Mainstream media largely ignores March for Life despite Trump’s historic address
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The major mainstream media networks’ typical editorial approach of all but ignoring the largest pro-life gathering in the United States was not affected much by the first-ever live stream address of the March for Life by a sitting president on Friday.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans uniting from across the country and beyond in Washington D.C. to give a visible witness for unborn life garnered the same negligible mention from the mainstream press just as they have for nearly all of the 44 years prior.
The “big 3” television networks devoted a combined 2 minutes and 6 seconds of coverage to the 2018 March for Life in their evening news coverage, according to a study from the Media Research Center (MRC).
The networks gave this small amount of coverage despite the large numbers of pro-life Americans converging upon the nation’s Capitol and also President Donald Trump addressing the March for Life live from the Rose Garden.
Those joint 126 seconds came in Friday evening coverage from ABC and NBC. The third network, CBS, aired nothing on the March.
MRC called the amount of time allotted by the networks to the March, “embarrassing.”
“This march made history, as the president addressed the March for Life live via satellite,” the MRC report said. “But that wasn’t enough for the media.”
Trump is the first president to directly address the March for Life by live-stream video. Previously, two former Republican presidents had called into the March to give their support - Ronald Reagan in 1987, and George W. Bush in 2003 and 2004. While Trump’s speech got some coverage in a number of media outlets, the March itself remained largely uncovered.
In addition to giving minimal coverage to the March for Life, the networks gave much more to the Women’s March the next day, a report from The Blaze noted.
Another MRC study showed that the pro-abortion Women’s March received three times the coverage from ABC, NBC and CBS than the networks gave the March for Life.
MRC’s 2018 study on March for Life network coverage showed this year’s coverage of the pro-life event from television networks closely matched what they gave in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
There was a spike in coverage last year when Mike Pence and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway spoke in person at the March for Life – Pence being the first sitting vice president to do so. Last year the networks gave the event 21 minutes, 51 seconds.
USA Today carried Trump’s live stream speech for the March this year, noting the historic aspect of Trump’s address.
The mainstream media remains in a perpetual tiff with the president, with Trump charging media bias against him from a number of outlets rising to the level of “fake news,” and some quarters countering that the president’s charges amount to threats to free speech.
A December report from the MRC showed that major news broadcast reporting on Trump in September, October, and November were hostile to the president.
Pro-life advocates have long decried the media’s ignoring of the March for Life and bias in favor of abortion.
FoxNews.com published a report on Friday that spoke of March history, included remarks from March for Life President Jeanne Mancini and listed some of the speakers and event specifics. The Hill had an op-ed in advance of the March from a pro-life Catholic medical doctor with plans to take part. The Hill covered Trump’s address to the March as well, along with a number of other outlets.
Two years ago, mainstream media at all levels were compelled to give slightly more mention to the 2016 March for Life, as countless busloads of March pilgrims were stranded on the Pennsylvania turnpike traveling home from the March. The magnitude of the storm and degree to which it affected travel captured mainstream media coverage and shed light on both the March and the pro-life witness of many who were stranded.
The media still tried to play down March attendance with the storm.
Two days before last year’s March for Life during an interview with ABC President Trump called out the mainstream media for failing to cover the March.