The Annual March for Life Media Blackout

This picture is one of numerous great shots highlighted by Matt Cassens on his blog St. Blogustine (which I note in passing is an excellent name for a blog).  Contrast it with Newsweek’s spin from 2010, in an article entitled, Who’s Missing at the ‘Roe v. Wade’ Anniversary Demonstrations? Young Women.  The article rhetorically asked, “where are the young, vibrant women supporting their pro-life or pro-choice positions? Likely, they’re at home.

In lieu of doing their own reporting, Christian Science Monitor shamelessly regurgitated Newsweek’s outright false claims: “According to Newsweek, demonstrators on both sides were mostly from the baby boomer generation.”  I mean, just look at all those Baby Boomers.  Wait, I don’t actually see any in that shot.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve seen a single March for Life picture from the last ten years containing more than a few dozen people in which most of those in the shot were Baby Boomers.  And in the four years that I marched, I can attest that the ratio of young people to Baby Boomers is staggering.  The youth own this movement.

So the media coverage has long been riddled with lies and distortions.  If you ever want to be in the press, an easy way to do it is to be a pro-choice counter-protester at the March for Life.  Each year, a few dozen show up, and each year, seemingly every one of them gets a close-framed shot that make them seem to be part of a huge pro-choice contingent.  In the Monitor article I mentioned above, the accompanying photo showed four pro-choicers and a single pro-lifer.  That huge protest of hundreds of thousands of people?  Ignored in favor of a few dozen (literally!) counter-protesters.

But as bad as media distortions are (and they really do seem intentional here: the photographers had to have noticed an enormous procession of people passing them by), the worst is the outright media blackout.  For five years straight, the New York Times has refused to run anything on the March for Life.  This year, they were forced to indirectly acknowledge the March’s existence, because Senator Rand Paul was detained on his way to the March, after he refused a TSA patdown.  The last thing Senator Paul had tweeted before his detainment:

@SenRandPaulSenator Rand Paul 
Today I’ll speak to the March for Life in DC. A nation cannot long endure w/o respect for the right to Life. Our Liberty depends on it. #ky

So you can’t really cover Senator Paul’s detainment without acknowledging the March for Life, since it’s part of the story.  Unless you’re CBS:

Paul said he was “detained” at a small cubicle and couldn’t make his flight to Washington for a Senate vote scheduled later in the day.

And where was Paul headed before that vote, I wonder?  CBS doesn’t give us any clues.  Because this isn’t news (be sure to watch the time lapse video — it’s the best way of grasping just how enormous the March actually is):

P.S. My friend Matt Balan offers an extreme example from this year’s coverage.


  1. Indeed. This is certainly one of the blessings of New Media. Bloggers can just show the world these pictures, undeniable evidence of what the media is pretending isn’t happening: the pro-life movement is an energetic human rights movement winning hearts and minds.

  2. How exactly is this significantly different from controlled communist press in Poland or the former ussr or from state media ignoring news (see Arab spring) other than that we have shown that “free” press is no better or neccesarily less biased

  3. I went in 2005 and 2008, and the media really does lie about the whole thing. My observation in 2005 (being new to politics, and theologically Protestant) was A) Wow, this is a huge group. Is a coup morally justified? B) Wow, everyone here is Catholic. Where are my protestant friends. Oh hm, pagans for life. Interesting. C) Wow, everyone is so young.

    Another lesson learned from that trip: underage drinking @ The Dubliner = WIN!

  4. Sadly, I was unable to attend due to my obligations at work (I took part during an extended lunch last year though). Because I work in downtown, I get these nifty little emails and text messages alerting me of traffic delays, weather conditions etc.

    Well, yesterday I received two nifty one concerning the March for Life. The first said something “Protesters are gathering in the mall and number 15,000. Avoid the area.” That was in the morning.

    In the afternoon I received a similar one but this time what I noticed was “…20,000…” Laughable.

    The picture in the post above and others I have seen, including from my very own parish St. Andrew the Apostle in Clifton, VA (go pro-life committee!) showed what was consistent with last year: too many people to count and most of the faces under 20.

    Boo-ya! Since you will not see it otherwise, I encourage all to go and participate – even if once in your life.

    God Bless!


  5. Two good things about Walk For Life that I’ve found:

    1. Its nice to put aside our denominational differences as Christians, and work together for the rights of the unborn.

    One can argue about doctrinal differences until our faces are blue, and our lips are chapped and bleeding, when I’m before God Almighty on Judgement Day, those things will be pretty minor compared to the charges of standing silent in the midst of 50 Million+ (and growing by a little more than a million a year) dead babies.

    2. It can expose a lot protestants out there who may not know much about Catholicism to our Faith, as well as the fact that there are a lot of us out there, and not to mention that we have a sizable majority on the issue of abortion in this nation and the world at large, and have been consistent in our views since the Didache written 2000 years ago.

  6. Great news for Loyola University Chicago–We are the second photo on this–Thanks so much for posting it! The news is that on page three of our student newspaper The Phoenix is full of photos I took of the March. Even better, the end of caption said “Hundreds of thousands of pro-life supporters attended the event while a select few pro-choice individuals attended…” Finally another news source that tells the truth! I am really excited to get the word out about this important issue. Thanks again for posting the photo of our group.

  7. Rob: Smacks of indifferentism, I think. If knowing God is essential even aside from salvation, points of doctrine are no minor thing. True understanding is required for a true relationship.

    Run hot or run cold, but for Heaven’s sake and yours do not run so lukewarm in regards to truth.

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