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  • Stupid Press, Stupid People: Non-Reporting the March for Life

    by Anthony Esolen

    March for Life 2013 2

    When George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four, the novel describing a dystopia of mass stupidity and surveillance, he wasn’t making a prediction.  He was describing what he actually saw in England.  His protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth, whose enterprise is to engage in massive lying, altering history by sending documents down the Memory Hole, where they will be lost forever.  One of his colleagues, Syme, is a linguist with a passionate love for Newspeak, the official language of the regime.  The purpose of Newspeak is to deracinate language so badly that crimethought, the doubleplusungood rebellion of mind against the regime, will be impossible.  No one will be able to think of crimes, because nobody will be able to think.

    Orwell modeled his Ministry of Truth after the British Broadcasting Corporation, where he worked.

    When Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451, another novel describing a dystopia of mass stupidity and surveillance, he wasn’t making a prediction.  He was describing what he actually saw in America.  His protagonist, Guy Montag, is a “fireman”—note, denizens of the novus ordo saeclorum, not a “firefighter,” since his job is to set fires, not to put them out.  He’s a book burner.  Bradbury insisted that his novel was not about censorship, but about how contemporary media have made people shallow and inattentive, squandering their cultural heritage.  Shortly after he wrote the novel, colleges all over the country held their own bonfires, gutting their curricula, so that now a graduate of Harvard is far more likely to have listened vacantly to a hundred ‘songs’ devoid of melody or sense, than to have read a single line of Dante.

    Our founders believed that a free press was essential for a free society.  We believe we have a free press.  But what good is nominal freedom—the government does not censor our newspapers—if the writers are liars, or are ill-educated, or feed the populace a lot of claptrap, or ignore important events because they don’t like the people involved or the cause?  What happens, if the “teaching” of three hundred million Americans is in the hands of people who give headlines to a football player with a fictional girlfriend, or to the sleazy habits of a porn girl turned celebrity, or to “scientific” studies about when your “relationship” is going to end, rather than to anything of substance, anything that requires learning, listening, investigating, and thought?  What happens, particularly, if the only stories about faith come from the category, “Benighted Believers”?

    What happens is what we got for non-reportage on this year’s March for Life in Washington.  One would think that a colorful and peaceful demonstration, of between 500,000 and 650,000 people, the large majority of them quite young, braving the freezing weather in the capital in January, marching to uphold the sanctity of life rather than to secure material advantage to themselves, would warrant a little attention.  If ten thousand of these people thronged the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for Mass on the evening before, many with sleeping bags for spending the night on the floor of the chapel, you would think that some reporter would notice, and would ask them a question or two.  If thousands of people from other parts of the world arrived to join in, at great personal expense and in bad weather, you would think that that would warrant admiration, if for nothing else than their sacrifice.

    But the Ministries of Truth mostly ignored it.  What they didn’t ignore, they belittled or distorted.  In doing so, however, they revealed their own ignorance.  Here is the AP story, in News-speak, with my comments in brackets:

    Thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators

    [That’s a lie, right there.  If 650 people show up at a town meeting, and the reporter says that “several” people showed up, that reporter is a liar, and should be fired.  If 6,500 people show up at the State House to protest a bill, and the reporter says that “dozens” showed up, he’s a liar, and should be fired.  If a crowd fills the Rose Bowl, and the reporter calls them “hundreds,” he should be fired.  The March for Life is, year after year, the largest peaceful assembly of people in the nation.  To know this, and to fail to report it, is to be a liar.  Not to know this is to be a moron; no third possibility exists.  Meanwhile, a gun control protest was held in the same place a few days later, and “thousands” were reported to have taken part in it, when the actual number was about 1,000.  The two stories together show an exaggeration of 50,000 to 65,000 percent, in favor of what the reporter favors.]

    marched through Washington to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to protest the landmark decision that legalized abortion.

    [Ignorance on display.  Abortion was legal in many states before the decision.  The Court struck down every state law that placed some restrictions upon it.]

    The annual event took on added significance for many in the crowd since it coincided with the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that created a constitutional right to abortion in some circumstances.

    [Another lie.  “Some circumstances”?  Exactly which have been ruled out?  The decision made abortion on demand the law of the whole nation.  But the writer is too inattentive or too dumb to notice that he’s given the ballgame away.  For the Court can, in justice, only recognize a constitutional right.  This Court created one.]

