Daily Pennsylvanian Bungles “Students For Life” Report

Early this morning, the Daily Pennsylvanian published a story on Wharton sophomore Eric Hoover’s intentions to start a pro-life organization on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus.

The Statesman published a comprehensive report on the subject yesterday, following Hoover’s announcement on the Penn Class of 2019 Facebook page. Our story included a profile of Hoover, his stance on the hot-button issue, statements from other pro-life students at Penn, and the opposing side’s arguments as well.

In contrast, we at The Statesman consider the Daily Pennsylvanian article to be a clear violation of journalistic integrity. Their coverage displays overwhelming bias against Penn’s pro-life community, blatantly misquotes Eric Hoover in his statements, and frames pro-life viewpoints as being isolated and delusional.

In the report, Hoover is quoted as saying, “Rape is a horrific act of violence… possibly the worst crime imaginable. I don’t think that you’re not going to solve the act of violence like that with another act of violence.”

As heard in the audio clip of his statement, the Daily Pennsylvanian added an extra “not” (i.e. “I don’t think you’re not going to solve…”) which inserted a double-negative, making him sound confused and uneducated.

The DP’s struggles to successfully transcribe audio are nothing new. In February, they misquoted an audio recording of former presidential candidate, Marco Rubio, in order to make the conservative Senator sound as if he remarked that the Bible did “not [contain] many answers” – despite, in the same breath, describing it as a “good book.”

Their latest misleading transcription bolsters the overall impression created by the article that Hoover is alone in his views, and that holding any opinion, other than a pro-choice view, points to a lack of education. The only other statements reported by the Daily Pennsylvanian come from clearly pro-choice students and faculty at Penn.

Carol Tracy, executive director of the Women’s Law Project and lecturer in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies department, was quoted extensively in the story, saying that she was “opposed as anyone towards the pro-life agenda.” Lea Eisenstein, a sophomore in the College, was also quoted, saying that Hoover’s position “shows a fundamental ignorance of the emotional and physical toll of pregnancy on women, especially when it is brought about by force.”

We at The Statesman would like to point out the Daily Pennsylvanian’s failure to place Eisenstein’s comments in their proper context. She made a satirical Facebook post suggesting that a “Students for Forced Sterilization of Misogynists” organization be created. She also referred to pro-life students as “adolescent men.” Other similarly incendiary remarks were abundant in the replies to Hoover’s original Facebook post, but the Daily Pennsylvanian glossed over them with an offhand reference to “swift backlash.”

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The Statesman does not have an official position on the controversial abortion debate. Many of our staff writers are pro-life and many are not. The thoughts and feelings of the Daily Pennsylvanian seem apparent though in this article. Maintaining journalistic integrity, while making your biases clear, is a mark of good journalism. We at The Statesman think that the Daily Pennsylvanian failed on this front in their profile of Students for Life.

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