Doug LaMalfa’s fail

Enterprising reporter catches him on false statement

As we’re seeing these days, political candidates lie. Not all of them; many just spin the facts to favor themselves. But a lot simply lie. Which means it’s up to journalists to know when they’re lying and call them on it.

With that in mind, we want to compliment Mark Mester, a news reporter for KRCR-TV in Redding. On Sept. 10, Mester covered a Tea Party-sponsored debate there between the two local candidates for Congress, Republican Doug LaMalfa and Democrat Jim Reed. The debate covered many subjects, but Mester was particularly intrigued when LaMalfa claimed that women who have abortions are more likely to get cancer.

In a follow-up interview, Mester asked LaMalfa whether he stood by his statement. LaMalfa said he did.

“Research has shown there is that higher level of incidence, there is that risk, and so I would want women to be fully informed of all the aspects of it before they would make a decision like that,” LaMalfa told Mester. “I think that shows more care for women than by simply shuffling them off to an abortion mill….”

Mester could have left it at that, but he didn’t. Back in the studio, he did some research and, as he subsequently reported, discovered that the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and both the American and Royal Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say abortions do not lead to cancer.

The next day LaMalfa’s campaign sent out a correction saying he was misinformed and was relying on information he remembered reading several years ago. (It said nothing, however, about his condescending comment about “shuffling them off to an abortion mill,” as if women were livestock.)

Was LaMalfa lying or just ignorant? It’s hard to say, but both are bad. A candidate for Congress, the highest lawmaking body in the land, should know whereof he speaks, especially on a controversial subject like abortion. Kudos to Mester for showing LaMalfa’s fail.