CNN again failed to report on Thompson's inconsistent abortion record


On the September 11 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, senior political analyst Bill Schneider aired Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson's statement that "[m]y record is -- eight years in the Senate -- was 100-percent record against abortion or anything related to it." Schneider did not note, however, that Thompson has reportedly taken inconsistent positions on abortion during his political career. As Media Matters for America has noted (here and here), CNN has repeatedly failed to mention Thompson's earlier reported statements in support of abortion rights.

A 1993 Memphis Commercial Appeal article and documents at Thompson's Senate archives at the University of Tennessee show that Thompson previously spoke in favor of abortion rights, articulating a view apparently at odds with his current opposition to Roe v. Wade. The Appeal reported on July 29, 1993, that Thompson said during an interview that he "supports the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision that established a constitutional right to abortion." Further, The New York Sun's "Latest Politics Blog" reported that Thompson indicated in a 1994 Project Vote Smart questionnaire that he believed "[a]bortions should be legal in all circumstances as long as the procedure is completed within the first trimester of the pregnancy" (while also indicating his support for numerous restrictions).

From the September 11 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the Situation Room.

You might say the former actor Fred Thompson is playing the part of a villain when it comes to Rudy Giuliani's presidential support. Right now, he's stealing some of the spotlight from the former New York City mayor.

Joining us now is our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

Now that Fred Thompson, Bill, is in the race, that race is being shaken up quite a bit, at least according to our new poll numbers.

SCHNEIDER: That's right, Wolf. The Republican race is beginning to take on a recognizable shape, and it looks like it's going to be a humdinger.


[begin video clip]

SCHNEIDER: The poll shows Thompson leading among men, Giuliani among women. Thompson is ahead among Republicans over 50, Giuliani among those under 50. Thompson's on top with conservatives, Giuliani with moderates.

Thompson also has the edge among evangelical Republicans and especially among his fellow Southerners. That's where Thompson's made the biggest gains and where he's getting the most enthusiastic reception -- men, older voters, conservatives, evangelicals, Southerners -- sounds like the Republican base is tilting toward Thompson.

THOMPSON: My record is -- eight years in the Senate -- was 100-percent record against abortion or anything related to it.

SCHNEIDER: What does Giuliani have to compete with that? 9-11.

SAM PULIA (cousin of 9-11 victim): I particularly like Rudy Giuliani. I think he did a hell of a job that day under enormous stress.

SCHNEIDER: But Thompson's not going to concede the terror issue.

THOMPSON: The whole world watches and waits as the determination of the American people is tested.

[end video clip]


BLITZER: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks for the good work.

Posted In
Health Care, Reproductive Rights
Bill Schneider, Wolf Blitzer
The Situation Room
2008 Elections
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