    The demonstrators, carrying signs with messages such as “Defend Life” and “Defund Planned Parenthood,” shouted chants including [sic] “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go.” They packed the National Mall and surrounding streets for the March of [sic] Life.

    [Why the insertion of Planned Parenthood?  Why include that chant?  No other signs?  No more powerful messages?  Indeed there were many others.  Some people sang songs, like God Bless America and, audaciously, John Brown’s Body.  The writer simply chooses what’s easiest for him and his readers to dismiss.]

    “I just felt this 40th year marked a huge anniversary for the law,” said one demonstrator, Pam Tino, 52, of Easton, Mass, who also participated several years ago. “Forty is a very important year in the Bible as well, in terms of years in the desert. And I just felt like maybe this year that was going to be something miraculous that might happen. We might see something going forward with the cause.”

    With the re-election of President Barack Obama, she added, “we just have our walking papers. Now we just feel like we have to keep the battle up.”

    [Get that ineffectual Bible allusion in there, to let your readers know that they needn’t think.  Make sure you don’t speak to a doctor or a professor or a priest.]

    The large turnout reflected the ongoing relevance [sic] of the abortion debate four decades after the decision.

    [Relevant to what?  I’d say to the collapse of public morality, but the writer isn’t thinking about what his words mean.  All he wants to say is that people still argue about abortion.]

    It remains a divisive issue with no dramatic shift in viewpoint on either side; a new Pew Research Center poll finds 63 percent of U.S. adults opposed to overturning Roe, compared to [sic] 60 percent in 1992.

    [Another lie.  You choose the poll you like, and report on it.  You don’t report that more than half of Americans agree with rather severe restrictions on abortion, which effectively means that they oppose the Roe decision, although many of them are so ill-informed that they are unaware of it.]

     Earlier this week, abortion opponents marked the anniversary with workshops, prayers and calls for more limits on abortion rights [sic].

    [Another lie.  There are no limits on legal abortion in the United States.  And the protestors do not say they wish to limit anybody’s rights.  They deny that the right exists.  That is the issue.  To use the phrase “abortion rights” is to beg the question.  The sentence is also vague.  What really would be impressive would be to note that thousands of the protestors came to Washington a day or two early, to pray in local churches.]

    And even as Obama [sic] this week reaffirmed his commitment to “reproductive freedom,” state legislatures continue to consider varied [sic] restrictions on a woman’s ability [sic; ability is notthe issue; permissibility is] to receive an abortion. [sic; “May I present you, Tina, with this lovely abortion?]

    Among the speakers at Friday’s rally was Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and staunch abortion opponent who last year unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination.

    He recalled the love and support the country showed for his young daughter, Bella, who was born with a serious genetic condition and whose illness led him to take some time off from the campaign trail.

    [Another lie.  Some time off?  It caused him to suspend the campaign altogether.  In other words, no political ambition of his was more important than his daughter.]

    He cited his daughter’s life—”she is joyful, she is sweet, she is all about love”—as a reason to discourage abortion even in instances when women are told that it would be “better” for their unborn children to have one. [sic; it is hard to imagine an unborn child having an abortion!]

    “We all know that death is never better—never better. Really what it’s about is saying is it [sic] would be easier for us, not better for her,” he said. “And I’m here to tell you … Bella is better for us and we are better because of Bella.”

    He said the anti-abortion cause was made up of people [sic] who every day advocate for their position [not, surely, for a position, but for lives] outside abortion clinics and at crisis pregnancy centers.

    “This movement is not a bunch of moralizers standing on their mountaintop preaching what is right,” Santorum said.

    One demonstrator, Mark Fedarko, 44, of Cleveland, said he regularly stands outside of abortion clinics in hopes of discouraging women from going inside.

    “There’s God’s law and man’s law,” he said. But I follow God’s law first. Like it says right here, thou shall not kill. That’s the end of the story. We need to protect these children.”

    [There were no other speakers?  No mention of the huge numbers of young people in attendance?  No mention of the whole culture of life?  No mention of anti-euthanasia sentiment?  All the arguments are proof-texts from the Bible?  Why was Rick Santorum chosen as representative?  Because the readers could equate him with the slanderous portrait the media had already painted of him, as an extremist.  No mention was made of the young black man who was conceived after a rape?  No mention of women who regretted their abortions?]

