News blackout

Agenda-driven mainstream media all but ignore West Coast Walk for Life

COMMENTARY

By Gibbons J. Cooney
Special to California Catholic Daily

The efforts required by San Francisco’s major media outlets to avoid covering the Walk for Life West Coast bordered on obsession.

Any event that would bring 50,000+ persons to a demonstration, any event that would cause the closure of San Francisco’s busiest street for more than a mile, any event that would cause the San Francisco Muni to reroute rail line F, and bus lines 2, 5, 6, 8, 8X, 9, 10, 12, 14, 14L, 19, 21, 27, 30, 31, 38, 38L, 45, and 71, could fairly be classified as “news.” 

But when a newspaper’s agenda prevents it from covering news, one is almost forced to sympathize. It’s like watching a recovering alcoholic stalking down the liquor aisle at Safeway — jaw clenched, looking neither to the right nor left, hoping to reach the safe haven of frozen strawberries or Occupy Wall Street.

ABC TV did a decent job covering the event. KTVU television had an article, but no video, on its website with the lead: “Several thousand anti-abortion activists marched in San Francisco Saturday…” Their own article later contradicted their own lead by kicking their estimate up to 10,000. That was it for TV. NBC TV: nothing. CBS TV: nothing.

KCBS radio had a story covering the event.

The only article the San Francisco Chronicle, the city’s major daily, did on the Walk For Life West Coast was prior to the event — and that C.W. Nevius’ column advising San Franciscans to ignore it! His editors, at least, appear to have taken his advice. The paper did send photographer Michael Macor to cover the event. He took some nice shots. They reproduced one in their newspaper. No article accompanied the photo. The Chronicle did reproduce nine photos on its website, still with no story, only a caption that read: “Thousands protest abortion Saturday at the eighth Walk for Life West Coast on S.F.’s Market Street. The crowd stretched from City Hall to Powell Street. Abortion rights supporters rallied at Justin Herman Plaza.”

Contrast this with the Chronicle’s coverage of Occupy Wall Street. Over the past 90 days, theChronicle has published 415 articles on Occupy Wall Street, whose numbers are nothing compared to the Walk for Life West Coast. In fact, my favorite headline covering the Walk was in the left-wing SFBay.ca, which said: “Anti-Abortion Rally Does What Occupy Couldn’t,” and opened their story with the words “How awkward…”

Avoiding reporting such a story would seem to require a greater effort than covering it, and bears out the truth of George Orwell’s observation: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

While conservative complaints of media bias are commonplace, that doesn’t mean they aren’t true. They are. It is worth noting that pro-abortion activists are convinced that the media is on their side. On the same day as the Walk for Life West Coast, pro-abortionists held a tiny rally at Justin Herman Plaza. In the KTVU-TV article cited above, their demonstration was reported to have numbered “over 200.” However, a San Francisco photojournalist with the moniker “Protest Shooter,” who actually went to the event, and took pictures, reported that there were no more than 80 persons in attendance. Be that as it may, it is a fact that leftists are justifiably convinced that the mainstream or corporate media, which they profess to despise, has their back.

Indybay.org is a website that pushes a smorgasbord of leftist causes. Their “Womyn” page had an entry for January 21 — “West Coast Rally for Reproductive Justice.” It was a photo essay about the tiny pro-abortion crowd at Justin Herman Plaza. The author wrote, “Reviewing the news coverage on NBC, CBS and ABC SF Bay Area affiliates, the pro-choice rally was given good coverage. The TV newscasters gave their ‘oh, here they come again, yawn’ coverage of the gathering in Civic Center and by now ho-hum march of thousands of dazed looking outsiders.”

 

READER COMMENTS

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 3:43 AM By Anne
If all those wonderful people who took part in the March for Life and their families just stopped buying those newspapers for Lent and gave the money to Emergency Pregnancy Centres as their Lenten Charity, I can assure you that the next march for life will be on front pages. Why support those who ridicule and try deny you exist.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 3:46 AM By Dottie
The East Coast has had to put up with this media bias for years. They march when Congress is in session, not on a weekend. This year they had an estimated 400,000 marchers. Many Bishops are actively involved. Next year ask all your friends to watch EWTN for full and accurate coverage by sending them all emails 2 or 3 days prior to each march. The secular media wants to control public opinion and elections.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 4:01 AM By jjc
The East bay paper,”The Daily Review” gave the march front page coverage, in a small article , specifying participation at 50 k.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 5:18 AM By Canisius
No one should be surprised that the media, in the hip pocket of the anti- Christ, anti-Church, anti-life World Order, would ignore us because they can’t kill us…yet.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 6:06 AM By k
The media bias in blatent in the Washington Post”s coverage of the March for Life in Washington D.C.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 6:37 AM By jp
Jesus did not care about media publicity. In fact he always told people, “Don’t tell anyone about this or who I am.”


