Roe Warriors: The Media's Pro-Abortion Bias
Table of Contents:
- Executive Summary
- 1. One side is presented as ideological, the other is not.
- 2. The abortion issue is a divisive matter in only one political party.
- 3. Reporters have shown little interest in the facts behind partial-birth abortion.
- 4. Pro-life protests and activities are not news.
- 5. Pro-abortion violence is not news.
- Recommendations for Future Fairness:
4. Pro-life protests and activities are not news.
Sixty thousand people came to Washington in January 1996 to join the annual March for Life protesting on the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. Network coverage? CBS and NBC gave it 19 seconds, ABC gave it nothing. In 1996, ABC demonstrated that only left-wing protests are news, no matter how small:
On January 31, 1996, Peter Jennings announced "a major demonstration on behalf of the environment." Strangely, the story that followed told of a press conference opposing Republican reform of the Endangered Species Act by liberal evangelicals. When asked where the "demonstration" was, the liberal Environmental Information Center, which organized the press conference, said there wasn't one.
On June 1, the left-wing Children's Defense Fund organized a "Stand for Children" to oppose welfare reform. ABC didn't do one story - they filed six on World News Tonight, and five on Good Morning America, including two separate interviews with CDF chief Marian Wright Edelman, one before the event and one after.
On June 23, ABC's World News Tonight aired a full report by Deborah Weiner on an animal rights march in Washington, DC, and the clash with AIDS protesters over animal research.
On June 30, ABC reporter Anderson Cooper provided a long, sympathetic portrait of two elderly gay males marching in New York City's annual Gay Pride parade.
On August 16, ABC reporter Bill Blakemore filed a full story on a small Greenpeace protest over fishing by factory trawler, including 27 seconds of Greenpeace promotional video.
On September 30, Peter Jennings mentioned a anti-gun group laying out 40,000 pairs of shoes in Washington as a "silent march" against guns.
On October 12, the AIDS quilt got its annual placement on the Washington Mall. Good Morning America aired three full segments on the AIDS quilt, one leading off the show on the 13th. Minutes later, ABC also mentioned "another demonstration," a Latino march on Washington. World News Tonight also aired a full AIDS quilt report on the 13th.
ABC even saw protests in foreign lands as more newsworthy than the March for Life in 1996, producing full World News Tonight reports on another "Silent March" for gun control, with small crowds gathering in front of gun manufacturers (The Washington Post counted 109 people in Alexandria, Virginia), drew stories on all the networks.