    The irony is that it is easier than ever to do the job of a reporter, yet we rely on a couple of paragraphs of gabble and mendacity from a couple of wire services, and that’s it.  A free people require a free press.  What sort of people settle for a stupid press?

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • givelifeachance2

      It is not a stupid press – it is an abortocrat-funded press that knows exactly what it’s doing, denying a microphone to any prolife demonstration that occurs. It is not just the March for Life – there have been many smaller, but more valiant, prolife demonstrations akin to the civil rights water-hosings (and worse) – but the see-no-evil press treats them like the proverbial tree falling in the forest. Who is funding them to keep quiet?

      After forty years, we prolifers should be wise to this press-muting and seek other ways to break through. A missed opportunity at the March is the failure of marchers to march to their congressman’s office to register their protest, in person. The press might keep it off the front pages, but there would be no ignoring 10,000 people (500,000 divided by 50 states) passing through each senator’s office. The message would get through to the senator or congressman. At the peak of the march, I took a picture of the closest entrances to the Hart Senate office buildings – noone was waiting to get in.

      Finally, there should be some concrete goal to march for. Incrementalism has not worked these forty years. If this is a cause analogous to slavery abolition, we should be riding the wave of “Lincoln” popularity and demanding a thirteenth amendment.outlawing human abortion, rather than accepting any argument that the country “isn’t ready” for abolition, yet.

      • Ford Oxaal

        It is happening the way the iron curtain came down. Don’t be discouraged. The press has overstayed its welcome. This is about solidarity at the ground level.

        • musicacre

          The press is always the “third” party, and much more powerful than the Dems or Republicans.

      • FRLBJ

        I agree. The pro-life leadership is generally very timid and those that aren’t are ostracized and criticized for not doing things the ‘right’ way. Yes, incrementalism has not worked. We are regressing as far as the law goes. The dam was broken on tax funding of abortion in 1992 with the pro-life leadership going along. Now we not only pay for it in taxes, but also have pay for it in our health insurance. The next step is forced abortions for those the government deems not worthy to be parents and forced abortion of the sick children.
        The leadership needs to change. Several years ago my sons went to the March for Life and I asked them if they had gone to the Senators and Congressman’s offices and the reply was no. They went sight-seeing instead! I was aghast. It did not occur to the organizers of the trip that lobbying should be a central activity. Why go to Washington if you are not going to lobby?

        I also think many do not know how our government works and are simply not interested.

    • Pingback: Stupid Press, Stupid People: Non-Reporting the March for Life | Crisis Magazine « Servus Fidelis: the faithful servant

    • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.kirby.50 Rebecca Kirby

      Mass stupidity? What about the thousands of people who keep expecting the MSM to cover the March year after year? The MSM isn’t going to cover it and it’s stupid to pretend that one year they will. Put your resources to better use and quit expecting the enemy to play by your rules (which may be good rules but they’re not the MSM rules). For the record I am Catholic and pro-life.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/M3O3IVED63JNYTYSLUCQCSPF3I DMS

        Does the author have such expectations? What “resources” and “rules” are you talking about?

      • Mike

        Rebecca, it was covered thoroughly by the MSM. All the stories the author thinks should have been mentioned, like the guy born after a rape, were mentioned elsewhere. They must have been because I read about them and others. The author has selected one tiny report and decided in his wisdom that it represents some kind of broad conspiracy to keep all of us in the dark. The reality is clearly quite different. There are any number of articles easily and publicly available about the 2013 March for Life. What is Orwellian is Anthony Esolen’s conclusion that someone is trying to hide the truth.

        • Ford Oxaal

          Right. I remember the national press giving 15 minutes to a couple of
          dozen code pink ranters down by the White House. Look at it this way.
          There are too many stories to cover. So someone decides. And they
          decide politically. The good news is crowd sourcing. The old media is
          dying — good riddance! I mean, we watch it once or twice a year to see
          what they didn’t say or what not. The best was Diane Sawyer getting
          shitfaced next to here somber and sober news buddies George
          Stephanoupoulouse or however you spell it during the Obama victory.
          Jack ‘n Zac? Four or five Manhattans? Great stuff though. I have new
          respect!

