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March for Life: Final Update - Media Lies

BY SDG

| Posted 1/23/10 at 5:43 PM

 

Final Update

Yesterday I did some live blogging from the March for Life in Washington, DC. (see below).

Today I glanced at some of the mainstream media coverage of the march. The mendacity of the MSM is not to be believed.

Yesterday, tens or even hundreds of thousands of pro-life demonstrators rallied in Washington, DC. Catholic News Agency cited “hundreds of thousands” and quoted an EWTN estimate of 300,000. A police officer at the march told me that the unofficial police estimate was 50,000, but added, “There’s way more than that.” Numerous police officers on the ground told me that attendance was significantly up than last year’s record-breaking levels. One officer seemed a bit worn out by the sheer size of the crowd and the length of the time it took the whole march to get up Constitution Avenue. All I know is it took me from 2:00 to 4:45 to get from the rally site to the Supreme Court building—a distance of about a half-dozen blocks.

Were there counter-demonstrators also? A few, apparently. I’ve seen pictures that show they were there. I asked about them everywhere I went, but not only did I never find any, I didn’t even meet anyone who had—until the very end of the day, when I met a priest who had seen a half-dozen pro-abortion demonstrators with signs standing at the Supreme Court building. Perhaps there had been more earlier, but they had all left by the time I got there (like I said, it took all afternoon).

So here’s the lede on CNN.com’s “coverage” of the March:

Abortion rights supporters and opponents hit the streets of the nation’s capital Friday to mark the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling establishing a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

“Abortion rights supporters and opponents.” Supporters first, opponents second, with no indication whatsoever of the relative sizes of the two groups. Nowhere in the article is there any indication whatsoever of how many of each group were present. Not even “tens of thousands” or even just “thousands” of pro-lifers. Just “Abortion rights supporters and opponents.”

This is sheer mendacity—not even just biased journalism, it’s outright malicious deception.

This was not a meeting or juxtaposition of two opposed demonstrations, however equal or unequal. It was a massive pro-life demonstration with a few counter-demonstrators. We were the event; they were a tiny footnote. That is simply a fact that the CNN.com piece is nakedly attempting to bury.

Equally mind-blowing is the two-photo Flash inset accompanying the piece. Photo 1—the photo you see when you pull up the piece—is a close-up on possibly five pro-choice demonstrators with “Keep Abortion Legal” signs. That’s right: When you pull up the piece, the pro-abortion side is the first photo you see.

If you click to the second photo (which most readers won’t), you’ll see another closeup, this one of a pro-life banner carried by a number of pro-life demonstrators—more people than the first picture shows, but nothing like a photo to give you an idea of the scale of the demonstration. Not one long shot of the length of Constitution Avenue showing the sea of people in all directions as far as the eye can see. (Take a gander at the photo above (see larger photo). Look off into the distance at how far back the crowd goes. And that’s only a fraction of the total crowd.)

Ironically, even that one photographic bit of evidence from the buried CNN.com photo refutes another lie promoted by a Newsweek.com blog post, that “young women” were “missing” at the March—that “a majority of the participants are in their 60s.”

Take a gander at CNN.com’s buried picture. Who’s carrying that banner? Why ... They’re all young women! I guess CNN didn’t get the memo on the “no young women” meme.

The post does go on to indicate that the “no young women” meme is based on previous years, and that a “surge of young women” is possible this year. I was there last year too. There was no shortage of young women.

“A majority of the participants are in their 60s”? A majority? As in over half? Is Newsweek serious? If one person in 20 was in their 60s, it would be a lot. Take another look at that photo. Can you find anyone who looks like they’re probably in their 60s? If you look long and hard enough, you might find enough to count on one hand. How many can you find who look to be in their 20s or 30s? It’s like every other person.

Hat tip to Jill Stanek, who cites a Culture and Media Institute report on more atrocious coverage at the CNN network:

Near the end of the 3p ET hour of CNN’s Rick’s List on Friday, host Rick Sanchez couldn’t seem to figure out who was protesting at the March for Life in Washington D.C.: “It’s the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade case….both sides being represented today, but it does appear to me, as I look at these signs that - which side is represented the most….Do we know?”...

As Rick puzzled over which side was more represented at the protest, numerous pro-life signs could be clearly seen on screen.

Returning from the commercial break, Sanchez clarified, but still seemed completely unfamiliar with the annual event: “As far as we can tell, following this protest on this day, the bulk of the protesters that we have seen here - that doesn’t mean there aren’t others, because we haven’t gone out and counted them individually - seem to be anti-abortion activists. We’ve seen more pro-life signs than we have the others.”

“We haven’t gone out and counted them individually.” Not to, like, go out on a limb or anything. I could totally be wrong about this.

I think of myself as a pretty jaded person, but I admit to being gobsmacked by the naked disregard for truth of the media coverage of the 2010 March for Life. Shame on every so-called journalist involved.


Live-blogging the March: Starting Post

Live from the 2010 March for Life in Washington, D.C. ... well, I will be, anyway. This morning I’ll be driving from New Jersey to Washington, and this afternoon I hope to be updating this post with dispatches from the National Mall and the march up Constitution Avenue. (I’ll be pecking away on my iPhone, so we’ll see how that goes.)

