Washington Post Coverage of March for Life Criticized as Biased

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 23, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Washington Post Coverage of March for Life Criticized as Biased Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 23
, 2007

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The national media appears to be providing less and less coverage of the national March for Life even though it continues to attract a couple hundred thousand pro-life advocates from across the country every year. One media watchdog singled out the Washington Post for its biased coverage of the pro-life event.

Tim Graham of the Media Research Center says the Post buried its coverage of the pro-life march on A-10 of the newspaper, putting it in the national section but well after other, lesser important news stories.

Graham said reporters Michael Alison Chandler and Michelle Boorstein gave a "respectful" account of the march and provided a balanced story, but added that the pictures accompanying the article didn’t give the proper sense of how many pro-life people attended.

"The story was illustrated by color photos, but in a far too common tactic, the Post balanced a picture of four pro-life demonstrators … against a photo of four or five feminists," he explained. "One side turns out tens of thousands, and the other turned out tens."

He said the Post didn’t balance the photos when it came to rallies and counter-protests on other political issues. Graham also said the length of the news stories on other marches and rallies is typically longer than what the March for Life received.

"It would be nice for the Post to use a broader photo showing the size of the crowd. But I have no doubt that considering the Democratic majorities in the new Congress, Post staffers felt the pro-life protest couldn’t be less relevant or newsworthy," Graham concluded.

Before the March for Life, Graham highlighted how the Post provided no preview story.

Instead, the Post merely put in a graphic on page B-4 noting which street would be closed by the march and listed that right above a box mentioning events from Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

Other media outlets weren’t much better, according to media watchdog Tom Blumer:

Sam Hananel of the Associated Press only referred to "thousands of cheering abortion foes" in his report, the AP’s primary story about the march referred to "thousands of abortion foes," and the New York Times Sarah Abruzzese’s main report referred to "thousands of abortion opponents."

The Times’ story "President Bush for not addressing the crowd in person ("phoning it in"), even though previous pro-life presidents (Bush 41 and Reagan) began what has come to be a tradition, and despite the fact that the logistics of presidential security in such a throng would be daunting."

"Every year for the past 34 years, hundreds of thousands of prolife advocates have marched in Washington. In almost every year, the March for Life has been the single largest demonstration taking place in the nation’s capital," Blumer said.

"And every year for the past 34 years, incontrovertible evidence that what has become the formerly Mainstream Media is incorrigibly biased," he concluded.