mess I played a part in creating. I still feel bad, but I've prayed, and I'm trying to let it go now.Posted by: Jill Stanek at March 25, 2009 9:13 AM
My gut told me something was wrong with this entire scenario, but I thought offering something good as opposed to excellent was better than offering nothing at all.
I'd say your gut was right. As G.K. Chesterton once said, "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly."
Did USA Today use you? Yes. But you also used them...to get the pro-life message out to the extent that you could, under the circumstances.
I'm still of the opinion that any publicity is good publicity.Posted by: John Jansen at March 25, 2009 9:14 AM
The MSM is run by pro-abortion liberals. They have an agenda, they are the enemy. They should not be trusted.Posted by: Jasper at March 25, 2009 9:55 AM
I'm still of the opinion that any publicity is good publicity.
Posted by: John Jansen at March 25, 2009 9:14 AM
Probably not a great day to bring fence-sitters to the blog if that's what this publicity means.Posted by: asitis at March 25, 2009 10:13 AM
I am mad that they tell you what to write in YOUR op ed piece. This is just ridiculous news writing. What about being open to the other side of an opinion? Isn't that what REAL journalists do.Posted by: lovethemboth at March 25, 2009 10:27 AM
Jill, I read your comments regularly online. I never even look at USA Today.
I appreciate what you are doing for the rights of the born and unborn and support you wholeheartedly. I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded, but the red flag should have gone up with the first attempt to get you to rework your article. About 4 red flags should have been flappin in the wind with the final attempt.
Why even bother when you know they are going to edit, twist, turn what you write. It’s like an edited video. I wouldn’t give these people the time of day, let alone write an article for them. I know from personal experience in the pro-life arena, voicing opinion, even when backed by Scripture, can lead to misinterpretation and division. Why let it happen in the enemy’s camp?
God bless you as you learn important lessons in your journey to speak for the defenseless who cannot speak for themselves.Posted by: Joan P. at March 25, 2009 10:44 AM
John, 9:14a: That's what I thought. I'll never know if the better road to take was to hold out for all or nothing at all, but that's what I thought.
Joan, This was indeed a learning experience. I won’t cave like this again, although I will continue to respond to requests such as this to get our message out to those who will hear. I never mind speaking to MSM. We have to engage. I just have to learn better HOW not to get spun.Posted by: Jill Stanek at March 25, 2009 10:47 AM
Jill, I agree with others. Don't beat yourself up. Your column was clear and stated your views well. (the original was better, yes) All in all, it advanced your argument.Posted by: Hal at March 25, 2009 11:32 AM
I'm so proud of you.
Your column shows you know nothing about reproductive endocrinology. To achieve a a live birth it is necessary to create more embryos than can be transfered at a time. This enables the doctors to choose the ones most likely to implant. This is safer for the women involved. It costs over $10,000 per cycle and women must be injected a lot of hormones. This is why it is so vital to maximize the chance of creating healthy embryos each time. If doctos couldn't fertilize all the healthy eggs more women would need to go back for addition cycles. Egg freezing helps with this problem. Draconian regulations such as those in Germany and Italy have crippled reproductive medicine there. The U.S. has the most effective IVF industry in the world. That is why so many people come here. Ignorant politicians have no place messing with that. Also, if you did know anything about reproductive endocrinology, you would know high order multiples are almost always the result of fertility drugs...not IVF!Posted by: Kate at March 25, 2009 11:35 AM
Here is what people who actually know a thing or two about IVF have to say about such regulation:Posted by: Kate at March 25, 2009 11:42 AM
Kate: "Your column shows you know nothing about reproductive endocrinology. To achieve a a live birth it is necessary to create more embryos than can be transfered at a time. This enables the doctors to choose the ones most likely to implant."
Admitedly I do not know much about the IVF debate, but I have to call you out on this piece of BS. How can it be "necessary" when the only result is to produce a selection of embryos "most likely" to implant? That implies that the first embryo could in fact be the most likely to implant and therefore it would NOT be necessary to create more. Furthermore, when does natural pregnancy give the option of choosing the best circumstances for implantation?
