A 10 year-old girl was raped and forced to travel across state lines to get an abortion. But some people don't want this to be reported, a reaction guaranteed to summon the internet's most dismal personae: Fact Checkers and Editorial Boards. Among those going out on a limb to debunk the story were the Washington Post's Glen Kessler and the Wall Street Journal's Editorial Board. The branch snapped underfoot almost immediately, but not before their false criticism of truthful reportage was echoed and amplified by an army of conservative politicians, provocateurs and poseurs.
NiemanLab takes these guys to task, for whatever good it'll do anyone.
An abortion by a 10-year-old is pretty rare," Kessler notes. (Oh, that "by.") "The Columbus Dispatch reported that in 2020, 52 people under the age of 15 received an abortion in Ohio." Definitions of "rare" may vary, but if 52 under-15-year-olds got abortions in Ohio in 2020, that's one a week — and it's just abortions that were reported, during a pandemic when a lot of abortion clinics were closed.
The Post column opened the door to worse takes. "Every day that goes by, the more likely that this is a fabrication. I know the cops and prosecutors in this state. There's not one of them that wouldn't be turning over every rock, looking for this guy and they would have charged him," Ohio attorney general Dave Yost told USA Today's Ohio Network bureau on Tuesday. Picking up on Kessler's "single source" criticism, Yost added, "Shame on the Indianapolis paper that ran this thing on a single source who has an obvious axe to grind." … The Wall Street Journal's editorial board called the episode "An abortion story too good to confirm," as if there was something particularly juicy and delicious about this one (hint: It's her age!)
Support local journalists. They broke this news and then, by breaking more, cleaned the clocks of useless weeklater pundits like Kessler.