ABC and CBS Spike Huge Pro-Life March, Yet Highlight Puny Pro-Gun Control Protest

The annual pro-life march, this year marking the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision, drew tens of thousands to Washington, DC on Friday, but didn’t garner a syllable of coverage on Friday’s World News on ABC nor the CBS Evening News. Yet on Saturday night, both newscasts highlighted a pro-gun control protest in DC which CBS anchor Jim Axelrod pegged at drawing “close to a thousand people.”

The NBC Nightly News noted both protests and on Friday night also reported how a federal appeals court unanimously decided that President Obama violated the Constitution when he made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, a rebuke neither ABC nor CBS found newsworthy.

This 15 seconds from Brian Williams was the totality of broadcast network evening newscast coverage of the pro-life march: “In Washington today, thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators marched to the steps of the Supreme Court, protesting the landmark decision that legalized abortion. Annual ‘March for Life,’ as it’s called, this year coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Roe versus Wade decision.”

Williams next set up a piece from Pete Williams on a “big legal setback” for the Obama administration, a setback ignored by ABC and CBS on Friday and Saturday night:

A federal appeals court has dealt President Obama a big legal setback tonight and given Republicans, who charged that he acted improperly when he made some job appointments, a huge victory. This is about what Presidents get to do when Congress is out of town, and this could affect all future Presidents. Our justice correspondent, Pete Williams, is with us from our newsroom with the details tonight.

While ABC on Friday night didn’t find time for either the pro-life march or the court ruling, anchor Diane Sawyer made time for an update on the supposed controversy over complaints Subway’s “foot-long” subs are sometimes only eleven inches long. Horrors. Sawyer allocated  28 seconds to this:

And now at the top of our Instant Index tonight is that apology from Subway. Fans of the foot-long sandwich, you may recall, reported that some of those sandwiches are falling short by one inch. 11 inches, not 12 inches long. Well today, Subway said they are sorry. And they’re redoubling their efforts to assure consistency and correct length in every sandwich they serve. And patrons will still be getting out their rulers.

Sawyer also made room for 22 seconds to relay how Friday was Jack Lew’s last day as chief of staff at the White House and the first for his replacement, Denis McDonough, followed by a full story from Jon Karl on how Hillary Clinton’s glasses have lines in the lenses designed to help her double-vision following her concussion.

On Saturday, ABC anchor David Muir announced: “We’re going to turn to Washington tonight where thousands are braving the cold, marching and demanding that lawmakers to do something to keep tragedies like Newtown, Connecticut from ever happening again.”

After a clip of Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton declaring “the gun lobby can be stopped, my friends, they can be stopped,” correspondent Reena Ninan concluded her full story: “Voices in the crowd taking the first steps in a long push to reform the nation’s gun control laws.”

Saturday CBS Evening News anchor Jim Axelrod had a short item on the gun protest, leading into a full story on how women who own guns view the proposed new gun control measures:

Close to a thousand people marched in Washington, D.C. today, appealing for more gun control legislation. That included roughly a hundred from Newtown, Connecticut. Among them, Stacy McCoy Blinn. Her son was friends with Chase Kowalski, one of 20 first graders and six adults killed at Sandy Hook elementary school.

BLINN: We want to have safe schools, safe towns, safe cities, safe states, and a safe country. And if that means getting rid of the guns that means getting rid of the guns.

AXELROD: Some supporters of gun rights say there’s been a voice that's been muffled in this debate, if not missing altogether. The one belonging to female gun owners. Here’s Nancy Cordes.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center