Today is the 42nd annual March for Life, in which pro-lifers from across the country march on the Supreme Court on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Though climate conditions depressed numbers last year, in 2013 the March for Life may have drawn as many as 650,000 people. But as the Public Editor of the NYT noted last year, the paper of record seriously under-covered 2014’s March for Life, with the print edition carrying only a captioned photo but no article:
The march may happen every year, and this one may have been smaller than usual, but it still is a major event, and there were fresh angles available, including the more inclusive approach, the large number of young people involved and the difficulties of participating in the storm.The lack of staff coverage unfortunately gives fuel to those who accuse The Times of being anti-Catholic, and to those who charge that the paper’s news coverage continually reflects a liberal bias. But more important, the event had significant news value. In Thursday’s paper, it deserved more than a photograph.
With 650,000 people, the March for Life is twice as large as last September’s People’s Climate March in New York City, in which an estimated 311,000 Americans protested international inaction on climate change. The media gave the People’s Climate March glowing coverage. Time Magazine called it the “largest social demonstration of the past decade” while USA Today referred to “flocks of vivid color” and embedded a tweet with a picture of a 4-year-old “marching for her future.” The NYT called the climate march a “self-consciously inclusive affair” that was “mostly for concerned ordinary people” who came to the march “in vast numbers.”As the March happens this year, be on the look out for media disparities like this. The pro-life movement is large and young, and women support many of its policies more than men do. It is not going away, but the coverage doesn’t often reflect these realities, which are inconvenient for the pro-choice movement. Abortion is one of those issues the media is consistently unable to cover well. This year will likely be no different.