12 August, 2009
If you don't like the news, make up some of your own
The hotline, "Abortion: More Information, Fewer Risks" has been running sucessfully for two weeks. Many messages of support have come in, and almost no calls criticizing the initiative. However, organizations that are against the hotline have decided to publish some "news" that is more to their liking. They are publishing false reports of having blocked the hotline on affiliated blogs.
Those answering the hotline were quite surprised to see a series of articles come out in online anti-abortion blogs, stating that "activists" against abortion had blocked the hotline, and that those calling would be directed to voicemail, and were then told that the mailbox is full. It is true that the hotline is ringing off the hook, but with calls from people seeking help.
It has been surprising for the hotline that there has been almost a total absence of calls criticizing the initiative. Therefore, when they saw the articles aleging that the hotline had been blocked by some anti-abortion boycott, it seemed like a joke. In the article it states that callers are directed to voicemail and told that the mailbox is full. However, although the number of messages coming is high, this seems unlikely (women needing help can send text messages and they will be called back). We can only imagine that they took the idea of do-it-yourself journalism a little too far.
Luckily, this week an article came out in the nationally distributed newspaper Pagina 12, that followed the first rule of journalism - talk to the source. In the article, it talks about the number of calls coming in, and from where, and interviews the hotline spokesperson and the president of the Argentine chapter of Medicos del Mundo (Doctors of the World), who is a supporter of the hotline.