Every year when I survey the thousands of pilgrims present for the March for Life in Washington, I am in awe of the prayerful, peaceful and joyful dispositions of the overwhelming majority of attendees, young and old, in no matter what weather conditions.
I am also struck by the sheer ignorance of the mainstream media to properly contextualize this event when there are ample sources involved in the march who can put it into proper, objective perspective. Being pro-life is not ideological. It is an objective moral good.
However, in pushing its false narrative that pro-lifers are a group of illiterate, misogynistic, white supremacist, fundamentalist Christians, instead of a diversely socio-economic, multigenerational, multiethnic population, the mainstream media misfired greatly — and very publicly — this year, exposing its bias, as well as leading its millions of readers to rash judgment.
The very next day after the March for Life, a video clip — allegedly showing a group of Catholic high-school pilgrims from Kentucky in Washington for the march, led by a smirking teenager wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap, accosting an elderly Native-American tribal leader who was in D.C. for the annual Indigenous Peoples’ March the same day — went viral, and the backlash in the mainstream and social media was severe. Ideologues with axes to grind against the government, the pro-life movement, the Catholic Church and all religion quickly embraced the narrative. The young Kentucky pro-lifers faced death threats, in some cases. Sadly, they were also hit by “friendly fire,” denounced by many faithful Catholics who fell victim to the social-media epidemic.
It didn’t take long for a fuller, however more complicated, narrative to emerge: After the march, the Kentuckians, being harassed by a fringe religious group called the Black Israelites, chanted some of the slogans they used at the pro-life event for solidarity.
The elderly tribal leader confronted the young high-schooler, who said he smiled to show the man he wasn’t being belligerent.
However, in these days of shoot first, ask questions later, the optics of the young white man “smirking” at an elderly American Indian surrounded by a group of white people was all it took to blast the issue into the social-media stratosphere.
It was wrong. But many media outlets would rather push an ideology than report what is true.
And rash judgment and character assassination, whether it’s attacking someone in the Church, someone political or someone we know, is something to be avoided at all costs.
Thankfully, the issue has been further clarified, and many apologies have been made.
We pray and hope that we can all learn a lesson from this — and that we won’t let that unfortunate video serve as the last word on the extraordinary youth component of the March for Life.
That’s the real story the media ignores every year, but we don’t. We can’t.
God bless you!