NY Times Public Editor Calls Out the Paper for Downplaying March for Life...As Usual!

Kudos to New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan for asking why the Times couldn’t provide much coverage of Wednesday’s March for Life. Hundreds, if not thousands of New Yorkers were there, so “Was this local participation, or the event itself, worthy of a news story in the paper of record? Apparently not.”

“The Times, in print, published only a stand-alone photograph of the event on Page A17 with a two-line caption on Thursday.” Sullivan reproduced complaints from pro-life readers:

Another reader made the point that The Times’s political agenda was on display, not only in the lack of coverage of the event but also in what it did choose to give a major amount of space to in the same day’s paper: a front-page article about a Catholic school in suburban Seattle where students are protesting the firing of a school official who was let go after he married his male partner.

Francis H. Hoffman wrote: “A handful of young people from Seattle who support their fired vice principal merits big coverage, but a massive pro-life march in a winter storm is all but ignored. And the motto of the New York Times is, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” I guess pro-life news is not fit to print.”

Sullivan asked the Washington bureau chief of the Times, Carolyn Ryan, why no staff reporter was assigned to the event. She replied:

We have given extensive coverage to opponents of abortion.


The March for Life was a main element in our front-page story Tuesday about newly energized Republicans efforts, through ballot initiatives and legislation in Congress, to curtail abortion. We ran a three-column, live staff photograph of the event at the top of a national-section page, and an online Reuters story on nytimes.com about the march, highlighting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s appearance and his projections for legislation in the House. As you know, we do not cover every protest, and tend to focus on the substance of the issue. This particular march, in part because of the weather, was smaller than in years past. Last year, which was the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we did produce a lengthier staff story on the march.

What Ryan didn’t say is that the Times completely skipped the March for Life in the previous five years, from 2008 to 2012. Size never matters. Liberalism is what matters. The Times has defined a "large enough protest" as FOUR illegal aliens or about ten opponents of the National Prayer Breakfast.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis