March for Life
EToday the Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues announces its second annual #CoverTheMarch campaign, calling on the media to cover the 2017 March for Life and cover it fairly. The annual event held in Washington, D.C. draws hundreds of thousands of peaceful participants from all over the country. This year's March for Life, Friday, January 27, marks the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand.
The media have been promoting neo-Nazis and white nationalists in hopes to (admirably) discredit them and falsely insinuate that they were far-right conservatives who propelled Donald Trump to the White House. This trend manifested itself with five minutes and 17 seconds Tuesday morning on CBS and NBC that attempted to label the neo-Nazi conference as one featuring “conservative extremist[s]” and added up to three times more coverage than they’ve had on the March for the Life in the past four years.
Thousands braved miserable conditions and an incoming blizzard to march against abortion on Friday, and the New York Times once again came up short in covering the story, though when compared to previous years there was a veritable “blizzard” of coverage. The paper’s Public Editor Margaret Sullivan chided the Times in 2014 for its sparse coverage of the annual March for Life, and recommended covering the “gathering with a staff reporter in Washington...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...” Yet 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.
One week later, and the networks have long forgotten about their scant coverage of the March for Life – after all, they have a whole year before they have to ignore it again. The pro-life movement, however, has forgotten neither the March nor the unserious and insulting way the broadcast networks reported on it – or didn’t.
As CMI reported last week, ABC and NBC gave just 46 seconds of air time to the many thousands who braved freezing temperatures to join the 2014 March for Life in Washington, D.C. CBS didn’t even mention it. By contrast, the networks couldn’t get enough of the debut of Bao Bao, the National Zoo’s newest panda cub, cooing about panda “magic.” The animal received six times more coverage than the March. Pro-life leaders noticed. It was, in the words of International Communion of Evangelical Churches’ Bishop Harry Jackson, “media malpractice.” Continued after the video.
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.
Today marks the 41st annual “March for Life” in which thousands of pro-lifers ascend on Washington D.C. to mark the Roe v. Wade decision and show their solidarity in opposition to abortion, many of them faithful Catholics. Not surprisingly, Pope Francis sent out an official tweet showing his support for the “March for Life” in which he said, “I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers, may God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.”
Unfortunately for one MSNBC host, the fact the Pope would show support for one of the Catholic Church’s most sacred values, the protection of all innocent human life, seemed to be too much to handle. During her daily “Tweet of the Day” segment on Jansing & Co., Chris Jansing sniffed that Pope Francis’s pro-life values were “reflective of ways in which the church certainly has not changed.”
Each year, the March for Life is by far the largest annual rally in Washington, D.C., and each year, it’s met with a near-black-out from major media. But for 2014, there’s a way for the pro-life movement to change that. In a new initiative to combat media censorship on abortion, the Media Research Center (MRC) is inviting marchers to donate video for a documentary on the movement the media hide.
In 2013, the networks spent a mere 17 seconds on the half million participants at the 40th March for Life (in comparison, they spent 521 times more on the Manti Te’o football scandal). The life censorship only continued with the trial of Kermit Gosnell and beyond. Simply put, the old media fear giving pro-lifers the coverage a movement of this size and vitality deserves.