NYTimes Falls For Soros Group's PR Stunt Against Pro-Lifers
On Friday, I posted about my experiences at the 40th annual March for Life. In the comments, folks discussed media coverage. I was busy all weekend with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's Life Conference (which was a huge success!) but I finally got around to surveying media coverage last night. I'm required to do this for my job at GetReligion, a site that analyzes how well religion news is handled by the mainstream media.
I've been doing this media criticism for seven or eight years, so I'm pretty jaded at this point. And yet what I discovered in how the New York Times covered the March for Life shocked and greatly disappointed me.
I'm sure the Times has covered the march at some point in the past, but it hasn't in recent years. Surprisingly, they did cover it this time around. But in a larger and more prominent story, we got the piece headlined “In Fight Over Life, a New Call by Catholics.”
The March for Life in Washington on Friday renewed the annual impassioned call to end legalized abortion, 40 years after the Roe v. Wade decision. But this year, some Roman Catholic leaders and theologians are asking why so many of those who call themselves “pro-life” have been silent, or even opposed, when it comes to controlling the guns that have been used to kill and injure millions of Americans.
More than 60 Catholic priests, nuns, scholars and two former ambassadors to the Vatican sent a letter this week saying that if marchers and politicians truly want to defend life they should support “common-sense reforms to address the epidemic of gun violence in our nation.”
A caption for the piece reads:
Anti-abortion protesters flooded the National Mall in Washington on Friday for the annual March for Life. Many Catholic leaders and theologians are asking why many of those who call themselves ‘pro-life’ have been silent when it comes to gun control.
I have -- how to put it? -- gone to town on this piece over at GetReligion ("Savvy PR firm scores NYTimes coup against Life March"). You can -- and should! -- read my whole take there but let me summarize some of what appalls me.
You’ll notice that marchers are only called “pro-life” in a scare-quotey sense to cast skepticism on their claims. You might wonder if the Times broke precedent to cover the massive march so as to be able to criticize it with this more prominent story.
It turns out that this piece is basically just a press release from the same savvy, highly funded PR firm that has been providing cover for Obama via similar stunts for the last year (I assume for more than a year, but I only really got hip to it in the last year).
The group is called Faith in Public Life. They’re the ones who came up with the highly successful “Nuns on the Bus” tour that got embarrassingly uncritical coverage for an anti-Paul Ryan campaign featuring not one, not two, but as many as three to four nuns. The media literally (in the Biden sense, not the actual sense) could not have given them more (or more favorable) coverage. Even while ignoring massive events such as the 5,000+ Catholics packed into a Mass to pray for religious liberty last summer.
Would it surprise you to know that this group is funded by George Soros?
Would it surprise you to know that the same group that ran the highly political Nuns on the Bus stunt simultaneously ran the anti-Catholic bishops campaign that accused them of being too political for caring about religious liberty?
That they ran both of these campaign simultaneously is sort of a testament to their chutzpah and skill but much more a blistering and depressing commentary on the state of journalism today.
From my piece:
Now, if I were presented a press release trying to steal the news cycle from a massive number of human rights activists, I might ask some questions. For instance, I’d try to ascertain their history of involvement with the March for Life. Are they participants? What are the names and sizes of the pro-life groups they led to the march this year? How are they traveling to the march? Are they, as so many others do, renting buses and vans and driving through the night? Don’t tell me they’re not actually in attendance. Did any of the signatories come?
I didn’t recognize any of the signatories as leaders in the pro-life movement but, then again, the pro-life movement is massive. I did recognize some of the names as people who are known for working for liberal causes unrelated to pro-life advocacy. I noticed some of the names are linked to Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, which, on Facebook, was very excited about the favorable coverage the press release received in the New York Times. And yet I found no mention of pro-life advocacy or even a statement — much less a clear or strong statement — against abortion on that same Facebook page.
Wait, there’s more. I even found some strong statements critical of pro-life stances! It was almost like exactly the people you wouldn’t want signing a statement such as this … if you were going for something more than a quick and dirty stunt that wouldn’t receive even a slightly critical look before running in the most important newspaper in the country.
So what are some of their tangible, major accomplishments in defense of unborn life? How are they perceived — in terms of defense of the unborn — by pro-life activists who are marking 40 years of speaking against the regime that allows any and all unborn children to be killed throughout the pregnancy? In other words, why would people outside of a New York Times newsroom in general and among the marchers in particular, find their argument compelling and appropriate on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade?
I go on. I know that we all know that the media have some bias problems to work on. But even for the New York Times, this is pretty New York Times, no?