You made the point that as the result of a failed implantation, which in itself is not substantial, the potential mother would need to undergo dangerous hormonal treatment and be forced to pay an additional sum of money. Your argument is that the creation of superflous embryos is justified by this. Essentially you are again putting the LIFE of a preborn against the DISCOMFORT of the mother.
If it is indeed necessary to create lives only to allow them to be abused then this operation should not be legal in any format, period. If it is NOT necessary, which logically it is not, and the only risk of repeated attempts at implantation is the risk to the mother both physically and financially, then this risk is the price the mother must pay to become impregnated. If she does not want to pay this price, then she can just not become pregnant. She does not have the right to hurt other humans to achieve her desires.
I dont see why that basic moral axiom is so hard to apply for some people....Posted by: Oliver at March 25, 2009 12:27 PM
The more eggs fertilized the greater chance of pregnancy. The embryos that are not transfered the fist time can be transfered in a another cycle. This makes the process safer and more effective. It is pointless to make a woman go through the risks of another retrieval when freezing is available. Any government legislation that wants to hinder this procedure should pay for it or leave medical decisions to doctors and patients.
...leave medical decisions to doctors and patients.
Posted by: Kate at March 25, 2009 12:42 PM
I don't see why that basic moral axiom is so hard to apply for some people....Posted by: Hal at March 25, 2009 12:56 PM
"...leave medical decisions to doctors and patients. Posted by: Kate at March 25, 2009 12:42 PM I don't see why that basic moral axiom is so hard to apply for some people.... "
Well Hal, it's question begging as to what defines a medical decision. We are arguing that it is an issue of morality, and if one simply asserts that it is a medical decision, then there is nothing left to discuss.Posted by: Bobby Bambino at March 25, 2009 1:04 PM
God job on your part Jill. I have done several interviews and had write ups in the wall street journal and they did not look like the carefully chosen use of words i gave them.
It is like they decide on a story and go get quotes and change them to fit the point they are trying to make.Posted by: xppc at March 25, 2009 1:20 PM
What did you expect - It's USA Today - America's Favorite Hotel Newspaper that no one ever readsPosted by: Yo La Tengo at March 25, 2009 1:25 PM
Bobby, I understand. I was just replying to Oliver's point. He implied the analysis was simple and there was a clear answer.Posted by: Hal at March 25, 2009 1:26 PM
I guess the ellipses confuse me, but it seems as though USA Today is saying they still want you to define an embryo as a person, and then they would print that. Isn't that a victory for the pro-life cause, to get that info in a popular newspaper? Maybe I totally read it wrong, who knows :) I barely slept last night so I'm foggy!Posted by: AM at March 25, 2009 3:05 PM
Jill, you went David to Goliath and came out mostly unscathed. The message you intended in full was not available, but at least some of it got out. It is in God's hands now to use your words in His way to spread His message of life and hope.
Don't beat yourself up too badly. It happens. At the very least, if someone googles your name they can be led to WND or here where they can find the full information.Posted by: Elisabeth at March 25, 2009 4:42 PM
Truth has value. Truth is respected. Truth is on a pedestal, unless you are on the left where truth is secondary or worse because every liberal knows truth can be stomped and beaten and trampled into whatever is needed.
Truth is a joke to the MSM. They laugh at goofy conservatives searching for the truth. Even if something is "true," they warp it and twist it and distort it. Now the worst scum get rich producing documentaries that intentionally leave out key bits of information so that the popular but wrong conclusion is arrived at.
Liberals are following the most fashionable dope off the cliff.
My heart goes out to you. You say it so well, make it so clear; no one can misunderstand. They don't get it only because it doesn't sound enough like what their friends are nodding their heads to.Posted by: pneale at March 26, 2009 8:10 AM
If doctos couldn't fertilize all the healthy eggs more women would need to go back for addition cycles. Egg freezing helps with this problem.
Posted by: Kate at March 25, 2009 11:35 AM
Guess what: I know quite a bit about reproductive technology. Maybe not as much as you, but plenty.
No one is talking about egg freezing here. In fact, I'm guessing that everyone here can agree that egg freezing would be far better than pre-embryo freezing. The woman could be induced to create many eggs, then most could be frozen while some are fertilized (say, 3). Those three could be transferred. Then there wouldn't be extra pre-embryos around, and they wouldn't need to be disposed of or tortured.
