Mainstream Media Ignores, Falsifies Canadian March for Life Attendance
By Gudrun Schultz and Steve Jalsevac
OTTAWA, Canada, May 15, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Media coverage of the 2007 March for Life—the largest on record with about 7,000 Canadians participating—was almost universally inaccurate, biased or simply non-existent.
Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition which organizes the March, has personally counted the numbers participating in the march for each of the past ten years. Hughes told LifeSiteNews.com that he stations himself along the march route and counts the participants as they pass by. He says he was instructed by others with crowd estimation experience that counting in groups of tens as the participants pass one point by is the most effective method for arriving at an accurate total count.
Hughes told LifeSiteNews that his many years as an organizer of large Canadian pro-life and other events has gotten him to a point where he can now fairly accurately estimate the size of a crowd just by eyeballing it. Before counting the numbers in this year’s March for Life he guestimated the numbers on the Hill to be about 7,000. His later count during the march came up with a figure of 6900, including about 100 who did not leave the Hill. Hughes does this each year, he says, precisely because of constant media fudging of the figures.
While the National Post stood out as the only major newspaper to offer accurate coverage of the biggest annual demonstration to be held on Parliament Hill, most media outlets either radically reduced the number of participants or ignored the March altogether. Even in the National Post article it was noted an RCMP officer guessed there were 3,500 in the crowd. Hughes responded that not only was the officer’s estimate way off, march organizers were given a hard time this year by the RCMP over some issues and even threatened with possibly not having their permit renewed next year.
CTV News affiliate Ottawa’s CJOH said on its 6 p.m. report that "Hundreds of people from across the country marched from Ottawa’s St. Patrick’s Basilica and then gathered on Parliament Hill." The station grossly underestimated the numbers but also got the route completely wrong. The march started from Parliament Hill went past the Canadian Human Rights Monument and continued on a long route through downtown Ottawa that eventually passed the Supreme Court and ended back on Parliament Hill.
Both the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star failed to report on the March for Life, offering no coverage of the event whatsoever. Local Ottawa newspapers also ignored the rally, according to Campaign Life Coalition’s Paul Lauzon, with neither the Ottawa Citizen nor the Ottawa Sun reporting on the March.
Macleans.ca quoted media reports and police estimates of somewhere between two and three thousand (giving honorable mention to the “tiny band” of 12 “pro-choice supporters” who showed up at the rally.)
The CBC National News said “about 1,500 demonstrators” gathered on the Hill.
Despite the inaccurate coverage from CBC National, the CBC offered much better coverage with senior parliamentary editor Don Newman’s Politics on Newsworld Thursday night.
"Pro-life anti-abortionists staged one of their largest Parliament Hill protests and rallies in recent years," Newman said, introducing a discussion on the goals of the pro-life movement with Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott and Campaign Life Coalition National Director Mary Ellen Douglas. Newman stated he was "surprised at the size of the rally.".