        • musicacre

          Of course they’re hiding the truth. There was a rally on the west coast a few years ago and the pro-choicers who tried to be there to distract the pro-life message were rebuked, because they were told, the new tactic is to ignore. And they were drawing attention to it. The press had already been instructed not to go. This was actually on a pro-choice website.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

          You know, it wasn’t me who was inspired by the BBC to conceive of the Ministry of Truth. That was Orwell. Every summer I get an interesting perspective on the media, because we spend those months in Canada. There, we see the filter really at work — we KNOW, just from being Americans, things that are going on down here, that will not make it past the filters at the CBC and CTV. I have asked many Canadians whether, in eight years, they could recall a story on television friendly to GW Bush, or, now in these four years, whether they could recall a story on television unfriendly to Barack Obama. Just one. They couldn’t. If a free country depends on a free press, then we aren’t free, we are media-manipulated by ignoramuses with power, a big megaphone, and a whole passel of prejudices they never examine. That AP report was repeated nearly verbatim on CBS and CNN; the NYT story was plain disgusting. ABC and NBC’s websites ignored the March altogether. Question: one of the major parties several years ago nominated strong black candidates for governor in three contiguous and important states. There was NO mention of this during the campaign season in Canada, and it was nearly buried in the US. I’ll bet that not one person in fifty in the US is even aware that it happened.

          • Daniel

            Maybe you don’t listen to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh in Canada, so you are getting the true perspective and it’s confusing you. The problem with Orwellian lies in the US is that a bunch of people and groups get together to propagate them. Fox, Limbaugh, newsmax, worldnetdaily, etc., are all notoriously dishonest. You are being fooled by the reporters you claim to hate. Even worse you are one of them as your polemical article proves.

      • Ford Oxaal
    • Ed

      The press considers the March for Life a boring non-event. The idiot press wants protests with violence and mayhem, not a bunch of peaceful sign wavers. This is the sad reality of the modern press.

      • Rob B.

        Agreed. One crazy shooting people inside an abortion clinic would get a whole lot more press…

      • musicacre

        Yes, they lie about numbers for gay pride parades; incredibly inflated.

        • jacobhalo

          I read the Phila Inquirer everyday and there was not a thing about the March for Life in the paper.

    • Carl

      Professor Esolen, you have become my favorite writer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

      This is what I expect from reporters — irrepressible curiosity. I want them to FIND THINGS OUT. If a reporter’s predilections keep him from being curious and from wanting to find things out, then he’s in the wrong profession. He should know his job. There are quite a few teachers out there — not as many as there should be — who could instruct him in it. His job is not to form opinion. His job is to FIND THINGS OUT. That requires legwork, and it appears to me that most newspaper writers these days are plain lazy. I consider that the proportion of people doing real reporting, to the population at large, is much, much lower than it was eighty or ninety years ago, before the complete dominance of the wire services.

      • John200

        Today’s reporters do not FIND THINGS OUT (I like the caps) because they can’t.

        Today’s reporters are lazy because they think they are professionals in a highly sophisticated line of “work.” They have college degrees so they think they are smart. These unfortunates do not know that the average journalism student is VERY average indeed, with test scores right down there with the social “sciences” and education, and somewhat higher than phys ed majors. This is the case even at the most prestigious journalism programs.

        They do not know that they were trained in secretarial [clerical, if you prefer] skills, which leads to the reason why newspapers are dying (my second major topic). Their content is as thin as what you get on the wire, which is its main source. The poor children think that work consists of reading a computer screen, followed by a session of cut-and-paste composition. The denouement is to spell your own name correctly in the byline. The market is on to them, and there is a good article to be written about the vicious economics of print, if you want to explore it sometime.

        Why pay for their product? But that is not Professor Esolen’s topic, I smuggled it in. Sorry.

        • Angelina Steiner

          They don’t want to “find things out” because they have an agenda. They are bias.
          Most reporters are liberals themselves. They are pro-abortion!

        • Art Deco

          with test scores right down there with the social “sciences”

          Enough. Archaeology, History, Human Ecology, Anthropology, Statistics, Economics, Economic History, Demography, Sociology, Social Psychology, Political Science, and Linguistics are authentic academic disciplines. Some have systematic methodological problems (political science) and in some (i.e. sociology) the norms practitioners adhere to are so little variegated that the discipline is badly truncated and untrustworthy.

          • John200

            “Enough,” you say. Is this an edict? In a combox? Am I to take it seriously? I dunno, nope, and nope.

            The comment stands. Perhaps you need more, but more would be a significant distraction from the article. My point was that journalists think they are smarter than they are and that J-school faculty fill them with themselves.