Of course, you didn't really mean egg, I imagine-- you just slipped up. Either you meant to say "fertilized eggs" (which even if it does apply to a zygote (debatable) does not apply to an eight-celled human) or you meant to say embryo. Or perhaps you were deliberately confusing the issue?
Why wouldn't they simply freeze eggs rather than babies? If they haven't figured it out, why aren't they working more on it?
From stories I've heard, it's not always the best-looking embryos that make it. Doctors don't know everything.
If IVF is so harmful, why do women do it at all? Why not just adopt or adopt another frozen embryo? The truth is that the procedure is unnecessary, so the fact is that a woman does not "need to go back for additional cycles." And if you only need 3 eggs, you aren't going to need near as much of the dangerous hormones, are you?
And I, as a layperson, can see a very obvious flaw in the way IVF is done:
Instead of giving her contraceptive hormones which also thin the endometrium, why not work within her natural cycle and transfer the embryos when a naturally conceived child would be about to implant?Posted by: YCW at March 26, 2009 9:03 AM
Jill, I just read your explanation of the USA Today thing on World Net Daily. (I don't read USA Today, but read WND almost daily.)
Thanks for your efforts as well as the honest assessment of mistakes made. It's hard bucking a stacked deck - and USA Today kept restacking it.Posted by: Daniel W. at March 26, 2009 9:52 AM
I meant fertilized eggs. Freezing unfertilized eggs is a very new technology, so it is more effective to freeze embryos. They can be transfered during later cycles. As for adopting, it is not the same as having a biological child and is very expensive with long waiting lists. Adoption is not a cure for infertility. As for adopting someone else's embryo, there just aren't than many up for adoption and the success rate is low.Posted by: Kate at March 26, 2009 10:40 AM
Kate, there is no such thing as a "fertilized egg". Once egg and sperm meet they become a completely new organism.
Those are people you're freezing. Not fertilized eggs.Posted by: Elisabeth at March 26, 2009 3:52 PM
"I meant fertilized eggs. Freezing unfertilized eggs is a very new technology, so it is more effective to freeze embryos."
Use your words carefully. Words mean things.
No one here cares if a woman wants to do IVF and some eggs are damaged. Many people care greatly about her human children. If the technology exists to freeze eggs, it should be used. Some embryos die in the freezing/thawing process; is the success rate worse with eggs?
You can experiment with freezing eggs 'til the cows come home, and I'm fine with it.
"As for adopting, it is not the same as having a biological child and is very expensive with long waiting lists. Adoption is not a cure for infertility. As for adopting someone else's embryo, there just aren't than many up for adoption and the success rate is low."
I never said adopting was the same as having a biological child; I said it was an alternative. The truth is that IVF isn't a need. Women do not have a need or a right to have children, let alone biological children. So it is misleading to say that women who get IVF need to come back for more cycles if the first cycle doesn't work. The reason there aren't many up for adoption is because your industry would rather encourage women to kill their children or have them destroyed for science. And the success rates are pretty low for IVF too.
There are lots of instances where it's harder or more expensive to preserve life. Most of the time, actually. We do it anyway. You would not argue, I presume, that we should stop doing everything that is more expensive than the alternative, especially when lives are at stake. It's a lot more efficient not to have speed limits--people will get where they are going faster, and less policemen would be required. Sure, it would cause some more deaths, but that's what happens. Some people will die anyway; what's a few more? It's a lot more efficient to start out with human subjects in trials of new drugs and procedures. Sure, some will die, but the public will have access to those medicines and operations sooner. Besides, animal trials don't tell us as much as human trials anyway.
Oddly enough, abortion is one of the few instances where (at least in the short run) preserving life is cheaper. Do you apply the cost effectiveness algorithm there?Posted by: YCW at March 27, 2009 2:41 PM
if the case with USA Today is how you described it, then I would strongly recommed you to find a good attorney to deal with your case, they cannot publish an article and use your name when it is not your article and you did not give them permission. I would not leave it just so. It is a fraud and they need to be held accountable for it. Dont let them get away with it. Good luck! You make a good job.