January 26 2017
featuring Hadley Heath
A newly published report found that last weekend’s Women’s March on Washington received 129 times more mainstream media coverage than last year’s annual March for Life.
The Media Research Center noted, “This month, two similar events are happening in Washington, D.C. Both pertain to women. One attracted an estimated 500,000 Americans this year, the other boasts tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands marchers every year. But one main difference — a difference the media care about — is agenda: one is pro-abortion, the other is pro-life.”
The MRC found that the big three broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) gave last year’s March for Life a grand total of 35 seconds of coverage on their evening and morning news programs. Despite a major winter storm bearing down on the nation’s capital (which would dump two feet of snow), tens of thousands came to show their support for the lives of the unborn.
ABC News was the only broadcast network to cover the event, with Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos taking 13 seconds to say the event to “protest abortion” would take place despite the winter storm warnings. The network later briefly referenced a high school group having trouble getting back to Kentucky following the march due to the severe winter weather.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the Media Fairness Caucus, said in a release Wednesday, “Every year, Americans can count on two things to happen: 1) one of the largest public demonstrations that occurs in our country, the annual March for Life, will take place in D.C. and 2) the liberal national media will dismiss it.”
Meanwhile, the Women’s March — co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America — received at least one hour and 15 minutes of network air time.
Despite its branding, the organizers explicitly prohibited pro-life women’s groups from participating in the event.
The networks not only covered the event itself, but in effect offered free television promotion leading into it, with all three doing stories Jan. 19. The march itself was then covered Saturday and continued to be part of news stories into early this week.
Hadley Heath Manning, a policy analyst with the Independent Women’s Forum, noted the media’s bias in their coverage of the event, particularly with regard to the abortion issue.
“Women comprise half the population. Obviously our political views and priorities are diverse,” Manning told Western Journalism, “This is true on the abortion issue and others. It’s tempting for the press and for political analysts to oversimplify what’s in women’s best interests, but women disagree. The media should do their best to allow all these various viewpoints to be heard.”
Lila Rose, founder and president of the pro-life organization Live Action, added, “The pro-abortion bias of many major media groups is both shameful and indefensible. But they still have time to redeem themselves. After the wall-to-wall coverage that the ‘Women’s March’ on Washington received just a week earlier, will the mainstream media suddenly lose interest in marches this Friday when hundreds of thousands descend on Washington, D.C., to stand up for life?”