After Years of News Blackout, New York Times Mentions March for Life Only to 'Embarrass' GOP

January 23rd, 2015 9:48 PM

Well, you can't say the New York Times totally ignored the massive annual March for Life against abortion this year. The newspaper ran a full half-sentence devoted to the rally of tens of thousands of activists in Washington on Thursday, in Jeremy Peters' page16 Friday report. Yet even that mention came in a story wholly devoted to embarrassing the Republican Party over its mishandling of a bill that would outlaw most abortions after 20 weeks: "Objections by Women Open Rift in GOP."

House Republicans struggled on Thursday to mend another unwelcome rift that threatens to tarnish their party’s image with women and younger voters, shelving a contentious bill to outlaw most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.


The rebellion created an awkward tension between Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the thousands of abortion opponents who gathered just steps away on the National Mall to mark the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

The Times is notorious for virtually ignoring the March for Life, which takes place every year in late January, around the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion, and reliably draws tens of thousands of pro-lifers, many of them young people, out into the winter cold. In 2013, after a five-year absence of print stories, the paper finally covered the march, only to pair a middling story on the march with a nervy rebuttal story, using liberal Catholic activists to chide pro-life marchers for not also being anti-gun -- as if acknowledging the march just to criticize its existence.

In 2014, after yet another news blackout, the paper's Public Editor Margaret Sullivan waded into the controversy, pointing out that the "the Times, in print, published only a stand-alone photograph of the event on Page A17 with a two-line caption...."

By contrast, the Times is eager to publicize any silly scrap of news it deems helpful to one of its pet causes, amnesty for illegal immigrants: In January 2010 it granted a full news story to a pathetic protest involving a grand total of four illegal immigrants.

Veteran congressional reporter Carl Hulse, a long-time cheerleader for Democrats, ginned up a Republican food fight on abortion in a Thursday morning post at that also referenced the March for Life only to mock Republicans.

House Republican leaders had planned to make a stand on Thursday by passing a ban on abortions after 20 weeks in a vote timed to coincide with the “March for Life” held every year on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

But objections by some women and party moderates forced the Republican leadership to abandon the legislation in favor of a less contentious vote to ban federal financing of abortions. It’s an embarrassing setback.

The reversal highlighted anew the difficulty that Speaker John A. Boehner and his lieutenants have in corralling their rank and file. It also underscored the political sensitivity of the abortion issue in a party that continues to struggle with winning over women and younger voters.