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Anniversary of Dobbs Decision: A Comparative Media Analysis

June 22, 2023Simon Moss


Recent media narratives suggest that confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court has reached record lows following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, which overturned the constitutional right to abortion established in the landmark 1973 case of Roe v. Wade. Advocates are also pushing for a right to birth control, but Republicans have been blocking companion bills in the Senate. This article examines the key issues surrounding the decline in Supreme Court confidence and the implications of the Dobbs ruling.

Rolling Updates

Our Kudzu Narrative Intelligence briefs auto-update every few hours with fresh analysis:

Headline Issues

1. Supreme Court Confidence

  • Recent surveys, such as the General Social Survey conducted between May 5, 2022, and Dec. 20, 2022, reveal an alarming 8% decline in overall public confidence in the Supreme Court.
  • The decline in confidence can be attributed to the controversial Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, which overturned the long-standing precedent established in Roe v. Wade.

2. Dobbs v. Jackson and Roe v. Wade

  • The Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case played a pivotal role in the decline of confidence in the Supreme Court.
  • By overturning the constitutional right to abortion affirmed in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court sparked widespread concern and backlash among advocates and the general public.

3. Right to Birth Control

  • In the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, advocates are now focusing on securing a right to birth control in various states across the country.
  • Thirteen states and the District of Columbia already have protections for the right to birth control, as per the research organization KFF.
  • However, Republicans in the Senate are blocking companion bills that aim to solidify this right, leading to a political standoff.

4. Supreme Court Trust and Delayed Decisions

  • The leak of the Dobbs decision last year has resulted in a lack of trust among the justices, potentially causing a slower start and delays in crucial Supreme Court decisions.
  • Four pending decisions are expected to have a profound impact on American life, and court-watchers speculate that the leak may have influenced the justices' decision-making process.

Insights on Top Surfaced Keywords

In our Kudzu Narrative Intelligence Briefs, we analyzed the top surfaced keywords to gain insights into the competing narratives surrounding the Supreme Court, particularly in relation to the Dobbs v. Jackson decision and its impact on reproductive rights. Here is a comparative analysis of the keywords from different categories:

  • Shared Keywords (Appearing in All Sources in U.S. Media):
    • Supreme Court (232)
    • Roe v. Wade (197)
    • Dobbs decision (174)
    • Women's health (138)
    • U.S. Supreme (137)
  • Left-Leaning Keywords (Found only in Left-Leaning in U.S. Media):
    • Supreme Court overturned (41)
    • Donald Trump (40)
    • Clarence Thomas (39)
  • Right-Leaning Keywords (Found only in Right-Leaning in U.S. Media):
    • Supreme Court's decision (19)
    • Decision in Dobbs (17)
    • South Carolina (16)
    • White House (16)

The analysis reveals the following observations:

  • The shared keywords indicate a strong focus on the Supreme Court, the Roe v. Wade ruling, and the Dobbs decision, emphasizing the significance of women's health and the impact on reproductive rights.
  • Left-leaning sources tend to associate the Supreme Court overturning decisions with concerns related to Donald Trump and Justice Clarence Thomas.
  • Right-leaning sources emphasize the Supreme Court's decision and highlight the involvement of the White House and specific states like South Carolina.

These keywords reflect the contrasting narratives surrounding the Supreme Court's role in reproductive rights, with left-leaning sources expressing concerns about conservative influence and right-leaning sources focusing on the court's decision-making process and its alignment with political actors.

Dobbs Decision Anniversary amplification distribution by keyword-dynamics

Insights for Bias in U.S. Media

A comparative analysis of media coverage across political leaning reveals the following numerical differences:

  • Left Bias: With 223 instances, left-leaning sources accounted for approximately 29% of the total coverage.
  • Left-Center Bias: Left-center sources contributed 193 instances, representing around 25% of the overall coverage.
  • Right Bias: Right-leaning sources provided 151 instances, comprising approximately 20% of the total coverage.
  • Least Bias: Sources with the least bias contributed 129 instances, making up around 17% of the coverage.
  • Right-Center Bias: Right-center sources accounted for 69 instances, representing approximately 9% of the total coverage.

The analysis demonstrates that left-leaning and left-center sources collectively dominated the media coverage, comprising over half (54%) of the total instances. Right-leaning and right-center sources combined accounted for approximately 29% of the coverage, while sources with the least bias represented around 17%.

These percentages illustrate a notable disparity in media coverage across political leaning, with left-leaning and left-center sources receiving significantly higher attention compared to right-leaning and right-center sources.

Dobbs Decision Anniversary amplification distribution by bias

Note: Kudzu Narrative Intelligence briefs update every few hours. Very likely, the Narrative Analysis data visualization depicted in the graphic above will have changed as well.

Image Credit: Article Header Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

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