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 6:59 AM By InformedAndFree
Next year protesters should actually go into different the news media offices (tv, newspaper, magazines) and have a “sit-in” or march in front of them. The numbers can’t be small like 10 or 20. Peaceful protesters need to fill the lobbies to overflowing. Of course they will ask you to leave – but they sure won’t ignore you. Also, different people should call their offices the day before the Walk For Life 2013 and ask if they plan to cover it. They should receive enough calls to report to management “Hey, we’re getting a call every 15 minutes”. Lastly, protesters should take their own video and pictures then submit them to their local hometown newspapers. Small newspapers don’t have the staff to attend every event, but quite a few will run pictures of a significant number of local residents participating in large events (if the pictures are good).


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 8:46 AM By Tracy
InformedAndFree. Thanks for the wonderful tips. I especially like the one about contacting your local small town newspaper (where they still exist) with photos and a story of your groups pilgrimage to this event. Most of these papers receive their information from the local folk and from main stream media sources. If neither of these sources come forward, they won’t know about it. Yes, they too may choose to censor the information, but if you don’t try you’ll never know.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 8:49 AM By Harry
Anne, I fully agree with your suggestion. I would include TV as well, however, and not just during Lent, but all the time. I don’t watch any of the so called mainstream media Channels. Fox News and EWTN constitutes my entire TV fare. Too bad there is no a package that let’s one select and pay for just these two channels. Nor do I read any of the so-called main stream papers, like NY Times, LA Times, SF Chronicle etc. Yet, I’ll bet I’m at least as well-informed as the ‘average person’. We simply don’t need these organs of malignancy in our lives. By patronizing them we are really contributing to the culture of death which they vigorously promote. I think the phrase ‘in the hip pocket of the anti-Christ, anti-Church, anti-life World Order’ describes them very well.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 9:54 AM By Idaho Pete
When will the leadership of the pro-life movement, nationwide begin to realize that the number one most destructive powerful enemy of the life movement is not the courts or abortion politicians, who yes make things happen, but in fact is and has always been through it’s powerful power of persuasion the secular pro-abortion mass media? Think of this,because of them and their either biased reporting or non-reporting the pro-life message is so greatly diminished, no matter how many tens of thousands march leaving the effort with a feeling that its futile. I have, in recent years, believed the pro-life movement should change tactics, pick a nice summer day and, have a nationwide march called “The Truth in Media Pro-life March”. March, this time though, to the corporate headquarters of the print and TV medias, their printing offices and TV stations, appoint a good spokesperson for each group with camera persons, protest the media’s bias and also push the pro-life message. Politely get in their faces, civially. There’s no way they can ignore us then and I believe the effort would have an immense profound effect on the nation and in overturning Roe v Wade.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 11:28 AM By SDG
@Friday: “Jesus did not care about media publicity. In fact he always told people, ‘Don’t tell anyone about this or who I am.'” Bible studies reality check! Jesus had a dangerous secret to protect — a secret which, when revealed, led to his crucifixion. Furthermore, he ultimately told his disciples to go out into the world and proclaim the truth to every creature. Pentecost was the beginning of God’s PR movement, and 3000 converts were baptized that day. Jesus met St. Paul on the Damascus road, and St. Paul spent the rest of his life giving Jesus as much publicity as he could.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 11:40 AM By WOODY GUIDRY
DEAR JP, AM I TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU THINK WE SHOULD KEEP THE GOOD WORKS OF GOD SECRET, BASED ON THE ONE THOUGHT YOU SENT TO CCD?


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 11:43 AM By JMJ
Even though Obama’s media refuses to see and act on the truth, there was one very special place that witnessed all of the marches and were sending their blessings down on all of those that were standing, praying, fasting, or marching: HEAVEN & with God, that is all that we need. God Bless all of you that were able to be visible voice for the unborn. +JMJ+