This will be my second consecutive year attending the D.C. march (I also attended once many years ago). Last year I went with my dad and our eldest, Sarah (now 15), both of whom are returning with me this year; our second, David (11), is also joining us this year.

The weather promises to be bitter. Reports had called for snow, and some are still forecasting precipitation.

More this afternoon.

Update 1

11:15. Arrived at Greenbelt Metro Station at about 10:45am. Station was full of pro-lifers buying tickets, but that’s not why it took us half an hour to get our tickets and be on our way. D.C. has the best train system in the country and the worst ticketing system. We literally needed to use three different machines to get tickets for the four of us. The ticketing advisor guy deserves a raise, and the engineers deserve early retirement.

My dad is chatting on the train with a priest who drove in from Pittsburgh. He says he’d like to have brought his parishioners, but as he’s a prison chaplain, they were otherwise occupied.

I’m guessing half the passengers on the train are here for the march.

12.00. I think I underestimated the pro-life contingent on the train. Hard to tell because people were getting on at other stations. Got our first dirty look from someone who entered the train around the National Archives.

Exited L’Enfant Station (gotta love that!) and stepped right into a crowd of banner-carrying Knights of Columbus from Ocean City, Md. As we approach the Mall, there are banners everywhere.

12:30. The Mall is so crowded we’ve had trouble getting near enough to the rally to hear the loudspeakers. Worse, I’ve been wandering all over the Mall and can’t get an Internet signal to submit this update.

Now speaking: Georgette Forney from Anglicans for Life and Silent No More. 

Biggest banner near me: Father Jenkins: Free the Notre Dame 88!


Update 2

12:45. Sam Brownback got cheers with a line about living in a majority pro-life country.

Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana: “Abortion is not healthcare.”

Todd Akin of Missouri pointed out that God works in mysterious ways ... Obamacare was just dealt a blow from Massachusetts.

Some big banners:

MIT Pro-Life
Witness for Life — Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina
Providence College for Life — Ego Sum Vita
Dominican Friars for Life (sharp dressers too!)
Florida State Catholic Student Union
National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Doylestown, Pa.


Update 3

2pm. Continuing to have connectivity problems ... Lost some stuff I tried to upload.

Lots of Catholic bishops in attendance. I lost track while they were naming them, but it was maybe a score or so.

Orthodox Metropolitan Jonah (OCA) spoke. He noted that the Orthodox Church is now a permanent part of the March for Life. (I also saw the same large Orthodox Christians for Life banner I remember from last year.) He had the crowd responding “Glory forever!” when he said “Glory to Jesus Christ!”

I think the orthodox rabbi who spoke a while ago blew a shofar at the end of his talk.

A couple of Middle Eastern-looking boys walked by with homemade signs ... in Arabic.

Time to march.


Update 4

2:45. As usual, the Mall is so clogged with people that the “march” is beginning more as a stand. I think we’ve moved 20 feet in as many minutes.

Everyone is stopped dead; they’re also prayerful and joyful.

A group of young people in matching white hats began the march by singing pro-life takeoffs on “We Will Rock You” (“We Are Pro-Life”) and “We Are the Champions,” led my a charismatic young man with a mic who was actually up on the shoulders of a young priest. Now that same group is praying a Rosary. Behind me another group is singing what sounds like Jewish music.


Update 5

3:10. Just starting to move now after an hour and 15 minutes.

We just passed a Fox News van. Haven’t seen any other media.

The crowd seems very energized by this week’s Massachusetts vote. I talked to some volunteers who felt sure this year’s crowd is bigger than last year’s.

3:20. Finally on Constitution.


Update 6

3:35. There’s EWTN.

Someone tells me that liberal bloggers are claiming there are no young women at the march.

I am in a sea of young women. All around me are literally dozens of young women — 17, 18, 20, 22, 24 — who laughed out loud when I told them about the liberal spin and began announcing their ages. One person told me the bus his group came in was probably two-thirds women under 25.

Chant on my left: “We love babies, yes we do! We love babies, how ‘bout you?”

Passed some policemen. Allegedly there are counterdemonstrators somewhere. I’ve kept my eyes peeled, but I see nothing but pro-life signs as far as the eye can see.

3:50. As we approach the Capitol, the march is slowing again. 
Constitution Avenue is a sea of people in all directions.

At the side of the road is a rabbi holding a sign saying “Rabbis for Life.” Someone from the crowd shouts “God bless you, rabbi!”


Update 7

4:25. Constitution still mobbed. We’re stopped dead at the moment.

I spoke to a number of police officers standing at the roadside. All of them have confirmed that the march has been quiet and peaceful — “a good crowd,” one volunteered. None had seen any counterdemonstrators, although one said he had heard there were some at the rally site (“but we haven’t heard from them since then”).

4:30. Finally getting to First Street.

Asked about the march, another policeman volunteers, “It’s been fine — just long. This is a great crowd — definitely one of the better demonstrations.” The officer was emphatic the crowd was larger than last year. He also hadn’t heard anything from the opposition: “You guys way outnumber them.”


Update 8

Passed the Supreme Court building at 4:45.

Finally got confirmation from a priest who had actually seen four or five counter-demonstrators at the Supreme Court building.

Spoke to another policeman who pronounced the march a “hell of a turnout, much bigger than last year.”

When I mentioned the claim about the dearth of young women, the officer laughed. “That’s a lie. There’s more women than men.”


Final Update: See above.