More Hard-Hitting Journalism from “Slate”

This morning I ran across one of those articles that manages to be both frustrating and (unintentionally) hilarious. And also kind of revealing.

I’ll be addressing it in block quotes, but you can read the original piece on Slate.

The author’s primary complaint seems to be that the successful film “It’s a Girl” – a documentary about the horrific practice of sex-selective abortions in China and India – was directed by someone with…*wait for it*…religious and pro-life connections. Since the film isn’t heavy-handedly “pro-life” in its approach, it’s being screened by a number of prominent feminist and pro-choice organizations.

“How did this happen? How did a movie linked to a pro-life group become the darling of the pro-choice community? The story involves clever disguises on the part of financing sources that managed to hide their involvement and pass off a movie about the horrors of sex-selection abortions as just a sympathetic movie about the plight of women in India and China.  And the pro-life message is subtle enough that they got away with it.”

It’s often said that pro-life and pro-choice activists should compromise by keeping abortion legal and simultaneously working together to reduce its prevalence and abuses. (Trent Horn correctly points out that this isn’t really a compromise at all. “Compromise entails two sides giving up parts of their position in order to reach a middle ground. This is just asking pro-life advocates to give up fighting for the unborn child’s right-to-live.”) Yet, ironically, a documentary that manages to achieve broad appeal across the pro-choice/pro-life spectrum is being attacked here simply because it was created by someone who is pro-life.

The author discovered this insidious pro-life connection by doing some online detective work (i.e. googling a few names).

“I finally searched the owners of the domain name associated with the film’s official production company. The domain name of Shadowline Films is registered to Evan Davis of Tucson, Ariz., (the same name as the filmmaker except without the middle name). Only after searching for ‘Evan Davis Tucson Arizona’ was I able to discover that Davis is also the media director of Harvest Media Ministry, and the domain name of that company is also registered to Evan Davis of Tucson…Among its portfolio of works, the website features a video describing ‘unborn children’ as ’46 million people who will be killed this year.'”

(Nice use of scare quotes, right?)

“On the website of Harvest Media, Evan Davis’ biography proclaims that his ‘passion is to equip those who are called to bring the hope and light of Jesus Christ to the world through the provision of strategic media communication tools and storytelling methods.’ Yet on his Facebook page that is associated with the film, under his religious views, he states that ‘it’s against my relationship to have a religion.'”

…which is an extremely common expression in many evangelical circles. But to her credit, the author did manage to sort out this apparent contradiction by interviewing Mr. Davis. He explained: “I don’t identify myself with a denominational group. But I believe in God. My faith is a factor in what motivates me in wanting to help people around the world and never tried to hide that.”

“Yet the film’s press kit does not mention his affiliation with Harvest Media Ministry and describes him as a ‘social justice advocate’ who writes videos and directs educational documentaries ‘championing the causes of the poor and exploited.'”

(Since, you know, these things are clearly incompatible with being religious and pro-life.)

“Why go to such efforts to hide the fact that Evan Davis aka Evan Grae Davis has also worked for a company that creates videos on behalf of faith-based groups to promote their interpretations of the teachings of Jesus Christ?”

Wow, this guy was even using an alias! Sometimes he used his middle name, and sometimes he didn’t. What a scumbag. Fortunately, efforts to hide his connection with Harvest Media Ministry were no match for this author’s unstoppable search engine skillz.

“When I asked Davis about this, he said that there was no ulterior motive in his failure to disclose his affiliation with Harvest Media Ministry and said he no longer works for the organization even though his biography is still on their website.”

Caught. Red. Handed.

“Pro-life groups have in recent years begun using the practice of sex-selective abortion—a practice that is rare in the United States—in foreign countries as an excuse for limiting women’s access to abortion here at home. A bill was recently filed in the North Carolina legislature to ban sex-selective abortion, and a similar bill was defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives last year. Although no one supports sex-selective abortion, pro-choice groups correctly worry that such laws could be misused to restrict abortion more broadly.”

Wait…”no one” supports sex-selective abortion? Clearly some people do, or they wouldn’t be happening.

“Regardless of what Davis’ goal is in making the movie, it is clear that efforts have been made to hide any affiliation with Harvest Media Ministry. In fact, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a partner organization for which the film’s official website seeks donations, and whose founder features prominently in the film is also part of a coalition that seeks to ban sex-selection abortion in the United States.”

Yeah, you read that right. It turns out that the director of a documentary exposing the “tragic practice of sex-selection abortions” (<< the author’s words, not mine) is, in fact, in cahoots with an organization that seeks to ban sex-selective abortions in the United States.

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3 thoughts on “More Hard-Hitting Journalism from “Slate”

  1. Thanks, Matt, I think you really summed it up. I almost laughed when I read the article. It seems the real story here is the author’s obvious personal bias. Since when does being Christian disqualify one from making a non-religous film calling for the end of a major human rights violation? Appreciate you taking this on.

    • Hey, great to hear from you. So far I’ve only seen the trailer, but your film looks fantastic! I’ll definitely be checking it out when it comes to DVD.

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