ABC and CBS Ignore Huge Pro-Life March

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on January 30, 2013

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-Read the excerpt below from Brent Baker at
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

From a post by Brent Baker at (original post date 1/26/13):
The annual pro-life march, this year marking the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision, drew [hundreds] of thousands to Washington, DC on Friday [DC police do not provide estimates, but numbers were reported between 500,000 and 650,000], but didn’t garner a syllable of coverage on Friday’s World News on ABC nor the CBS Evening News. Yet on Saturday night, both newscasts highlighted a pro-gun control protest in DC which CBS anchor Jim Axelrod pegged at drawing “close to a thousand people.”

[There were also rallies in cities across the country.  Over 50,000 people attended the March for Life in San Francisco.]

The NBC Nightly News noted both protests in DC. …  This 15 seconds from NBC’s Brian Williams was the totality of broadcast network evening newscast coverage of the pro-life march: “In Washington today, thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators marched to the steps of the Supreme Court, protesting the landmark decision that legalized abortion. Annual ‘March for Life,’ as it’s called, this year coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Roe versus Wade decision.”  …..

While ABC on Friday night didn’t find time for either the pro-life march or the court ruling, anchor Diane Sawyer made time for an update on the supposed controversy over complaints Subway’s “foot-long” subs are sometimes only eleven inches long. Sawyer allocated  28 seconds to this:

And now at the top of our Instant Index tonight is that apology from Subway. Fans of the foot-long sandwich, you may recall, reported that some of those sandwiches are falling short by one inch. 11 inches, not 12 inches long. Well today, Subway said they are sorry. And they’re redoubling their efforts to assure consistency and correct length in every sandwich they serve. And patrons will still be getting out their rulers.

Sawyer also made room for 22 seconds to relay how Friday was Jack Lew’s last day as chief of staff at the White House and the first for his replacement, Denis McDonough, followed by a full story from Jon Karl on how Hillary Clinton’s glasses have lines in the lenses designed to help her double-vision following her concussion.

On Saturday, ABC anchor David Muir announced: “We’re going to turn to Washington tonight where thousands are braving the cold, marching and demanding that lawmakers to do something to keep tragedies like Newtown, Connecticut from ever happening again.”

After a clip of Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton declaring “the gun lobby can be stopped, my friends, they can be stopped,” correspondent Reena Ninan concluded her full story: “Voices in the crowd taking the first steps in a long push to reform the nation’s gun control laws.”

Saturday CBS Evening News anchor Jim Axelrod had a short item on the gun protest, leading into a full story on how women who own guns view the proposed new gun control measures. …


1.  What types of bias did ABC and CBS display in the excerpt below?

2. Is the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans marched for life in Washington, DC on Friday a newsworthy event?  Explain your answer.  (If only a thousand marched would it be newsworthy?)

3.  Why do you think ABC and CBS reported on one thousand people that marched in support of gun control, but did not report on the hundereds of thousands in the March for Life?

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.


1.  Bias by story selection and omission.

2.  Opinion question. Answers vary.

3.  Opinion question. Answers vary.