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July 22, 1998

As The Abortion Issue Returns To The Front Burner ...

MRC'S Five-Year Review of Coverage Exposes Media
as an Extension of the Pro-Abortion Movement

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Read the Special Report -- Roe Warriors: The Media's Pro-Abortion Bias

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- In a just released exhaustive five-year content analysis of abortion news on television networks, in news magazines, and in national newspapers since 1993, the Media Research Center today exposed the establishment media as nothing more than an extension of the pro-abortion movement that has grossly misinformed the public.

MRC analysts studied morning, evening and magazine shows on ABC, CBS and NBC as well as nightly programs on CNN; analysts also examined reports in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report as well as newspaper coverage in the Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press.

"As the abortion issue returns to prominence with congressional votes on partial-birth abortion and parental consent, it is imperative to reveal to the public that the national establishment media cannot be trusted to effectively inform them about this issue. Our review of coverage over the past five years repeatedly - and disturbingly - shows the national media to be pro-abortion advocates with an unrestrained megaphone," said MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham who conducted the study.


How The Media Use Labels ... The pro-life side is presented as motivated, and therefore marginalized, by ideology, but the pro-abortion side is not. MRC's review of 1050 news stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today during 1995 and 1996 (the '96 election cycle) mentioning any one of four pro-life or pro-abortion organizations revealed the pro-life groups were labeled as "conservative" almost half the time, in 47 percent of the stories. The pro-abortion groups were labeled "liberal" in only 3 percent of the stories.

How Abortion Is Made A "GOP Problem"... In a three-year review of print and television coverage of abortion's political advantages and disadvantages, the MRC found that the media, especially the network television news shows, only emphasized the abortion issue as a division among Republicans. Rare was a story about how several members of the congressional Democrat leadership - as well as many Democrat members - voted to override President Clinton's veto of the partial-birth abortion ban last year. Despite as many as one-third of House Democrats voting against abortion bills and pro-life Democratic speakers like Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey being denied the right to speak at the Democratic conventions in 1992 and 1996, the pro-life Democrat is an endangered species in the media. In the three months before both political conventions, the GOP struggle over abortion elicited 60 network news stories to just one for the Democrats.

How Reporters Distort Partial-Birth Abortion ... In a 14-month study from November 1995 through 1996, the MRC found a full one-third of network news stories on partial-birth abortion have offered inaccurate claims and statistics. Many stories called the procedure "rare" or "little used" without investigating, until abortion advocate Ron Fitzsimmons admitted he'd "lied through his teeth" in calling it rare on national television. He then suggested up to 5,000 a year were committed, many when baby and mother are healthy.

How The Media Ignore Pro-Life Marches And Activities ... The MRC review found the annual March for Life in Washington on the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision has either been ignored or only given a scant few seconds of coverage on network newscasts. Liberal marches and protests (sometimes involving far fewer participants) draw more attention. While the March for Life has drawn more than 100,000 Americans to Washington, only to be blacked out by the networks, just 100 people standing in front of a gun factory to push gun control makes all the networks.

How The Media Ignore Pro-Abortion Violence ... The MRC review found that since the 1993 shooting of Dr. David Gunn, through the current manhunt for clinic bombing suspect Eric Rudolph, the networks have aired over 500 stories on violence against abortionists and clinic workers while ignoring the horrific violence of abortion against the unborn child. The networks also continue to ignore the violence and harassment committed by abortion advocates and abortionists, such as the shots fired at a pro-life demonstrator in Louisiana.

"After five years of gathering evidence the case against the national media on the abortion issue is open and shut. The media do not tell the truth about abortion. They have left the American people completely misinformed about this issue and they don't show any signs of righting themselves," Graham said.


Media Interviews
To schedule an interview with Mr. Graham, or another MRC spokesman, contact Bob Adams or Keith Appell at (703)-683-5004.






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