“All the news that is (if politically correct) fit to print” seems to be the new motto for American journalism.
Take the coverage by the Philadelphia Inquirer of the huge March for Life in Washington on Jan. 25 compared to much smaller rallies or marches for gun control within days of it. Both causes make valid points in the view of a great many people.
Saturday, Jan. 26 the Inquirer ran a three-column-wide picture at the bottom of page 2 with a headline “Antiabortion rally marks 40 years.” The photo, which showed the lead banner “March for Life,” included a two-line caption that simply read, “Antiabortion demonstrators make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington for a rally Friday to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the landmark ‘Roe v. Wade’ decision legalizing abortion.”
No mention made that the size of the crowd (in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands depending on who is counting) was so large, spilling over to the sidewalks of Constitution Avenue and it and other streets were shut down to traffic for the day. As always, the throng was so great it literally took several hours to pass a single point. When the first people reached the Supreme Court others hadn’t yet left the National Mall where the rally was held. It is the same every year.
Often as not the picture selected by mainstream media is of the dozen or so pro-choice demonstrators who stand by at the Supreme Court, and an equal amount of pro-life advocates, giving the false impression both groups were of equal size.
Come forward to Jan. 27. Now the Inquirer story is “Thousands march in D.C. for gun control” spread across the top of page 3, with a picture and a substantial article five columns wide. How big was the crowd? “It stretched at least two blocks along Constitution Avenue” the Associated Press writer stated, probably with a straight face.
That sounds like less than the 3,000 or so who went to Washington from Philadelphia alone the previous day.
Let’s not beat up the Inquirer too much. It is no worse than most of the rest of the mainstream press when it comes to objectivity in regard to reporting on life issues.
Let’s not even get started on The New York Times.
(Editor’s note: Catholic News Service reports that various media outlets put the estimate for this year’s March for Life crowd at between 500,000 and 650,000. An official crowd estimate has not been provided by police since about 1995. )