Saturday, January 24, 2015

Some Claim Media Ignores Right To Life March - Legitimate Complaint or Just a Fundraising Tactic?

Every year, in late January, there is a well attended march. It is called the "Right to Life" march and it is a time for those who feel strongly about ending abortion in the United States to gather in our nation's capital, make their case to anyone who will listen. Which is a LOT of people. Congressmen, religious groups, private citizens who support this cause all will find a friendly audience to make speeches against abortion, the preservation and sanctity of life, etc.

This year, the crowds were estimated in the 500,000 person range, which is nothing to sneeze at. By most accounts these protesters of abortion behave themselves quite well. They don't damage businesses, deface public property or disrupt the business of our Federal government. These are well mannered, serious people gathering to address a serious issue. Regardless if one agrees with them or not, they deserve some respect. There is also an associated boost to the local economy that does the area businesses good.

Of question to some is does the media cover them in a fair and adequate fashion?

This question gets brought up often, usually in an accusatory tone, on social media. While I haven't done extensive research, I can anecdotally share that I've seen about 5 such postings since last evening.

For example, I found a link to a website called "Catholic Online" which ran this article:

Hey Main Stream Media - Do Your Job! Media Bias on March for Life...

With a caption of a photo of the event saying, "The hundreds of thousands who gatherred in Washington, DC were virtually ignored by the mainstream media because they gave a voice to children in the womb intentionally killed by procured abortion"


There was also this image, created by someone who felt a need:

I wondered to myself if ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, the New York Times, the Associated Press, USA Today, National Public Radio, the Washington Post, and even a popular online news gathering organization like Yahoo News had ignored this story? What about national public television cable channel, C-Span? Would they ignore it too?

I did some digging. Actually, all of the next ten examples of a national media outlet covering the March too me about 5 minutes to find. It wasn't hard, google "right to life march" and (insert media outlet of your choice here) and hit enter. It comes right up...Honest.

Ok, well what about C-Span?

Exploring the C-Span website, I quickly found one major video of over an hour in length, AND the full transcript from that broadcast.  I also found videos of previous Right to Life Marches from recent years.

Here is how C-Span covered it:

C-Span Covers the 2015 Right to Life march in Washington DC

So, to my eye, it looks like there was plenty of coverage available from a wide and diverse swath of mainstream media outlets. Networks, cable news channels, major newspapers, public radio, etc. This reminded me of the "WAR ON CHRISTMAS" crap that we hear about from the far right voices every year. Messages like both tend to rile up a base and most importantly, it likely helps with fund raising. Abortion is a highly charged issue and if you can convince that the lame-stream media forces are conspiring against you and the unborn, makes opening a wallet or a purse a little easier, I guess. 

I also did some research on the National Right To Life website. I looked for their financial reports but couldn't find them. So, I then went to some charity ratings websites and found out that the results weren't so great. lists the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund as a 67.66 out of a possioble 100 scale. Financially they were rated a 91.89, but in accountability & transparency, just a 55.

The Better Business Bureau has requested the national right to life information, but the organization has declined to provide it. From the BBB website:

This charitable organization either has not responded to written BBB requests for information or has declined to be evaluated in relation to BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Charity participation in BBB review is voluntary. However, without the requested information, it is not possible to determine whether this charity adheres to all of the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. The BBB encourages charities to disclose accountability information beyond that typically included in financial statements and government filings, in order to demonstrate transparency and strengthen public trust in the charitable sector.
The BBB reports on charities and determines if they meet 20 voluntary standards on matters such as charity finances, appeals, and governance. The BBB does not evaluate the worthiness of the charitable program.
- See more at: 

I'll close with these words of advice to the Right to Life organization. Be careful what you wish for, increased media coverage or scrutiny, may not be what you had in mind...


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