National media focus on small gun-control protest, miss massive March for Life

posted at 1:51 pm on January 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Nearly a half-million people gathered in the nation’s capital in a political protest on Friday.  What did the nation’s news media consider more newsworthy than the March for Life, which opposes abortion?  Well, a crowd that amounted to 1/500th of the size of the March For Life, and the scandal of the 11-inch foot long.  Newsbusters breaks it down:

The annual pro-life march, this year marking the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision, drew tens of thousands to Washington, DC on Friday, but didn’t garner a syllable of coverage on Friday’s World News on ABC nor the CBS Evening NewsYet on Saturday night, both newscasts highlighted a pro-gun control protest in DC which CBS anchor Jim Axelrod pegged at drawing “close to a thousand people.”

The NBC Nightly News noted both protests and on Friday night also reported how a federal appeals court unanimously decided that President Obama violated the Constitution when he made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, a rebuke neither ABC nor CBS found newsworthy.

This 15 seconds from Brian Williams was the totality of broadcast network evening newscast coverage of the pro-life march: “In Washington today, thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators marched to the steps of the Supreme Court, protesting the landmark decision that legalized abortion. Annual ‘March for Life,’ as it’s called, this year coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Roe versus Wade decision.”

Heck, even NPR did better than that:

Organizers say today’s March for Life rally in the nation’s capital may bring more anti-abortion activists to the streets than last year’s estimated 400,000. By midday, a large crowd was gathered in the National Mall, listening to speeches from former GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum and others and preparing to march toward the Capitol and the Supreme Court.

“We’ve seen lots of markers that would show that,” Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, tells NBC Washington. “Our hotel block sold out a month in advance of what it’s ever sold out, and we’ve had more media requests than ever before, so we expect really record-breaking crowds.”

Fox News says the crowd was “considerably larger” than last year, based on an estimate from the National Park Service:

Undaunted by bitterly cold temperatures and a forecast for snow, pro-life marchers came to Washington for the March for Life — as they have for four decades — determined, they say, to instill a culture of life in a nation that has seen 55 million abortions since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

The National Park Service no longer does crowd size estimates, but organizers believed the crowd Friday to be considerably larger than last year’s 400,000 people.

So a march “considerably larger” than 400,000 people opposing abortion draws no notice from the national news media — but one of less than a thousand does?  Color me shocked, shocked at this expression of bias.

On the other hand, this is truly a national emergency:

While ABC on Friday night didn’t find time for either the pro-life march or the court ruling, anchor Diane Sawyer made time for an update on the supposed controversy over complaints Subway’s “foot-long” subs are sometimes only eleven inches long. Horrors. Sawyer allocated  28 seconds to this:

And now at the top of our Instant Index tonight is that apology from Subway. Fans of the foot-long sandwich, you may recall, reported that some of those sandwiches are falling short by one inch. 11 inches, not 12 inches long. Well today, Subway said they are sorry. And they’re redoubling their efforts to assure consistency and correct length in every sandwich they serve. And patrons will still be getting out their rulers.

I have no issue with highlighting the appellate court’s ruling on recess appointments over a DC protest march.  That’s real news, and it’s stunning that ABC didn’t even bother to report it on their Friday night newscast.  We led with it on the Hugh Hewitt Show, which airs before ABC’s national news broadcast.  That ruling has far-reaching consequences not just for future presidencies, but also would negate an entire year’s worth of work in two key agencies.  That’s a little more important than an apology from a sandwich shop over the length of their buns.

Meanwhile, if after all the media hype and Obama administration hysteria over gun control can’t even get 1,000 people to turn out for a rally in Washington DC, what does that say about the issue?  Maybe people are more interested in sandwich control than gun control.

Update: The networks aren’t the only media outlets mailing it in, either.  Mollie Hemingway catches the New York Times republishing PR releases as news, although she gives the Gray Lady high marks for reporting on the March for Life at all (via Deacon Greg):

I want to point out that the Times also ran a straight news story covering the march and, unlike any year I can recall, it actually ran in the print edition and not just as a brief mention on a blog post. The story that has outraged so many folks is the primary story on the march that ran in a more prominent position than the straight story. In fact, it ran above the fold of the national news section, headlined “In Fight Over Life, a New Call by Catholics.” …

Believe it or not, this is basically just a press release from the same savvy, highly funded PR firm that has been rolling reporters for the last year. One is beginning to think they enjoy the ride.

The group that put out the letter is … drum roll please …

… Faith in Public Life. Yes, that Faith in Public Life! They’re the ones who came up with the highly successful “Nuns on the Bus” tour that got embarrassingly uncritical coverage for an anti-Paul Ryan campaign featuring not one, not two, but as many asthree to four nuns. We’re talking front-page coverage in major media outlets, gushy broadcasts, the works.

You couldn’t pay for coverage this nice. Except, I guess, that George Soros and his fellow donors do pay for this coverage. But you know what I mean.

But do they pay for an 11-inch foot long sandwich?  That’s the question the news media wants to ask!


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