State Rep. Dismukes on Washington Post parental rights ‘fake news’: ‘Sometimes people try too hard for a really good, a really juicy story’
Last week, The Washington Post published an article by Emily Wax-Thibodeaux headlined, “In Alabama — where lawmakers banned abortion for rape victims — rapists’ parental rights are protected.”
As it turned out, the entire premise of the story was incorrect. On Monday, State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville) issued a press release calling out the Post and Alabama Media Group for reprinting the article for its inaccuracies.
Dismukes was the sponsor of the so-called Jessi’s Law, a law governing parental rights that was signed by Gov. Kay Ivey early this month. It clarified Alabama’s laws regarding parental rights, stating that “a parent for rape or incest is a ground for termination of parental rights if the rape or incest resulted in the conception of the child.”
“It’s been kind of an interesting couple of weeks with some of the reports coming out,” Dismukes said on Tuesday’s broadcast of “The Jeff Poor Show” on Huntsville’s WVNN. “And I sat on the sideline as long as I could and I finally just had enough.”
Dismukes offered a summary of the law, which he said left no room for misinterpretation.
“Now it’s mandated that if you’re convicted of rape or incest, that you lose your parental rights,” he continued. “You’re not protected. The judges have always had the discretion, but this just makes it where you lose them. There is no question about it. You know, it doesn’t give any loophole to get out of it. It’s just cut-and-dried.”
The Autauga County Republican lawmaker said the time of his bill just so happen to come after the passage of the legislation banning abortion, but it had no relation to it.
“Right after we passed it, before the governor signed, I kept having different media outlets, The Washington Post being one, calling and trying to tie it to the abortion law,” Dismukes explained. “I was like, ‘Listen, you can go back when I filed it. It has no relation to this law.’ They tried to draw a line to connect it to it and as far as me dropping this bill and there being an abortion bill – there was no connection, no relation in the two in that sense.”
Overall, Dismukes said the media even at the level of state government try to create divisions for the sake of bettering the storyline, but that comes with consequences.
“I think what we see is sometimes people try too hard for a really good, a really juicy story,” he said. “Rather than just printing what it is and that being that, and it being just a story off of the truth, we’re trying to twist things to make it greater than it really is, and just causing a lot of unnecessary problems. And I think readers and followers of media and news would actually like it a lot more if people would just print the truth and report the truth and go on about their day.”
“We want to create this huge divide between Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature, and we don’t want to talk about how often we do work together, and how often we do get along, how often we do see eye-to-eye to continue moving Alabama in the right direction. I hope we can see a turn in media in what we print and report and broadcast, and we can really get the truth, and I think that we would see people in the general public a lot happier with that.”