            Now, social “sciences” are the embarrassing underbelly of the modern university. Oops, I took the bait. I hate it when I do that.

        • FRLBJ

          When I was in college, the College of Journalism had the students who could not make it in anything else. They were pretty abysmal then. I can only think the caliber has declined further. Writing was difficult for them!!!

      • musicacre

        You might be interested to see how this laziness is playing out in so many areas; check out today’s story in the National Post (Canadian) about the 29 public workers fired in Hamilton. Just the tip of the iceberg.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

      I also expect them to be able to write decent English. They can’t even do that. There’s somebody writing a story for a national wire service, and he doesn’t know the difference between “compare to” and “compare with,” or the precise meaning of “relevance,” or that you can’t “receive” an abortion, or the difference between “varied” and “various,” or between “ability” and “permission”. That story is a tissue of lying AND incompetence.

      • Ford Oxaal

        The old media has to scrape the bottom of the barrel — mostly plagiarized and recycled garbage. Slop the pigs mentality. They are milking the cow on the way down. The demise will be slow and painful, but it is already happening.

    • Simon

      “[Another lie. Some time off? It caused him to suspend the campaign altogether. In other words, no political ambition of his was more important than his daughter.]”

      No, Santorum quit because he was losing to Romney. He would have kept up his campaign if he’d been winning, daughter or no. Let’s try to practice what we preach here and be accurate.

      • givelifeachance2

        Yes, and also, Santorum could have thrown his delegates to prolifer-than-Romney Ron Paul. That Santorum was instrumental to Romney’s candidacy speaks a lot louder than any prolife platitudes. That the new March for Life leadership put him on the platform does not speak well for their offering fresh ideas and energy. Elevate Alan Keyes instead, who may have lost to Obama (amidst much dirty politics), but never compromised prolife principles.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

        I see — and you are an intimate of his? He was losing to Romney. But he was not out of the race. He showed no signs of wanting to concede. My point was that the phrase “some time off” was plain wrong. If the writer had said, “had contributed to his decision to suspend his campaign,” I would pass that as an interpretation, though I don’t agree with it. “Some time off” sounds like a few days or a week. It is not right.

        • Daniel G

          No. Both Simon and the reporter are correct. Santorum took time off during his campaign to spend time with his sick daughter just as the reporter said. He only gave up the campaign LONG after it was beyond clear he wasn’t going to get enough delegates. He was hoping for a brokered convention which was never going to happen. That’s why he used the word SUSPENDED. He was hoping that by some miracle he was going to get into the campaign again by getting around the popular vote. A lot of people thought he was just hurting his party by sticking around long after there was no hope of a victory. Of course he didn’t want to succeed. No ambitious politician ever wants to do that.

    • Prof_Override

      I’m confused by this relativist rant by someone who would rather be shot in the head than called a relativist. Using Bradbury and Orwell to support his position on the non-reporting of a repetitive (and thus non-newsworthy) event is warped at best. Cherry picking factoids, tilting against scientific polling results presented objectively because you don’t like the results makes you just as post modern and relativist as the those that you are railing against. Grow up.

      • Ford Oxaal

        The old media is dying. Nobody takes them seriously. And they hire at minimum wage. It shows. The story picked apart in this article is lame at best. Substandard.

      • http://www.facebook.com/skorlan Sue Korlan

        A poll which begins by misidentifying the object about which it asks the participants’ opinion is illegitimate, and that’s what that particular poll did. Roe v Wade allows abortion for any reason for all 9 months of pregnancy. Check out the poll and you will find it gave a very different version of what the decision allowed.

    • James Patton

      I find it disturbing that Mr. Esolen can’t produce a number that falls within the bound of what he claims would be truthful reporting. A number between ” 500,000 and 650,000 people” indicates something other than honest journalism.

      • NewCatholic08

        James, Are you just being disingenuous or are you that naive about estimating crowd sizes?

        • James Patton

          So you wish to claim that a 150,000 person spread is sincere reporting of attendance? This isn’t really difficult to understand why real journalist don’t wish to taint themselves by reporting such claims.

          • Ben Loop

            Sorry – we couldn’t all fit thru the turnstiles. The point is that “thousands” is deliberately misleading, in that it intentionally ignores the fact that the real number was in the hundreds of thousands. Was it 500 thousand? 650? 400? 750? It was somewhere north of 300, and south of a million. No reporter is worried that they might have been off 100 thousand either way. That’s not why they said “thousands.” Estimate errors of this magnitude are par for the course, and well within the bounds of journalistic due diligence. They said “thousands” because they didn’t want the world to know it is hundreds of thousands – and they would be HORRIFIED if their caricature were discredited, and the world knew that a massive number of those marching were in the 15-25 range. It’s much easier for them to create the illusion of a few thousand grizzled old crazies.

