Between Saturday evening and Monday morning, NBC, ABC and CBS devoted a stunning 19 minutes 5 seconds to falsely accusing teenagers who participated in the March for Life of racism following a confrontation with left-wing activists. That was after the broadcast networks only managed to provide a pathetic 58 seconds of coverage to Friday’s annual demonstration protesting the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision legalizing abortion.
“A troubling scene many are calling racist,” anchor Jose Diaz-Balart breathlessly proclaimed on Saturday’s NBC Nightly News as he described deceptively edited video of the incident posted on social media. The clip showed students from Covington Catholic High School being confronted by a Native American demonstrator, which reporter Tammy Leitner characterized as “dozens of youths wearing Make America Great Again hats mocking Native American elder and Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips.”
Both Sunday’s Nightly News and Monday’s Today show also covered the trumped-up controversy, with NBC providing 5 minutes 9 seconds of air time to the story over the three-day period. Compare that to the 44 seconds the network offered on the March for Life on Friday and Saturday.
On ABC’s This Week on Sunday, host Martha Raddatz grilled Republican Oklahoma Senator Jim Lankford about the minor altercation: “What's your message to those teenagers? And has the president created this environment doing things like calling Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’?” Meanwhile, another guest, Democratic New York Senator and newly-announced 2020 presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, wasn’t asked a single question about founders of the left-wing Women’s March being accused of anti-Semitism.
ABC also covered the story earlier that morning on Good Morning America, as well as on World News Tonight that evening and Good Morning America again on Monday morning. The network provided 9 minutes 35 seconds of total air time to attacks on the pro-life students from Saturday through Monday, but only six seconds to the March for Life on Saturday’s GMA.
CBS devoted the least amount of time to the students’ confrontation with Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with only a 20-second news brief on CBS Sunday Morning and 4 minutes 1 second on Monday’s CBS This Morning, for a total of 4 minutes 21 seconds. Of course, the network only mentioned the March for Life for eight seconds on Friday’s CBS Evening News.
By Monday morning, all three networks began to acknowledge that there was a lot more to the story, citing additional video footage of vile taunts being hurled at the Covington students before the confrontation with Phillips. NBC’s Today quickly moved on to the next story, but the hosts on ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning engaged in discussion afterwards, admitting that there was a “rush to judgment” about the incident and lamenting “people jumping to conclusions without knowing the full story.”
When it comes to a conservative protest against abortion, year after year, the media have no interest in the story. However, when reporters see a chance to paint teenage participants of the demonstration as “racist,” they are eager to seize on the narrative without actually having solid facts about what happened.