NYT Petulantly Covers Annual 'Anti-Abortion' March for Life, Frets For Planned Parenthood

January 20th, 2018 11:21 AM

New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters covered the annual pro-life march in Washington, D.C. under this petulant headline in the print version: “President Reaches Out To Foes Of Abortion.” (Otherwise known as the annual March for Life.)

As we’ve reported before, the paper has traditionally ignored the annual march entirely, while devoting copious space to much smaller left-wing protests like those supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants.

In 2013, after a five-year absence of print stories, the paper finally covered the march with a so-so story. In 2014, after yet another news blackout, Public Editor Margaret Sullivan waded into the controversy: “The lack of staff coverage unfortunately gives fuel to those who accuse The Times of being anti-Catholic, and to those who charge that the paper’s news coverage continually reflects a liberal bias...” But the Times failed to take Sullivan’s advice. The 2015 march coverage amounted to a half-sentence in a hostile story, and in 2016 the paper also failed to devote a full story to the March for Life.

But the presence last year of Vice President Mike Pence coaxed out a decent story, while Trump’s address this year via Jumbotron garnered a small, more grudging and hostile one in Saturday’s edition. Peters’ medium-sized story split attention between the march itself and Trump’s outreach to the pro-life (sorry, “anti-abortion”) movement, with overwrought concern for Planned Parenthood. Not a single “pro-life” label” made it into the story, with “anti-abortion” being the sole descriptor.

In the daily din of scandal and turmoil that has dominated President Trump’s first year in office, it can be easily overlooked how transformative he has been in using his executive powers to curtail abortion rights.

As thousands of anti-abortion marchers gathered on the National Mall in Washington in the annual March for Life on Friday, Mr. Trump ordered his administration to make it easier for states to cut off money for Planned Parenthood clinics that offer health care to low-income women.

The move capped a week of action by the White House that helped to further seal its relationship with the anti-abortion movement.


“We are with you all the way,” Mr. Trump told marchers he had invited to the Rose Garden to mark the occasion. His remarks were broadcast to the Mall, the first time a president had addressed the annual March for Life on live television. In the past, they have either recorded messages or phoned in their remarks.

The president’s enthusiasm did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Peters constantly pivoted to concern for the abortion megaplex Planned Parenthood.

Mr. Trump’s policies could have serious consequences for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, which has become a target of the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

The new directive Mr. Trump issued on Friday could prove especially problematic. Planned Parenthood says that 60 percent of its patients receive Medicaid assistance. And the new rules would make it easier for states to bar Medicaid funding from going to the women’s health provider.