    • unknow

      I was at the dc march for life and there was harldy any press there our diocese was the only diocese that did not get showen they care only bout the southern states and alot of the teens were upset that we did not get press I know ettn was there and last year they show out diocese bout threee times . i though the marchy for life dc can be a little better next year

    • MQS

      Thanks, great article. Makes one think…. (which I assume is one of your objectives)

    • Ford Oxaal

      Great article — glad to see someone taking the time to point out the endless litany of falsehood and sheer idiocy that pervades AP and all of the “old press” — those pesky icons of mass mind control. Meanwhile, there were at least 500,000 people at the march (including yours truly with my family — got interviewed on EWTN by Damon Owens), and each of those people have 100 friends that were not there — and every single one of those 50,000,000 people *know* that the ‘mass media’ has lost all credibility, and is so much background noise.

      • musicacre

        Good for you! Wish I had been there, don’t have a passport yet.

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    • Mike

      None of what Anthony Esolen reports are really lies. He talks about Orwellian lies and than launches a few of his own. Reporters have to restrict their accounts to a certain number of words. Every word counts. Every extraneous word has to go. The reporter was probably on the ground at the time and just described what he or she saw at the time. It’s a very brief and neutral account and was probably snipped down by an editor to fit a strict word limit. Of course a piece of this nature is not going to encompass several interviews or in-depth soul searching. The story of the young man conceived after a rape may well not have been known to the reporter at the time and probably couldn’t have been fitted in if it had been. It was, however, reported by several other sources, so it seems disingenuous to suggest that the media is up to some sort of conspiracy aimed at deluding the public. Anthony Esolen insists that this brief and factual report should have been written to his own specifications. THAT is Orwellian and it’s not so clear who is being stupid here.

      • Ford Oxaal

        What a laugh! The mass media is a giant corporate puss sore, and everyone except for you knows it! Who do you work for, CBS?

        • John200

          That is perhaps, “pus sore” as I guess you didn’t mean to refer to your kitty.

          • Ford Oxaal

            Nice save!

            • John200

              No charge. I am learning from your contributions to the discussion.

    • Howard Kainz

      Not stupid, though. “The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8) They are astute in keeping inconvenient information out of circulation.

      • Ford Oxaal

        I learn nothing from the mass media. They serve up stupid for a living. After a while, they start smoking their own crack. They become stupid. Like an eel.

    • Pingback: Stupid Press, Stupid People: Non-Reporting the March for Life | Crisis Magazine « Lioness

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

      Here’s a sentence you did not see: “The annual March for Life, typically the largest peaceful assembly of citizens in a given year, drew about a half a million people, most of them young, braving the cold weather to affirm what they consider the sanctity of human life.” That’s to the folks below. If I see a crowd that couldn’t fit in the Orange Bowl, or two or three Orange Bowls, and I write “thousands,” I have engaged in deliberate distortion — or I’m plain stupid. And yes, I do expect reporters to write in good English, and I do expect them to get their damned facts right. Roe vs. Wade did NOT LEGALIZE abortion in the USA. That is not hard to get straight. Roe vs. Wade did not allow for abortion under “some” circumstances. That too is not hard to get straight. I don’t care if the writers vote for Obama or Romney or the man in the moon. I want them to find things out, and not slack off like the lazy dogs they are.

      • John200

        They are lazy, no doubt about it, but this is also a case of incompetence rooted in the training of these worthy “professionals.” They are poorly trained, and not educated (you, as a professor, know the difference). They have no way to know how low is their skill level, until the market tells them.

        Hark, the market speaketh…

        I dunno that I would call them dogs. I love my dog and I think he is well adapted to his state in life.

