The media didn't need a subzero wind chill to freeze out pro-lifers. Most networks have had a lot of practice perfecting their greatest magic trick: making hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers disappear!
If you weren't at March for Life and missed the photos from Twitter, you'd probably never know the event took place. As usual, the outlets vied to deliver the least coverage of the march as possible—with some refusing to acknowledge it at all.
NBC Nightly News fared slightly better than CNN and MSNBC (both of which ignored the March altogether), but even its coverage—a whopping 22 seconds' worth—and ABC's (24 seconds) were barely a blip on the media's screen. With the exception of Fox, most networks (the same ones that spent days covering the Occupy movement) didn't think a few hundred thousand people on the National Mall were worth mentioning.
Even the president, who never misses an opportunity to celebrate Roe v. Wade, managed to write an entire statement sidestepping the most important word in his vocabulary—abortion.
"We reaffirm our steadfast commitment," he said, "to protecting a woman's access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom. And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children. Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams."
(Everyone, apparently, but the unborn.)
While the president might have been shy about using the word abortion, his Party's committee chairman certainly wasn't. Debbie Wasserman Schultz not only embraced the significance of the day, but also blasted conservatives for using it to save lives. There "are so many pressing issues facing our country that deserve our attention," she said. "But still, the GOP places blocking women's access to health care at the top of their agenda, insisting we continue to spend ... taxpayer dollars, refighting these battles."
Of course, she'd rather spend those tax dollars on abortion over the objections of the people paying for them.
Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Convention, hit back, calling it "pathetic" that anyone, regardless of their views, would bash Republicans for using the event to highlight the alternatives to abortion—like adoption. Fox News's Brit Hume took it from there, in an emotional appeal on his "Special Report," taking aim at the left for using "absurd euphemisms" to describe what they support.
"They're not really pro-abortion," Hume said. "They've long said they're 'pro-choice.' This isn't about killing unborn babies; it's about reproductive health. And the biggest chain of abortion clinics in the country refers to itself as Planned Parenthood. In 2012, this organization says it carried out 'abortion procedures' 329,445 times. Whatever that number represents, it's not parenthood."
Although the March never seems to get the attention it deserves, Family Research Council's ProLifeCon caught the eye of plenty of reporters, including the Washington Post and Slate's David Weigel. Both outlets seemed impressed with the subtle shift in pro-lifers' strategy.
"Pro-lifers are trading bloody fetus photos for a kindler, gentler message," Weigel wrote. "Will it work?"
Judging by the sea of young people at yesterday's March, it already has. As former Sen. Rick Santorum pointed out at ProLifeCon, the movement is making a key transition to be more about "love, not judgment."
We believe it always has been about love, but we must be ever mindful of perceptions and tone. And thanks to the influx of young people, Weigel explains, the March for Life "is friendlier and more media-ready than ever."
Now, if we could just get the media to take notice.
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