New York Newspaper Prints Biased Abortion Story Against Pro-Lifers

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New York Newspaper Prints Biased Abortion Story Against Pro-Lifers

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
January 29, 2004

Rochester, NY ( — Pro-life advocates say a Gannett newspaper in Rochester, New York is guilty of bias against the pro-life perspective and owes them an apology for biased reporting and ignoring newsworthy events.

In an article dated January 23, Gannett’s Democrat and Chronicle ran a report on a pro-life advocates attending the March for Life rally with the headline, "Rally Supports Roe v. Wade."

In addition to the slanted headline, the newspaper report began with a focus on pro-abortion demonstrators, who were far outnumbered by the pro-life supporters taking part in the March for Life.

The article made mention of less than a dozen people who lined a Rochester street, holding signs supporting abortion.

But short shrift was given to the busloads of Rochester pro-life supporters who attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

In response to the article, eight pro-life groups organized a demonstration at the office of the newspaper.

One of the demonstration’s organizers, Carol Crossed, who is the president of Democrats for Life of America, said, "Since 1999, members of the pro-life community in Rochester have met on several occasions with the editor, managing editor, editorial board, and reporters to discuss the newspaper’s bias."

Crossed said that the recent article shows that the paper "has gone from bias to total fabrication."

Thomas Flynn, Vice President of Communications for the newspaper, told, "Just because one group of advocates in an issue declares the reporting to be biased doesn’t make it so."

"We do not enjoy the luxury of reporting only one side of any story. We live by the professional ethic of fair and balanced reporting," Flynn added.

However, Crossed notes that one of the reporters who covered the March for Life has also written an opinion piece supporting legal abortion — making it difficult for a "fair and balanced" article to be written on abortion issues.

Crossed led two dozen pro-life advocates in the protest on Wednesday. She also said that local pro-life prayer vigils held to mourn the Roe v. Wade decision were also not covered.

"It’s an insult to the people involved," Crossed said.

The groups gave a list of requests to the newspaper, including wanting an apology for the article’s headline and unfair reporting. The pro-life advocates also want an ombudsman to review articles about abortion for fairness and want to meet with editors about coverage of the issue.

"The Democrat and Chronicle recognizes that there are always varying viewpoints on many topics," Flynn told "Our editors are open to meeting with representatives from both sides to discuss their concerns. Those invitations have been issued in the past and will continue to be extended."

A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/Syracuse Region, Shelley Page, told the newspaper in the article, "We are here to remind people that abortion will not go away — the point is to keep it safe and legal."

Pro-lifers note that the newspaper failed to mention the fact that abortion is never safe for an unborn child and is often unsafe for the child’s mother as well. Abortion has been linked to such problems as sterility, breast cancer, psychiatric illness, and even death.

The newspaper’s article mentioned that the pro-abortion demonstration in Rochester was one of about 50 across the nation. The protest was designed to serve as a kick-off for a pro-abortion march in Washington scheduled for April 25.

Pro-abortion demonstrator Petra Page-Mann told the newspaper, "Everyone is screaming so we have to scream louder."

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Rochester Area Right to Life Committee, Grace Carson, was quoted as saying that the pro-life movement is "gaining strength and momentum."

Carson told the newspaper, "More Americans are coming to realize what we already know — that ending a life is never a good solution to any problem."

ACTION: Contact the Rochester newspaper with your views: Democrat and Chronicle, 55 Exchange Blvd., Rochester, NY 14614-2001, (585) 258-2209, [email protected]m, Fax: (585) 258-2734