WASHINGTON, DC, January 26, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Last week’s Washington DC March for Life attended by over 100,000 pro-lifers and addressed by the President via telephone, numerous congressmen, cardinals, bishops and pro-life leaders, was basically ignored by major media outlets. Pro-lifers in Canada who were searching the American networks on the day of the March were frustrated to find no coverage on any of the evening news broadcasts.
LifeSite staff attending the March witnessed first-hand the immense pro-life crowd and only a tiny handful of pro-abortion opponents. LifeSiteNews.com spoke with Tim Graham, the Director of Media Analysis for the Media Research Center (MRC) who told LifeSite of a newly completed report on media bias in 2003, which demonstrated similar media distortions.
Pro-abortion media bias is never more evident than television coverage, or lack thereof, of the annual Washington March for Life. Analyzing newscasts of the major networks ABC, CBS and NBC for 2003, MRC reported on distortions which can only be described as outright lies.
For instance, one of the most popular news personalities in America, CBS’ Dan Rather, uttered a blatant falsehood when he said of the 2003 Roe v Wade anniversary, “Tens of thousands of demonstrators on both sides of the issue filled the streets of Washington today.” MRC commented, “In fact, the pro-life side consisted of tens of thousands, while the pro-abortion side could only muster a few tens.”
MRC’s 2003 report compared the major networks’ coverage of an anti-war march held in Washington a few days before the March for Life. “ABC, CBS, and NBC aired 26 segments on the anti-war march, 14 of them before the rally began, stories which emphasized the protesters’ diversity, including political diversity. ‘Braving frigid temperatures,’ ABC’s Lisa Sylvester proclaimed on the January 19 World News Tonight, ‘they traveled across the country – black and white, Democrat and Republican, young and old.’”
In contrast, “While they offered nine stories (four of them pre-rally) on the wider news angle of the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the stories made only oblique references to marches protesting Roe v. Wade. Not one network news story had the pro-life demonstrations as its central topic, in contrast to 26 that featured left-wing, anti-war protesters.”
Moreover, when covering the March the reporters linked it to the 1998 shooting death of abortionist Barnett Slepian.
See the full MRC research report on media bias.