Pro-Lifers: Use New Media to Protest March for Life Blackout

Opinion   |   Kristen Walker   |   Jan 25, 2012   |   12:40PM   |   Washington, DC

This past Saturday, January 21, in Dallas, several thousand people gathered downtown to march to the federal building for a public rally. I was one of them. Road blocks were set up. Half the city center was shut down. Thirty-three police and one helicopter escorted what police unofficially estimated to be 8,000 people through the heart of the city and back.

The local paper, The Dallas Morning News, did not cover it. Not a single photo. Not even a whisper.

The West Coast March for Life, attended by 50,000 was ignored by local news as highlighted by blogger and pundit Michelle Malkin and other attendees.

In Washington D.C., a crowd that has been estimated as numbering between 100,000 and 400,000 people marched down Constitution Avenue to protest abortion. The New York Times did not report on it. They did, however, include in their “Happenings in Washington” section a White House visit by NHL Stanley Cup champions and the signing of an Environmental Cooperation Agreement with the South Korean ambassador to the U.S.

Does this sound like a coincidence to you? Does this sound like unbiased reporting? Or does it sound like the mainstream media is deliberately not covering these events?

Apologists would have us believe that half a million to maybe more than a million people taking to the streets every year for the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision is not newsworthy. Why? Well, because it happens every year! Where’s the story in that?

Here’s the story: It happens every year.

Every single year, at least half a million people around the country protest for the same cause. Does that happen for any other cause besides abortion? Tell me if it does, I’d like to know.

Now, don’t get me wrong! Some non-Catholic, non-conservative, or non-religious media outlets covered the event. For instance, the Washington Post has some online coverage — nothing in the print edition — which consists mostly of op-eds, blogs, and a photo slide show which includes one overview shot of the massive crowd, lots of Popes and nuns, and extensive coverage of a clash between pro-life and pro-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court. Mouths are open, fingers pointing, pro-lifers looking snarly or weird, pro-aborts weepy and rained-on.

So in other words, the Post took an event in which hundreds of thousands of free Americans from all over the country gathered in their nation’s capital to make their voices heard, and manipulated it to look like a petty, ugly clash between fanatics fueled by top-down religious zealotry.

Last year, somewhere between six and nine thousand people, depending on who you ask, gathered in Dallas to march to the courthouse where the original suit in the Roe case was filed. I was there, for the third year in a row. The Dallas Morning News ran the headline “Hundreds March…” Not thousands. Hundreds.

They also used as their leading photo — in fact, it might have been the only photo, if memory serves — the single most fruit-loopy sign at the whole event. It was the one sign everyone else kept nudging each other and surreptitiously pointing to. It was written in Spanish, so I don’t know what it said, but it featured as its centerpiece a crucified baby doll. I imagine whoever made it was full of good intentions and meant to make a point about baby Jesus and abortion, but still, the crucified baby sign came off a bit creepy.

A huge close-up of it was the main photo for the Dallas Morning News story, accompanied by that headline: “Hundreds march…”

Why? By accident? No. Because all these tactics — the misleading photos, the deceptive headlines, the lack of coverage — accomplish two things:

1. Marginalization. It serves their cause to make us look like a fringe group of beady-eyed zealots. Hundreds of thousands of people does not look like a lunatic fringe, hence the lack of panoramic views. They show us isolated, angry, in unflattering poses, with captions that include verbs like “criticize” and “argue,” as in the Post slide show.

This ensures that anyone viewing or reading at home who knows nothing about the pro-life movement but what the media tells them will continue to see us as a small, unimportant, disorganized, and threatening group of wackos.

2. Demoralization. It upsets us when this happens. It happens every year, but it’s still upsetting. Thousands upon thousands of people work very hard to make these marches happen, from the little girl who sits in her living room floor and makes a sign with crayons on poster board, to the local organizers who make phone calls and the volunteers who make refreshments and the pro-life groups who raise money, and every last person who travels many miles and gets up early and bundles up against the cold to join in.

They do it because they have faith that in a free, democratic society, when hundreds of thousands take to the streets, the media will do its job and report on it. Every year, the mainstream media fail spectacularly at their jobs. (One could argue they fail every day, but let’s take it one day at a time.)

If it weren’t for “biased” outlets such as Fox News, Newsbusters, Hot Air, Live Action, LifeNews, etc., there would be no coverage at all. The “objective” media are misleading, outright deceptive, or silent, across the board.

This causes angst, worry, anger, and even sadness. And that makes them glad, because for the most part, they do not share our views on abortion. In fact, the media share the views of the average American very seldom. Boston College philosophy professor and acclaimed author Dr. Peter Kreeft quoted a poll by the secular Baltimore group The Wirthlin Agency, which found:

  • while nearly all Americans (more than 90 percent) believe it is wrong to cheat sexually on your spouse, only about half of media people agree;
  • while about half of all Americans attend religious services regularly, only 9 percent of media people do;
  • while 72 percent (80 percent according to other polls) of Americans feel that abortion is somehow a bad thing and should have some restrictions placed on it by law, only 3 percent of media people do.

We have to stop them from marginalizing us by being twice as vocal as our pro-abortion counterparts. Almost every channel, newspaper, and magazine is a pro-abortion mouthpiece. We are outnumbered, but we won’t be shouted down.

New media is the key to winning the information war when it comes to abortion. Tweet, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest your pro-life views from the digital mountaintop. Do not be afraid. Your fear of being different, of being isolated, of losing friends, is their weapon. Take it out of their hands and be unabashed in your support of human life.

We must refuse to be demoralized. Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards stated publicly that 2011 was Planned Parenthood’s worst year ever. This is wonderful news, and Live Action’s tireless work is a huge part of the Congressional investigation, the defunding push, and the shift in perception by the public of what Planned Parenthood really is and what they do. Support Live Action in any way you can, by donating money, or just sharing and tweeting to help get the word out.

Meanwhile, do not let your hearts be troubled. It’s easy to get angry — trust me, I know — but this should actually make us glad. If they weren’t afraid of us, they wouldn’t go out of their way to ignore us. Doesn’t it remind you of when someone gives you the silent treatment? Their petulant refusal to look in our direction or speak to us reminds me of a twelve-year-old girl whose sister broke her hair dryer. It is not the behavior of unconcerned dismissal, but focused, deliberate denial of a very scary truth:

We are winning. Note: Kristen Walker is Vice President of New Wave Feminists.This post originally appeared at the Live Action blog and is reprinted with permission.