CNN and MSNBC Stereotype Pro-Lifers as Possible Terrorists

On Wednesday, both CNN and MSNBC raised the specter of past bombings against abortion clinics during their coverage of an Arkansas doctor who was critically injured in an apparent car bombing. During CNN's Newsroom program, anchor Rick Sanchez asked former DC police detective Mike Brooks if the injured physician was an “abortion doctor.” He replied, “No, no. That was the first thing I thought.” Earlier in the afternoon on MSNBC, correspondent Pete Williams noted how the victim was “a family doctor” and was “not providing controversial medical procedures like abortions.”

Sanchez's comments came at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Sanchez first outlined how local police had initially reported the incident, which occurred earlier in the day, as being a mechanical problem with the car, and how they revised it to being a possible bombing. The anchor raised his “abortion doctor” question after Brooks, a frequent guest on Sanchez's program, gave more details into the investigation.

SANCHEZ: Is he an abortion doctor?

BROOKS: No, no. That was the first thing I thought. It was -- apparently, just a general practitioner. In fact, he's even the personal physician to the chief of police there  -- in town. So, you know, and they said he doesn't have any enemies -- you know, he's a pillar of the community. But what they're going to do -- he is chairman of the Arkansas medical board, so was there a ruling? Was there something involved in that –

It is careless, to say the least, to bring up the issue of abortion just because the victim of the bombing is a doctor. This kind of speculation on the part of Sanchez, Brooks, and Williams only helps to perpetuate the left-wing stereotype that pro-life activists are bunch of violent extremists. On the other hand, the mainstream media is much more hesitant in bringing up the possibility of Islamist involvement with other instances of terrorism.

—Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.