Last week, the Media Research Center joined other anti-abortion groups in demanding that "the media" cover the annual March for Life, even though it offered no evidence that other annual protest marches get the kind of coverage it demands, or that the march itself does anything inherently newsworthy. MRC chief Brent Bozell is quoted as saying:
After last year’s media blackout of the March for Life, the networks owe it to their viewers to meaningfully and accurately cover Friday’s march. The media have covered all manner of protests in our nation’s capital no matter how large or small, but they refuse to cover hundreds of thousands of peaceful marchers advocating for the unborn. We will raise our voices on behalf of these precious children and let the media know that they must cover the march. If the media want to retain any shred of credibility, they will give the March for Life and other life issues the full and fair coverage they deserve.
But does the MRC "news" division, CNSNews.com, demonstrate the kind of "full and fair coverage" of abortion it demands from "the media"?
Nope. CNS' abortion coverage is heavily slanted to the anti-abortion side, with pro-choice views -- when they're not being censored completely -- attacked and given no opportunity to respond to those attacks. CNS' runup to the March for Life was particularly telling. For instance:
- In a Jan. 19 article touting a poll climing that "rhe vast majority of Americans, including those who label themselves pro-choice, favor restrictions on abortion," Lauretta Brown not only failed to obtain any pro-choice response to the poll, she failed to disclose that the organization that commissioned the poll, the Knights of Columbus, identifies itself as an anti-abortion group and, thus, has an interest in commissioning polls that reflect its views on the subject.
- A Jan. 20 article by Barbara Hollingsworth touted a doctor "who bought out an abortion practitioner 16 years ago is now using the abortionist’s own instruments of death to deliver a pro-life message." Hollingsworth made no apparent effort to contact a pro-choice activist to respond to the claims the doctor made.
- A Jan. 22 article by Susan Jones uncritically repeated David Daleiden's claim that his secretly (and possibly illegally) recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials were not "edited to mislead." Jones ignored extensive evidence that Daleiden's videos were, in fact, deceptively edited.
- A Jan. 22 article by Melanie Hunter repeats Carly Fiorina's anti-abortion attacks at the March for Life, including referring th "the horrific truth of the Planned Parenthood videos." Hunter sought no pro-choice response to Fiorina's remarks, and she, like Jones, ignored evidence that the videos are deceptively edited.
- A Jan. 25 article by Jones quoted a Republican member of Congress smearing Planned Parenthood as "child abuse incorporated." Jones made no attempt to contact Planned Parenthood for a response.
The only article CNS published amid its March for Life coverage was an unbylined Jan. 22 article noting President Obama's statement on the Roe v. Wade anniversary. It carried the biased headline "58,586,256 Abortions Later--Obama Celebrates Roe v. Wade: It Affirmed Freedom."
If the MRC's own "news" coverage of abortion is so wildly biased -- something it has historically been -- what moral authority does it have to demand that other, more legitimate news outlets fit its coverage to the MRC's whims.
We've written CNS asking these questions. We'll post a response if CNS provides one.