Monday, April 26, 2004

Media Coverage of Yesterday's March

What a wonderful occasion the march was! Democracy in action. And it was even covered by many of the mainstream media. But how exactly was it covered?

The short answer is: neutrally. For the mainstream media this translates into giving the two sides equal time. As one side consists of hundreds of thousands and the other of a few hundreds, the final effect is to give the pro-life people much more coverage per person. In fact, the march was a real bonanza for them: they got half the publicity with zero organizing costs. Even the Bush administration got free coverage this way. Here's Karen Hughes on the real meaning of the march:

Karen Hughes, an adviser to President Bush, appeared on CNN today to provide a counterpoint to the anti-Bush sentiment on the Mall. She praised the president on his "very strong record for women," saying he has employed more women in senior-level staff positions than any other presidential administration.
She also said that abortion-rights activists were moving against what she said was popular momentum, particularly since the terrorist attacks of 2001, in favor of anti-abortion policies.
"I think that after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life," she said. "President Bush has worked to say, let's be reasonable, let's work to value life, let's reduce the number of abortions, let's increase adoptions. And I think those are the kinds of policies the American people can support, particularly at a time when we're facing an enemy and, really, the fundamental issue between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."

We are at war, she reminds us, and the difference between Us and Them is that we value life and freedom and they don't. Therefore, the multitudes marching yesterday were obviously terrorists. The ones heckling them along the route (one with a placard saying "God Hates You") are the Real Americans, the ones that are reasonable. And valuing lives is something that covers the period from conception to birth for everybody, but thereafter becomes very selective as to status of motherhood, occupation, religion and country of citizenship. Shame on you, Karen. If president Bush has actually said "let's be reasonable", he has done so somewhere outside the reach of microphones and cameras.

In a bizarre way the media's neutral coverage is exactly the opposite of neutrality. Here is this gigantic event expressing a political opinion, and the media interpretation of it is trying to nullify what happened by reintroducing the same old parameters of debate. As if nothing has changed. As if suddenly it isn't quite clear that young women indeed are concerned about their right to their own bodies, as if they didn't march yesterday in their hundreds of thousands. No, the television and papers tell us; nothing has changed, this is all old hat and will have no effect on elections this year.

Let's prove them wrong.

If you want to hear more personal opinions of the march, click here, or here.