Sunday, March 27, 2016

Once again, "Democrat and Chronicle" ignores Good Friday pro-life march

(Photo from 2016 march)

Last Friday, the local Catholic prolife community held it's annual Good Friday Stations of the Cross in Reparation for Abortion march. The march focuses on not just abortion, but all the life issues: War, the death penalty, economic injustice, discrimination, euthanasia, and so on. By one estimate, nearly 200 people took part. Every year, the figure is generally between 150 and 200. 

(Photo from 2016 march)

And has also become an annual tradition, the Democrat and Chronicle, our local newspaper, despite being notified multiple times in advance, ignored the march.

(Photo from 2016 march)

The newspaper did cover a cross walk in the city - a worthy event that deserved the coverage, but one that was comfortable as it focused on life and justice issues other than abortion.

Frustrated, last year, I did a study of the newspaper's coverage of the various Good Friday marches over the years - using the newspaper's own archives.

(Photo from last year)
I haven't officially contacted them this year about why the pro-life march was not covered.  When the newspaper has been contacted in the past, though, spokespeople have given a number of reasons why the event was not cover THAT year. One of their most common claims was that they were not notified in time, but that has not been the case in the past, and was not this year.

(Photo from last year)

The other main reason given is that there are a variety of marches on that day, and so coverage is rotated to be fair.

In my study, I counted as coverage articles about an event, mention of an event in an article covering activities that day, or standalone photos.

If the newspaper’s claim is true, there should be an equitable distribution of coverage.

Between 2001 and 2016, the large city-based ecumenical marches (100 - 300 participants) got covered seven times - I'm including this year's cross walk in the tally.

The smallest of the marches, the Catholic economic justice one, typically with 20-25 participants, got covered 4 times – consecutively no less (2002-05).

The suburban ecumenical march got covered twice, with 60 and 150 participants respectively.

The city Catholic parishes’ marches (no numbers given, but small size implied) got covered twice.

And the Life march, with, remember, 150-200 participants every year, got covered once – a single sentence in a broader article about one of the city ecumenical marches.

Rotating coverage? Fair coverage?
Unless I missed any articles/photos, the evidence counters such claims.

In fact, it suggests a bias against pro-life events that bring up abortion.

This is not whining. It's just pointing out the reality.

Pax et bonum

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