5 Media Outlets Assert Just ‘Thousands’ Attended the March for Life


Every January, at least 100,000 Americans march for life and for those destroyed by abortion. But as these marchers champion the voiceless, their own voices are left underrepresented by the media.

Americans traveled from across the country to attend the 46th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. on January 18. The pro-life march challenges Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States.

Certain things made this year’s march different from 2018’s. Ben Shapiro taped his podcast live on stage, both Republicans and Democrats spoke at the bipartisan event, and Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise visit. But other things stayed the same – namely, roughly 100,000 pro-life citizens braved the cold to march for the 60 million missing in this country because of abortion.

In the 2019 press packet, the March for Life estimated that approximately 100,000 would participate, which is the same number they counted last year. The march organizers don’t pull that number from out of thin air: That estimate relies on bus permits, metro train numbers, and crowd counts from related march activities.

But many in the media can’t say the same for their estimates. Each year, they resort to saying just “thousands” attended the March for Life, without revealing where that number comes from. They don’t appear to consult with the organizers, who know the event inside and out and who have access to the most accurate numbers.

Here are how five of the most well-known news outlets described the March for Life crowds:

  1. USA Today: Editor Doug Stanglin and reporter Ryan W. Miller noted the “thousands of anti-abortion activists.”
  2. The New York Times: In its very headline, the New York Times declared “Thousands March in Washington at Annual Anti-Abortion Rally.”
  3. The Associated Press: White House reporter Kevin Freking reported that “Thousands of people across the country braved the cold to attend the event.”
  4. The Washington Post: Before the march even began, transportation reporter Luz Lazo anticipated that the “largest annual antiabortion event” would “draw thousands of protesters from across the country Friday for a demonstration.” Following reports also said “thousands.”
  5. NBC News: Along with a video, NBC News tweeted out, “Thousands descended upon Washington for the annual March For Life rally on the National Mall.”

As in years past, pro-life group Students for Life of America released a time-lapse video to show Americans just how many marched for life. While it’s only a minute long, it suggests that tens of thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – attended the 2019 March for Life.

Not only did the media appear to downplay the numbers and frequently describe the event and its marchers as “anti-abortion” rather than “pro-life,” the broadcast networks also overlooked the march with their time. The networks covered the 2019 Women’s March 15 times more than this year’s March for Life during news shows. That means that, since 2013, ABC, CBS, and NBC have spent fewer than 30 minutes on the March for Life.

But that’s not stopping pro-life Americans, who have never marched for the sake of media coverage. Regardless of the travel, the cold, the cost, and, well, the media, they march for life, especially that of the unborn.

And maybe, one day, the media will change, and live up to their journalistic responsibility to report on these voices for the voiceless.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org


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Katie Yoder serves as the associate culture editor at NewsBusters and is a columnist for CatholicVote.org. She is also the Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow for the Media Research Center’s culture division. Follow her on Twitter @k_yoder.

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