Is it too much to ask for Americans to get their news from serious adults? Yes, there’s always been bias in media reporting, but it’s hard to imagine journalists who once crossed Europe with Patton cooing “Pandas are magic” into the camera while a real story of genocide is being told in the streets.
But that’s where we are. On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands braved freezing temperatures to join the 41st annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. to protest and commemorate the 55 million human babies who have been legally killed since 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision. The event featured speeches from activists and politicians, and even garnered the tweeted prayers of Pope Francis. For all that, the broadcast networks combined devoted a total of just 46 seconds to the March. ABC offered 24 seconds and NBC gave it 22 seconds, correctly noting the “huge turnout” despite brutal weather conditions. CBS didn’t bother to cover it at all.
Yet earlier this month, the networks lavished coverage on … the birth of the new panda cub at the National Zoo. They gave “Bao Bao” 4 minutes and 41 seconds, to be exact. Whereas tens of millions of dead human babies pry just a few seconds of grudging coverage, the single panda birth had network “journalists” embarrassingly enthusiastic. On “Today” NBC’s Natalie Morales urged viewers to, “Take a look, the National Zoo in Washington launched an Instagram account on Wednesday and it loaded a selfie of a giant panda cub Bao Bao as its first post.” She gushed, “So cute!”
Over at ABC, the gang at “Good Morning America” were reduced to kindergarten-speak. Josh Elliot shared his insight that “pandas look like humans in panda suits,” and stated, “Pandas are magic.” Lara Spencer agreed that, indeed, “Pandas are so magic.”
This year showed improvement from 2013, when the networks allocated a mere seventeen seconds to the March for Life. But in how they choose, prioritize and present the news, remain ridiculously biased and fundamentally unserious.
Note: CMI’s Kristine Marsh contributed to this report.
— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.