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January 22, 1997
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Pro-Life News is No News Unless...
An Explosion Goes Off
MRC Study Finds ABC Censored News At Peaceful Pro-Life Rallies
But Covered Many Liberal Protests; CBS, NBC Just As Bad
Alexandria, Va. --- An explosion in downtown Washington, D.C. near Planned Parenthood's legislative headquarters this morning is guaranteed to spur a flurry of media coverage of the abortion issue. But this is the only time the news media will find it newsworthy to cover the pro-life cause. As a
Media Research Center study has found, the news media, particularly ABC News, have actually censored peaceful pro-life demonstrations in favor of virtually any liberal group with a grievance.
"Our findings reveal that if you're a liberal activist with a cause your chances of getting prime network airtime on ABC News to air your grievance are terrific. But to literally millions and millions of pro-lifers, ABC's message is simple: 'You don't even exist,'" said Media Research Center Chairman
What ABC News Censored
One year ago today some 60,000 pro-lifers participated in the annual March For Life in Washington, and ABC News ignored the story in its entirety. In April, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops held a historic vigil outside the White House asking President Clinton to sign a ban on partial-birth abortion, and even though two American Cardinals participated, ABC again ignored the story.
What ABC News Covered
January 31: ABC News anchor Peter Jennings announced "a major demonstration on behalf of the environment" by religious liberals opposed to Republican reforms of the Endangered Species Act. There was only one problem: according to the Environmental Information Center, which coordinated the activities of this coalition, there was no demonstration.
June 1: The left-wing Children's Defense Fund's "Stand For Children"received six national stories on ABC's
World News Tonight, five more on Good Morning America.
June 23: World News Tonight did a full story on an animal rights march in Washington.
June 30: ABC's Anderson Cooper offered a long, sympathetic portrait of an elderly couple of homosexual males marching in New York City's annual gay pride parade.
August 16: ABC's Bill Blakemore filed a report on a Greenpeace protest in Washington state.
September 30: Peter Jennings reported about an anti-gun group laying out 40,000 pairs of shoes on the Washington Mall as a "silent march" against guns.
October 12: The AIDS quilt was laid on the Washington Mall, and
Good Morning America aired three full segments - one of which led off the show. Minutes later, "another demonstration," the Latino march on Washington was also mentioned.
October 13: World News Tonight ran a full story on the AIDS quilt.
December 1: World News Tonight led with a story on "World AIDS Day" demonstrations.
Other Noteworthy Findings
Foreign Protests: ABC found protests in foreign countries more important than Pro-Life demonstrations here, running full stories on
World News Tonight on French protests regarding deportations of Africans (August 17), a Belgian child molestation verdict (October 20), and beauty pageants in India (November 19).
CBS and NBC: Both CBS and NBC devoted just 19 seconds of airtime each to the March For Life one year ago. CBS ran three stories on the "Stand For Children," NBC ran two full stories on the animal rights march.
"We know there will be thousands of Americans in Washington today peacefully protesting the slaughter of innocent preborn children, and the fact that they still turn out in huge numbers to protest 24 years after the supreme court's decision is more than newsworthy. One can only conclude the networks refusal to cover the pro-life movement is not ignorance, is not an oversight, it is censorship," Bozell said.
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