      • Ethan

        I think we all understand what they mean about legalizing abortion. Abortion is legal until the point of fetal viability. I think you’re splitting hairs in an effort to make a mountain out of a molehill. How can you accuse reporters of engaging in deliberate distortion when, as someone else pointed out, you claim Santorum quit his campaign because of his daughter? That is simply not true. Santorum quit because he could not win the necessary delegates. You tell this bald-faced lie and then complain about reporters lying. It’s clear that everything you have written in this article applies to you.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

          Trying to be patient here. A writer either means what he writes, or he is lazy, or he is a liar. Roe vs. Wade did not legalize abortion. That is a fact. It is not splitting hairs, because a lot of people have been led to believe that that one awful SC decision stands between them and a coat hanger in an alley (another stupid lie). And it is not true that abortion is legal to the point of viability. What country do you live in? Why in the hell do we have debates about partial-birth abortion, if abortion is legal only to the point of viability? The decision, combined with the Doe/Bolton decision that followed close upon its heels, made abortion legal for any reason for any time during the pregnancy. The supposedly limiting phrase “for the health of the mother” was an open door, meaning “for any psychological reason whatsoever.” That was the immediate interpretation, and nobody on the SC objected to it — so I assume that it lay in their intention. Ethan calls me a liar because I take Santorum at his word. He said that he was suspending his campaign because of his daughter. That is what he said. Now I’m supposed to be lying, because I don’t assume that HE WAS LYING? My point was that “some time off” was a deliberate attempt to belittle or deprecate the act. It wasn’t “some time off”. It was “it’s over.”

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

            I caught them in egregious lies just a few weeks ago about the Pope’s new book, on the infancy narratives. It was a case either of deliberate, flagrant, evil distortion, saying precisely the opposite of what the Pope said, or blockheaded stupidity. Take your pick — devils or dopes. The Pope in that book confirms the historicity of every part of the infancy narratives, and confirms the theological wisdom and profundity of every single tradition that Christians have developed to celebrate the holy day. I read the book to review it for the WSJ. The book is scrawled over with my notes. THEN I read the reports in the mainstream press, about the Pope being a Grinch, denying this and belittling that. What’s an equivalent? How about somebody at Gettysburg, writing that President Lincoln had sneered and jested at the deaths of all the cannon fodder littering the field?

    • HEBJR

      Thank you for this, since without it I would not have seen a decent report on an event that took place just a few miles from where we live! The DC media gave far more attention to the mere 1,000 people who marched on Saturday to support gun control — of course a favorite of the media.

    • Lee Gilbert

      Yeah, it’s kind of surprising that our cultural enemies should ignore this. Maybe if we hopped on one foot with an even bigger sign in a an even bigger crowd.

    • Rick

      It will change when a good chunk of people stop buying the same old newspaper and magazine and cut the cable TV. When the money flow drops, they will change. Till change happens, we can do our best and be glad most of them will not be spending eternal life with us – God willing.

    • hombre111

      The Right to life folks just have to stick in there, come rain or come shine. But they should give up on some sort of political victory which has only ended in glib “pro-life” Repubs like Reagan who then chose to do nothing, and a gaggle of conservative Supreme Court justices who are more interested in the right of a corporation to be a person than an unborn child. Yet one more year, they have skipped around the issue. The best hope is what happens in the states, some of it deliberately aimed to reache the highest court. But those old boys know how to play dodge ball.

    • Keith Parkinson

      The demolition of that inept piece of journalism was fun, and all, but what’s the point? Every year the March for Life happens, and weeks before it begins, everyone on the pro-life side giddily prepares their complaints about how under-reported it will be, and how persecuted and ignored they are.

      I know that decades ago, some people marched on Washington, and it was successful, and it has stuck in the cultural memory. That doesn’t mean every time a bunch of people march around Washington with signs and a cause, the American people have to care. The March for Life is not newsworthy to the average American. It is also not interesting to the average reporter. For a reporter to try to make it interesting to an uninterested audience is not journalism but editorializing. And we can’t very well be surprised when a hostile institution does not editorialize in our favor.

      Marching on Washington and then complaining about the lack of coverage every year can do a lot of good, but only within the pro-life camp. This movement has not reached the stage where everything in the culture is primed to explode, and all that is needed is a big demonstration and a few news stories to get serious gears turning. Any positive social change that is to last will take a long time, and involves many stages. We are at the stage where effective action is *not* direct imitation of the final stages of more successful social movements of the past; but rather things like setting a good example, having conversations, stating the case in a reasonable and inclusive way in any public forum you can find.

      Finding little pockets of people who already agree with you and grumbling amongst them is the one thing sure to do absolutely no good. As fun as it is. And I did enjoy the article – but a great deal less than all your others.

