1-February-2013 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Media attention on March for Life criticized as inadequate

While media coverage of the 2013 March for Life exceeded that of previous years, some commenters still believe that it failed to do justice to the size of the event.

The Media Research Center, a media watchdog group, argued that major networks ABC, CBS and NBC treated the march as "barely a footnote," devoting a combined 17 seconds to the Jan. 25 event.

Each year, crowds from across America gather in the nation's capital on the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which effectively legalized abortion throughout the country.

This year - the 40th anniversary of that decision - was highly anticipated and drew an estimated half a million people.

"As a former broadcast reporter, I would presume any large gathering, such as a half-million people in Washington D.C., would call for, at least a 'package' from the site of the march," said Michael Throop, visiting instructor in journalism at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.

Throop explained to EWTN News on Jan. 31 that such a "package" might entail "a live shot at noon" by local media, along with updates "for at least the dinnertime news, and another mention on the late news."

According to Throop, this year's coverage of the march by National Public Radio was "factual, straightforward, and unbiased."

"I consider the NPR piece what I would expect from the news organization: great use of sound, multiple actualities from those involved, and, in all, an effective 'wrap' for radio," he said.

The publicly-funded news outlet reported shortly before the march that the gathering may draw more than 400,000 people. Its coverage included interviews, a photo gallery with pictures of young people at the march and a radio segment aired on "All Things Considered."

However, Dan Gainor, vice president for business and culture at the Media Research Center, said the overall media attention given to the March for Life was far from adequate.

Most major news outlets ran one or two articles on the March for Life and the rally that preceded it. However, their coverage drew criticism from Gainor and others for failing to show the size of the crowds, as well as the huge numbers of young people in attendance, which organizers estimate to be about 80 percent of total participants.

Gainor said that an article in the New York Times' Jan. 26 edition was the first coverage the newspaper has given the march in six years. However, he added, the paper detracted from the huge numbers of "pro-life protestors braving the bitter cold" by also running an article citing Catholics who argue that pro-life views should be equated with gun control laws.

Newsbusters writer Brent Baker observed that several networks devoted less coverage to the march than to a gun protest in Washington, D.C. that was estimated to have drawn about 1,000 people.

The Media Research Center also lamented that throughout past years, most network coverage avoids using the word "life" in describing the March for Life, instead choosing to call the event an "anti-abortion" protest.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=6944#ixzz2JgyZrJsS

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