Media Analysts Find Biased Coverage of March for Women’s Lives

The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) found media coverage of the March for Women’s Lives was light despite record numbers of attendees. The group did an analysis of coverage of the March and found only eight stories about the March from the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN). Meanwhile, other cable news networks ran stories about the March that were focused on the handful of anti-abortion protestors holding counter demonstrations (FOX, MSNBC). FAIR compared coverage of the March for Women’s Lives with that of the Promise Keepers march in 1997. Despite the fact that the Promise Keepers, a misogynistic, evangelical men’s organization, brought only 480,000-750,000 people to Washington, DC (compared to over 1 million for the March for Women’s Lives), ABC, NBC, and CBS ran 26 stories on the Promise Keepers march. The print media also under-covered the March, according to FAIR. Of the three major weekly news magazines, only Newsweek covered the March at all, and that was only as part of a story falsely claiming that young people are ambivalent about abortion rights. In fact, young women and men made up over one-half of the March attendance. Though many newspapers in the nation and worldwide covered the story on their front pages, there was little follow-up coverage. Karen O’Connor, head of the Women and Politics Institute at American University, told Women’s eNews that editors decided to make the March a “one-day” story. FAIR concludes that the reason the March received such light coverage despite its historic numbers was the fact that women’s issues “routinely get short shrift in the media, and during this election year, news outlets found even more reason to discount women’s voices É By minimizing coverage of the event and reducing women’s rights to a low-ranking concern in the presidential horse race, television news stifled critical public dialogue on women’s rights and health, and relegated women and their concerns to the sidelines.” TAKE ACTION with FAIR and voice your disappointment about the scant coverage of the March for Women’s Lives TAKE ACTION Prove that the March drew historic numbers of reproductive rights supporters to Washington, DC. Make sure you and your friends and family were counted as being part of this massive event! DONATE to help the Feminist Majority take the next step in building the movement for reproductive rights and social justice


FAIR 5/3/04; WomenÕs eNews 5/6/04; Feminist Majority

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