The Ayla Brown effect


Ayla Brown's appearance yesterday on behalf of her father, would-be US Senator Scott Brown, is big news: the Herald gives it the cover treatment, and WBUR currently has a story hooked to Ayla's presser front and center on its web site.

The question is, why? Yes, Ayla is an "'American Idol' startlet" (per the Herald). But Ayla's big argument-- that Brown's opponent, Martha Coakley, mischaracterized his position on allowing medical providers the option of denying emergency contraception to rape victims--is tenuous at best.

Here's what Ayla said yesterday on that count, as reported by the Herald:

“Her attack on my dad is completely inaccurate and misleading,” Brown said as she defended her doting dad. “I’m here today to say that Martha Coakley should take down her negative ad."...

Brown told the Herald Coakley’s inflammatory ad prompted her to speak out. “For our family, especially me being on ‘Idol’ but (also) my dad being in politics, there are always so many people who have something negative to say,” Brown said. “The minute it’s sponsored and the people really believe in false accusations, that’s where we had to draw the line.”

So, Coakley's melodramatic ad--which features a rape victim slumped dispairingly in a stairwell--is not just negative, but untrue?

Not really. As the Globe's Matt Viser reported yesterday:

The dispute is over a 2005 amendment that Scott Brown sponsored in the state Senate. The amendment would have allowed a doctor, nurse or hospital to deny rape victims an emergency contraceptive if it “conflicts with a sincerely held religious belief.”

The amendment, which did not pass, was attached to a bill that he ultimately voted for, which required emergency rooms to provide the contraceptives to rape victims.

In Coakley’s latest ad, released after a heated debate Monday night, a narrator says, “Brown even favors letting hospitals deny emergency contraception to rape victims.”

Brown and his supporters have declined to discuss the underpinnings of his amendment, instead trying to focus on the fact that he supported the overall legislation. [emphasis added]

So what's Ayla's gripe? Basically, that people are criticizing her pops--who, she insists, "would always stand up for the rights and needs of rape victims."

Brown's daughterly loyalty is admirable, but it can't change the legislative record. And really, her attempts to rewrite history really don't deserve the coverage they're getting.

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