Big Three Ignore Religious Freedom Rallies; CBS Played Up Dissenting Catholics' Protests

ABC, CBS, and NBC stayed true to their liberal slant and ignored the 164 rallies across the United States on Friday against the federal government's abortifacient/birth control mandate under ObamaCare. Religious leaders and conservative politicians, like former GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, addressed the tens of thousands of pro-religious freedom activists who attended the rallies. But the Big Three apparently didn't think this was worthy of coverage on their morning and evening newscasts.

By contrast, CBS played up the supporters of a group of left-leaning Catholic nuns during four on-air segments between May 30 and June 1, 2012. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews hyped how "hundreds of Catholics have rallied behind the sisters," and that "protests in support of the nuns have been held in almost 50 cities."

The networks have been reluctant to cover the controversy since the Health and Human Services Administration announced the mandate on January 20, 2012. It took CBS ten days to cover the story on their morning show, CBS This Morning. ABC and NBC remained silent for two weeks.

By February 15, the Big Three had spun the story as political food fight between liberal and conservatives and downplayed the Catholic Church's objection to the regulation, along with freedom of religion aspect. A MRC study found that out of the 91 talking heads that appeared as part of their coverage of the mandate, politicians outnumbered Catholic Church officials by a margin of 60 to 9.

The broadcast networks' evening newscasts also punted when Catholic dioceses and organizations filed 12 lawsuits against the mandate in federal courts around the country on May 21, 2012. CBS did bring on New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan on the May 22 edition of CBS This Morning. Correspondent Norah O'Donnell followed up on this interview with a question to Jay Carney later that day, but her exchange with the White House press secretary didn't make it on the air.


Here's the next thing that the networks will brazenly ignore. The Catholic bishops of the United States recently called for a "great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty" between June 21 and July 4, 2012. Dioceses have organized "prayer and public action" events for this "Fortnight For Freedom." Between their track record so far on the mandate controversy, and their longer-term omission of the March for Life (attended by hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers each year), it's completely plausible that the Big Three will collectively yawn at that campaign as well.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center