The Associated Press has a Twitter feed with nearly 1.6 million followers. Those followers received two tweets about a gun control rally and march in Washington, D.C. this weekend.
“Gun control march in Washington to feature Newtown residents, pastors, parents and survivors of gun violence,” read one.
“PHOTOS: Thousands march for gun control on National Mall in Washington,” read another.
Considering the relatively small size of the march (Some said “nearly 1,000.” Others, as noted above, said “thousands.”), it makes one wonder how many links to stories and photo collections were sent out for the massive 40th anniversary March for Life.
The answer, of course, would be zero. Really, the AP Twitter feed never found it worthwhile, in its steady stream of tweets, to even mention the March for Life, much less link to a photo gallery of it.
My family and I participated in the March For Life and, smack dab in the middle of it, we didn’t really have much of a perspective of its size. It was extremely cold — just brutal conditions — so I kept my head down and my hands in my pocket. I knew that the number of Lutherans for Life, which was our contingent, was significantly larger than any previous year. If you watch the video above, which comes not from a mainstream media source but from Roman Catholic broadcast network EWTN, you can get something of a feel for how many people move past one bend in the march over the course of 8 minutes.
Our Lutherans started marching at 1:20 PM and we didn’t make it past the Supreme Court until 3:30 or so. The march goes on at that pace for quite some time.
And yet while only giving the briefest coverage to this massive march — or neglecting to give any at all! — many networks gave tremendous coverage to that gun control rally. Both rallies were described by some outlets as featuring the exact same number of attendees — “thousands” — even though the pro-life rally was exponentially larger (I don’t quite know what it means, but perhaps it’s worth considering that people who seek protection for unborn children are called “anti-abortion” while people who seek to limit 2nd Amendment protections are called “supporters of gun control” or “advocates of gun control.”)
Some readers complained about the lack of coverage on CNN. I don’t know if anyone has done a comprehensive analysis, but when I got home from the march, I watched for coverage of the commemoration of the 55 million unborn children killed via abortion in the last 40 years but only saw some serious attention paid to a dolphin that had gotten trapped in waters in Brooklyn that day and had died. If you wrote it as fiction people would say it was too over-the-top.
Here on CNN’s Political Ticker, in the midst of several posts about gun control advocates, we see this post, featuring a live report from their gun control march. By contrast, the report on the pro-life march — I’m sorry, the march by “opponents of abortion” – featured no live report, just a written story. By the way, the picture accompanying the big AP report on the march was of … counter-protesters. I couldn’t find any photos of the pro-life march at Politico, but here’s a nice photo gallery of the gun control rally. ABC didn’t find time to mention the rally on its broadcast Friday night, but Diane Sawyer did see fit to do a story on how sometimes Subway’s foot-long subs are only 11-inches long.
I could go on. (And if I did go on, I would have many more examples of wretched coverage but also some examples of decent coverage.)
Only 17 years after Roe v. Wade was decided, the Los Angeles Times published a stunning series by David Shaw on the extreme bias the mainstream media showed against those who think these killings are wrong. I heartily encourage you to review the series or the summarized findings. I’ll share two of those findings now:
Events and issues favorable to abortion opponents are sometimes ignored or given minimal attention by the media.
When Roman Catholic bishops individually spoke out on abortion or, collectively, hired a public relations firm to aid them in the battle against abortion, some in the media grumbled about the church’s intrusion into the political arena. Similar media lamentations were forthcoming when bishops criticized (and raised the specter of ex-communication for) public officials who refuse to oppose abortion. But no such criticism was levied at the bishops in earlier years, when they endorsed a nuclear freeze or opposed Reagan Administration economic policies.
Some 23 years after that Times analysis was published, the media still struggle with many of the same problems they were lambasted for then.
We’ll look at what was for me a deeply disappointing example of media bias in coverage of this topic — somewhat related to the second point above — later today.