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7/3/2013 11:27:00 AM
Media spin makes us unsteady
Catholic News Service
Annual March for Life gets underplayed in media.
Catholic News Service
Annual March for Life gets underplayed in media.

Early this year, an estimated half million Americans marched in Washington to support pro-life policy. As usual, the Washington Post placed a small story in the Metro section. Many years, the paper includes a photo of a handful of pro-choice counter protesters.

The next day, a gun control rally drew fewer than 1,000 people and received more prominent coverage in the Post. A few weeks later, a National Mall rally against the Keystone XL pipeline drew 40,000 people and made the front section.

We recognize the ennui that reporters and editors can feel when it comes to annual events. We are, after all, here to report news and both gun control and the environment are important.  

But the Post’s disparate treatment of these rallies reveals a bias so large that even the newspaper’s managers had to confess. Post publisher Katherine Weymouth told activist David Almasi that about 90 percent of the Post newsroom holds liberal political beliefs, which shows through in their work.

Call us old fashioned, but even in this age when journalism and entertainment are spliced, we think reporters can and should aim for insightful neutrality. Biased reporting degrades the common good. How can our democracy function if the news skews what the people believe? Legislating on a foundation of spin leaves us on wobbly ground indeed.

The pro-life movement, growing stronger thanks to 20- and 30-somethings, is often the victim of journalistic bias. Reporters of all kinds are missing the new logic and zeal of the youthful activists. These young pro-lifers have reviewed the latest science and find abortion indefensible. Agree or disagree, they ought not be ignored.

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