New York Times, please define "drawn into debate"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

It seems the Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg is inventing news hooks again. Today, it's about how Obama is allegedly being "drawn into" a controversial debate about abortion. That, despite the fact that Obama himself pretty much hasn't said boo about the topic since taking office. But that's does stop Stolberg from constructing her narrative of choice--the White House is fighting an abortion war!

Times headline:

On Abortion, Obama Is Drawn Into Debate He Hoped to Avoid

Here's the breathless thrust of the article:

Now, Mr. Obama is suddenly in the thick of the battle he had hoped to transcend, and his delicate balancing act is being put to the test. The confluence of two events — his commencement speech on Sunday at the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, and his forthcoming choice of a candidate to replace Justice David H. Souter, who is retiring from the Supreme Court — threaten to upend Mr. Obama's effort to "tamp down some of the anger" over abortion, as he said in a news conference last month, and to distract from his other domestic priorities, like health care.

Now, in order to be 'drawn into debate," doesn't that mean that Obama has to, y'know, actively engage in the topic of abortion? Doesn't that mean there has to be some back-and-forth between Obama and those who disagree with him on the issue of abortion? Meaning, doesn't Obama have to say something about abortion in order for there to be a debate? Not at the Times. Or at least not according to Stolberg's approach.

Yet note this passage/concession regarding the ND kerfuffle:

The White House must now decide whether to engage in the debate and, if so, how deeply.

In truth, the White House hasn't even engaged in the abortion debate, yet Stolberg writes an entire article about how the White House has been "drawn into" the abortion debate; how Obama is "suddenly in the thick of the battle."

Nifty trick.

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