Reason Rally: Mainstream Media Blackout?

I’m collecting a list of major news media outlets that have not (so far) covered the Reason Rally. I’ve checked a few of them; if you find others, I’d appreciate knowing, so I can add them to the list. (There’s a list at the bottom for the news sites that DID cover the event, even if negatively.)

The point of this is twofold. In reverse order:

Second, to make the point that, all the times Christians cry about being discriminated against, the real story is exactly the opposite. Christian thought and action gets automatic coverage, automatic benefit of the doubt, and freethinkers have to fight for every scrap of progress.

First, to make the point that mainstream media is not serving the needs of the freethought community, and probably isn’t ever going to. Online sources we ourselves create and maintain — such as FreethoughtBlogs, for instance — are the only hope, the only power, we have to get our message out. But that’s okay. When it comes to getting the word out, changing minds and hearts, we don’t need the mainstream media.

In the following list, I’m not saying a listed source did not cover the story of Reason Rally at all. I’m saying that as of the date the name was added to the list, I (or the commenter who suggested it) could not find the story on that source’s online home page.

Note that today is Sunday, the day after the event, which took place in the U.S. national capital, Washington DC.


No Coverage

BBC News

CBS News


Los Angeles Times



New York Times

Washington Times



Huffington Post (well-written, objective verging on positive)

Al Jazeera (a beautifully objective British-style report with a 2.5 minute video)

Yahoo News (from the title onward, pretty much a hit piece)

Fox News (a somewhat bitchy pre-Rally hit commentary by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield)

Washington Post (a nice, balanced piece, with slide show)



CNN: Atheist rally continues in spite of rain; students highlighted throughout — CNN does have a piece tucked away on its “Belief Blog,” and it’s fairly balanced.

USA Today‘s “Faith and Reason” has a piece that starts out extremely negative in tone, but ends on a slightly more balanced note. No link appears on their front page.

MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes,” as of Sunday afternoon, has a 20-minute video featuring Steven Pinker, Susan Jacoby, Jamila Bey and Jamie Kilstein.

MSNBC also had a pre-Rally piece in mid-February.

LA Times had a pre-rally interview piece with Nate Phelps, who escaped his father’s influence at the age of 18.

The Village Voice had a sweet piece, “10 Best Signs at the Reason Rally.”

The Province (newspaper in British Columbia, Canada) had a balanced piece on Sunday.


  • unbound

    Rather minimal, but Washington Post did have an article –

    Surprised the Washington Times didn’t do a hit piece of their own…maybe they are just waiting for marching orders from Faux News…

  • Randomfactor

    LA Times did a pre-rally Q&A with Nate Phelps yesterday; nothing today though.

    Please note that the Tea Party rally, a tenth our size, DID get national coverage. Of course, they had nuttier Congresscritters than we did.

  • BibleName

    I don’t know if it counts, but Chris Hayes of MSNBC did a whole long set of segments on atheists in the public sphere centered around the Reason Rally.

  • Cheyla

    There is a short CNN clip posted on YouTube that mentions the Reason Rally – half of their footage is showing the theist crackpots signs though!

  • niftyatheist

    Please note that the Tea Party rally, a tenth our size, DID get national coverage. Of course, they had nuttier Congresscritters than we did.

    I was blogging as this was broadcast (in a repeated loop) on CNN NewsRoom yesterday afternoon. Let me see if I can find a link. It was a tea party protest against the Affordable Healthcare Act. Bastards.

  • machintelligence

    Denver Post Sunday (print edition) had about 3 column inches on page 5A (Nation Briefs): …Despite intermittent rain, several thousand people gathered on the lawn…
    Nothing in the online edition, though.

  • Dorothy

    I don’t see anything when I search the CBC

  • RW Ahrens

    USA Today posted an article and updated it today:

    Not a bad article, but it had vague intimations of negativity, and focused on speakers’ and attendees’ bashing of religion.

  • Alverant
  • Jim Baerg

    Something that is relevant to the subject of the post:

    I recently read the book _Flat Earth News_ by Nick Davies
    sub-titled: An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media.

    One of the things he documents is how if some position has become the conventional ‘wisdom’ it’s almost impossible to get a contrary position published in the conventional media no matter how much evidence there is in the contrary position’s favour. Trying can destroy the journalist’s career. He particularly notes this in connection with the ‘Drug War’.

    It’s not just atheism that doesn’t get honest reporting.

  • Stacy

    Hardly “mainstream”, but the Village Voice had pics of the “10 Best Signs at the Reason Rally in DC”:

  • McCthulhu – There can be only FHTAGN!!!

    Still basking in the radiant splendour of PZ’s visit to Calgary, the Calgary Herald* had a link on their site to their sister paper in Vancouver, The Province, to this piece:

    The source looks like it’s AFP and reads pretty impartial to me. I misses me some 5W’s reporting from North of the border.

    *Calgary’s sane newspaper – the other one, The Sun is like Fox News North in print, but even more vacuous and vapid)

  • BecomingJulie

    I’m hardly surprised at the BBC failing to mention the Reason Rally. The BBC are a British organisation, and the overwhelming majority of Britons are functionally agnostic even if they state otherwise on surveys (after all, according to surveys, men have sex with women twice as often as women have sex with men). It would be about as newsworthy to them as a red bus being seen in London.

  • TV200

    At one point, The Blaze asked me if I was interested in speaking to them. I told them that I really wasn’t. I know they are not mainstream. But they are pretty terrible.
    In an aside. It was a pleasure to meet you Hank.

  • timberwoof

    This calls for Pharyngulation. If every reader of FTB would visit their favorite news web sites and put “reason rally” into the search box, maybe the publishers would notice.

  • cag

    McCthulhu, the Province Sunday edition also carried the story (from Agence France-Presse) in the print edition which occupied 1/3 of page 22.

  • Martin Stone

    Nothing in The Guardian.

  • ohioobserver

    On Saturday NPR did a short piece narrated by Scott Simon on (I believe) Weekend Edition. It was kind of wimpy, with an attempt to be “balanced” by mentioning how people of faith do good things, but it was coverage of the event. Does NPR qualify as mainstream?

  • Michael Clarke

    The Guardian did have a less than 100% supportive piece by Sarah Posner.

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