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 12:06 PM By Arness
I must stick up for where I used to work. Yes.The media has an anti-Christian agenda (but not an anti Muslim agenda). There are two dailies in San Francisco. The Examiner had a story and photo. See sfexaminerDOTcom for jan. 21 or search for walk for life.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 12:31 PM By Idaho Pete
It took 1.2 to 1.4 million innocent babies to be killed from last year’s parade to this years and the same will happen to the next anniversary and we can’t forget that. We need to do everything possible within the law, protesting anywhere and everwhere if need be to SAVE BABIES’ LIVES. I believe that GOD DEMANDS NOTHING LESS OF US.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 12:37 PM By k
The Washington Post has come out with an editorial criticizing the Obama administrations ruling on the coverage of birth contol and siding with the Catholic employers.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 1:04 PM By CS
Oh, heck, people–we don’t need them! Use CNN’s iReport site to post video of all the Marches for Life. Use YouTube, use the other video sharing sites, and pour out the new media coverage. You get enough attention that way, it’ll eventually hit the mainstream media’s regular coverage. There’s enough honest people tucked away in cracks and corners all over the world that have no idea there are things this big that never get covered, such that when they hear about this, they’ll ask questions and pay to hear answers.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 2:49 PM By contrary
Going on the March for Life is a real eye-opener for anyone who reads or watches the secular news media. When you see the huge crowds with your own eyes, the “news blackout” becomes painfully obvious. When a crowd of people big enough to fill several football stadiums simply “disappears” from public view, you begin to understand that the media are not showing you the world as it really is. The “occupy” movement is miniscule in comparison to the pro-life movement, but the media would give you the opposite impression.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 3:48 PM By Mary
2011 there was a facebook group “I’m bringing my smartphone to the March for Life” and one “I’m bringing my smartphone to the Walk for Life West Coast” They had a comprehensive list of major newrooms and the contacts for them. I don’t think there was any better coverage than without the feed to these newsrooms. The SF Chron and Oakland Trib used the AP newsfeed for their on line presence. I heard the Chron had no print coverage. Trib had a single small photo with a caption about a 49er fan looking at the marchers. With the vast majority of those at the Walk for Life being under 40, it’s a sad lesson to come home after the Walk and see the reality of the blatant black out. The City putting us on a new route has made more local people aware of the Walk.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 4:36 PM By Rama
Yeah, Cooney! Thank you, from me and the St. Margaret Mary crowd. Rama P.S. Fr. Moreau was sick in New Jersey, but went to the March for Life in Washington anyway


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 5:25 PM By Realist
None of the schemes to get publicity for the Walk for Life will mean a dang thing. The media know what the real story is. The Catholic Church, is evidenced by most of its bishops who really don’t care about abortion one way or the other. They want more food stamps, drivers’ licenses, money for their coffers, abolition of the death penalty, etc., no matter what. The struggle against abortion is something they may have to endure to pacify the silly pro-life people. Sorry, but all those walkers are considered a joke by the media. The bishops have proven time and time again that they are slaves to the almighty dollar and to socialism. Sorry, but that’s the truth. The answer to the problem is Prayer for the bishops. They are human, and they have let us down. Please PRAY for them, and may God have mercy on them.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 5:53 PM By JLS
JP, Jesus did not tell all people to keep quiet. The media coverage of the time seemed to bring in huge crowds, and rapidly; to wit, the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain, and countless other events. So it is ridiculous to work the idea that Jesus was a backroom politician or bureaucrat.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 6:03 PM By Maryanne Leonard
Same thing happens in Ventura County, no matter how large the group. If it has to do with a pro-life gathering, our local Ventura County Star goes silent, with only extremely rare exceptions, and only after their cages are rattled by people like me who feel large gatherings on behalf of life itself are worthy of news coverage. Even then, results are rare indeed.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 7:18 PM By JLS
Reporters Without Borders has just dropped the USA to 47th place in freedom of the press.


Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 9:12 PM By OneoftheSheep
One year, we offered to give a free seat on one of our SF bound Walk for Life West Coast buses to a Sacramento Bee reporter. The offer was turned down in favor of a parking lot interview of someone bound for SF. The media is lazy. The media is biased. I did encounter a photographer from the San Francisco Examiner who took my picture from behind my back. When I noticed him, he came up to me, showed me the photos, and asked my name. Never saw the photo.


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:48 AM By JLS
Why are the scores of college student journalists not involved? Why does it take a professional photographer and a professional writer to report on an event? As one of the posts above observes, there is no real need to suck up to the major news media, which is akin to trying to clean the teeth of a hungry lion.


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:22 AM By Jack
Walk for Life has a tremendous impact on the community. Here is a huge group of people, kind, polite, clean, decent, mature, and very quiet. You can see the effect on the protestors. They are impressed, despite themselves. The Media is shamed into silence, and their pride as being the “voice of the entire community”, is shown to be an embarrassing sham. So, now many of you seem to think we should adapt the tactics of our opponents. Perhaps, we should dye our hair purple, get tattooed, wear nose rings, break windows, and learn to scream stridently, just so we can be on TV for 10 seconds? We know that is what the Media wants. We are not going to do this. Let us continue our Christian work, and our walks, as the most responsible individuals in our communities.


