Christchurch-based anti-abortion group Right to Life has rightly taken offence at biased reportage in the Sunday Star-Times.
The first paragraph of the story, by Marika Hill, read: "Anti-abortionists are taking aim at the charity status of the Family Planning Association in their latest assault against women and pro-choice organisations."
The story was a legitimate one about Right to Life's questioning of the FPA's charity status (Right to Life president Ken Orr says the association breached its status by lobbying the government for the decriminalisation of abortion) and there was nothing exceptionable about the neutral headline, Family Planning Association's charity status comes under fire.
What was inexcusable was the phrase "latest assault against women", which introduced blatantly ideological rhetoric into a story masquerading as straight news.
Either the phrase was ideologically motivated or it was extraordinarily sloppy journalism. I suspect the former, since the reporter's previous stories suggest she has been captured by the pro-abortion lobby. Either way, it should never have survived the editing process.
Quite apart from the implicit ideological bias, the reference to an "assault against women" is wildly misleading. It implies that the interests of all women are aligned with those of the Family Planning Association (try telling that to some of the women I know) and comes straight from the feminist propaganda handbook.
I don't know who edits the Sunday Star-Times these days - I get the impression the editor's office has a revolving door - but whoever it is should exercise tighter control over content if he or she values the paper's credibility.