March for Life’s poor coverage biggest sign of liberal media bias
(COMMENTARY) Why would an annual event featuring tens of thousands of people from across the country who peacefully assemble on Washington’s National Mall in protest of an issue they care very passionately about receive little to no media coverage? That very situation plays itself out every January when it comes to the mainstream media’s handling of the March for Life, an event that brings together a cross-section of Americans in support of the rights of the unborn.
While pro-life advocates continue to work on changing hearts and minds in this very heated political climate, the inability of news outlets to fairly and adequately cover the March for Life highlights the liberal bias that permeates many newsrooms throughout this country. The March for Life is a powerful event, one that sheds a spotlight on human rights and dignity. It also brings together men and women of all ages and races, Catholics and Protestants and the religious and scientific communities who believe that life starts at conception. It’s a message those on the political left don’t want to broadcast. It’s also one they don’t want to help further with the help of any meaningful news coverage.
A study conducted by the Media Research Project, a conservative watchdog group, found that CBS, NBC and ABC spent an hour and 15 minutes combined covering last year’s Women’s March held in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. That’s the same Women’s March organizers made sure did not include any pro-life groups.
By comparison, the same group found that the March for Life in 2016 had earned only 35 seconds of coverage from the same three major TV networks — just 13 seconds before it took place and 22 seconds after it was held. The Women’s March had garnered 23 minutes of coverage before it took place.
The situation was similar when it came to online news stories. The phrase “Women’s March 2017” garnered 7,650 mentions on Google News. The same search term for “March for Life 2017” saw a similar disparity – just 474 results.
Last year was no exception. The Media Research Project found that the same three major networks devoted just 15 seconds to covering the 2015 march. In 2014, it had been just 46 seconds. The group even launched a website, coverthemarch.org, two years ago with the help of pro-life groups asking people to contact the major networks requesting that they give the annual March for Life ample coverage on their morning and evening broadcasts.
“The media are no longer the watchdogs for the American public, but the lapdogs of a liberal agenda committed to the destruction of live,” the site reads. “The Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues calls out journalists for their ongoing blackout of pro-life news and demands reporters live up to the standards of journalistic integrity by covering life issues.”
The lack of coverage by mainstream news outlets is revealing. There isn’t a gathering or protest reporters don’t cover – often when it concerns issues of impotence to liberal causes – but those same networks and newspapers can’t be bothered to cover an event of importance to religious conservatives. These realities have given rise to the hashtag #CovertheMarch and other social media posts urging for more media attention.
Dismissing March for Life 2018 would be a very big mistake. Not only do large numbers of people attend (making it automatically newsworthy), but the lack of coverage is also one of the biggest smoking guns that points to the media’s liberal bias. If the press hopes to combat this perception, it needs to start giving conservatives a larger voice in the pages of The New York Times and on CNN. This year’s event is certain to get more attention this year since Trump plans to address the crowd via video, the first sitting president to address March for Life attendees since George W. Bush did so by telephone in 2008. The only other president to address attendees since the event’s inception in 1974 was Ronald Reagan, also by phone, in 1987.
The March for Life is a story worthy of front-page status. However, it’s unlikely you will see that in your Saturday paper or at the top of any newscast – unless Trump is able to outdo himself with statements worthy of extensive coverage like we have seen over his first 12 months in office. It would go a long way with conservatives should the March for Life receive fair coverage like the Women’s March did last year or an anti-Trump or anti-police protest does each day.
It’s not just the rights of the unborn that will be on highlighted Friday, but the ability of the MSM to remain tone deaf in the face of such a massive rally.