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 5:59 PM By Maryanne Leonard
We show photographs of aborted babies; why not videos of the so-called “procedure?” The more the public, currently shielded by the media, knows about abortion, the more they will agree it is murder of human life and must be stopped. We don’t need purple hair to get their attention; a full color video of the damnable “procedure” and its horrifying results should call down leftist condemnation upon us sufficient to get the attention of the public. And then there’s going door-to-door, bringing pictures and pamphlets, as people are doing to get us to vote for their favorite candidate. There are so many ways we could put our time, energy and money to good use to raise the consciousness of those who presently don’t give abortion much thought and really don’t want to.


Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 8:19 PM By gravey
ABC Bay Area News gave it a 20-30 second spot, giving equal coverage to the “anti-abortion” and the “pro-choice” groups. Not hard to tell whose side they support.


Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:33 AM By Ann Niermeyer
Best lesson I ever learned, and it is good for all of our young people to learn, what you see on the “News” is not what is happening, but what they want you to think is happening. You could do a journalism course on the March for Life event alone. Even in Washington DC they don’t cover it. Locals who stumble upon it are shocked to see what is happening. I heard one on his cell phone last year as the youth rally emptied out of the Verizon Center. He thought it was a parade or something. But what a brilliant lesson in the lies of omission that the media tells every day.


Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 10:00 AM By Harry
The MSM, as it is (mistakenly called) is part of the liberalized abortion movement and has been for the better part of a century. They have a strong ideological and financial interest in not only keeping abortion legal but in mainstreaming it. They are to the abortion movement what EWTN is to the Catholic Church. Yet we patronize them by buying their newspapers and by watching hours and hours of wall to wall liberal indoctrination on the tube. When will we learn? Would we patronize Planned Parenthood in such a way with our money and our time? Then why patronize their organ of communication? Some will say ‘Oh, but we have to be informed, so we need the MSM’. That is false. Believe me, with all the alternative media available today one can be better informed WITHOUT the MSM. Stop buying their newspapers and magazines. Stop watching their T.V. channels. Their ratings are slipping these days according to reports. That is because they are out of sync with the values of the average person, and so the average person tunes them out. Shouldn’t we, pro lifers be taking the lead here? They are certainly out of tune with our values. Let’s reject their values. We don’t have to get a bishop’s permission, or jump through any other hoops to do so. No one is forcing us to buy newspapers or watch T.V.


Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 1:32 PM By Amy
EWTN’s Life on the Rock this past week had complete and total coverage of the WALK FOR LIFE 2012 West Coast. It was terrific coverage with many pictures by Fr. Mark and Doug Barry. If we all stopped buying or subscribing to the S.F.Chronicle, and donate to Mother Angelica’s EWTN, we could change the world. She is already doing that with her wonderful program. God Bless Mother, Deacon Bill, Michael Warsaw, Doug Keck and all the staff at Eternal Word Television Network. Also, all those fantastic people at Ignatius Press.


Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 2:44 PM By Fr. Austin
@jp JP, Christ concealed Himself and His mission before the time had come to complete His dispensation on our behalf. When He had done so, He commissioned His apostles to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel, commanding them to take His message to the public in a radical way. Now, while it is true that we should not do our good works “in order to be seen of men,” when important causes come up, we must be prepared to stand for the Truth of the Gospel in even a public way. This also illustrates the need to read Scripture in the context of Apostolic Tradition; private opinion too often reflects private limitations and shortcomings.


Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 5:36 PM By Abeca Christian
Maryanne Leonard at some charter public school, they show video’s of how the cattle are being mistreated, it is very graphic! If they can do that, then we should be allowed to show how the evil procedure of abortion is and looks like. They care more for the cattle at farms, then they do for the unborn! What a backwards society we live in!


Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:20 PM By Luciano
We need to lift them up in prayer and trust in Divine providence that God in his mercy will lead many of them to conversion otherwise we may fall in the trap of judging them instead of judging their works and forget that Jesus said to love our enemies, pray for your persecutors and do good to them. God has a plan for each one of them. Remember how Saint Paul was converted and the role that Saint Steven played in it by his prayer of forgiveness and I consider him as Saint Paul Godfather.


Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:55 AM By Sandra
That’s right “Amy”! Support EWTN!

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