      As you mentioned, there were a ton of young people at the march, like always. This is a young and energetic movement, and its cause is totally in line with the natural reason that our discourse must be based on. It grows bigger every year and I think that things will start to turn for it. But in the mean time there will be another 5 or more years of waving signs around in large numbers and then acting like we don’t know why we’re not on the front page of every newspaper.

    • TeaPot562

      On a Saturday morning in the early 1970s, about one hundred thirty people (some pushing infants in strollers) picketed our local hospital a/c reports they were performing abortions. The same day, FIVE protesters picketed a gate at a local Naval Weapons Station, because of information that nuclear weapons were stored there. Of course they were; Navy ships always offload all weapons, including nuclear, before they go into shipyards, as a matter of safety. This has been true, including nukes, since before 1950.
      Make a guess about which protest was pictured on the front page of the Sunday L.A. Times!
      Right! The 5 person protest was photoed, and the hundred-plus person protests was ignored.
      TeaPot562

    • Pingback: Stupid Press, Stupid People: Non-Reporting the March for Life | Foundation Life

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

      There are people with the natural disposition for reporting what they see, after having tried to see all they can. Umpires, historians, policemen … the category used to include judges and certain newspaper reporters. We still need those reporters, because even though we have the internet, we can’t be in a hundred places at once, ordinary people are not going to be present at congressional hearings, and ordinary people have their own work and cannot spend the time reading congressional bills. I can imagine a newspaper saying to somebody smart on the staff, “Here is the health care bill. Nobody knows what is in it. Read it, find out, and report. We’ll give you a weekly column on it, 1000 words, for the next few months.” We need people like that. We don’t have them.

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    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      G K Chesterton, who had worked for George Cadbury’s “Cocoa Press,” which always faithfully reflected the proprietor’s political views, once remarked that the power of the press is the power to suppress.

      I do not know the American press well, but this certainly remains true in Europe: a speech in parliament by a right-wing politician may have a column devoted to it in the right-wing press, but simply not be reported at all in the left-wing papers. Reports of party and trades union conferences are the same; each paper may cover two or three speeches, but seldom the same two or three speeches. More generally, there is a wide difference between what the left-wing and right-wing press deem newsworthy (or of interest to their readers)..

    • The_Monk

      The prevaricating media of the culture of death proclaims, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Unless it is a politically correct story like the so-called “Million Man March” some years ago. Otherwise, peaceful marches by untold hundreds of thousands of Life Affirmation representatives, or Tea Party members, are non-stories….

    • J G

      When I lived in DC every year they ignored the March for Life. If 10 people marched for the snail darter it would be national news. We don’t have a free press anymore.

    • sleeper48

      State media is generally substandard.

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    • givelifeachance2

      What do big numbers of prolifers mean if the term “prolife” has been diluted so that Fr Jenkins of Notre Dame is included. I understand Notre Dame led the March this year, something I doubt Nellie Gray would have permitted. Sure there may be prolife individuals at Notre Dame, but to put that Obama-truckling institution right at the head of the March calls the whole enterprise into question. That, along with sanctimonious Santorum at the podium, saying one thing with mouth, and the opposite with actions. If we can’t March -for- abolition – no exceptions, no excuses, well then what good is marching and I don’t blame the press for its silence.

      • Ben Loop

        I took it a different way – I had a chance to see the Notre Dame students leading the march, and I interpreted it as taking a stand for their faith, AND challenging leaders at their own university to recapture and support the faith on which Notre Dame was built. I didn’t interpret the selection of Notre Dame as a capitulation to luke-warm political correctness, but as young people taking charge of priorities and principles, in spite of the tepid support of the spiritually-crippled Baby Boomers who somehow still think they represent the vanguard.

        • givelifeachance2

          Most of those students were young enough to have had the opportunity to turn down admission to Notre Shame after it honored Obama – now that would have been gutsy. Nope, they had to go there, they just had to. But to accept an opportunity to represent an institution so craven as to award Mr Infanticide an honorary degree – now that polishes the apple of Shame a few notches. “Challenge their leaders” to support the faith? That sounds achingly similar to the “engaging Obama in dialogue” rhetoric we heard before Obama went to ND to get his crown. Well, Notre Shame engaged him all right, so thoroughly that they’re now joined at the hip. What the appropriate action for true prolife students to take would have been to stand down in favor of another more appropriate college.

          No, this was in no way a challenge to Jenkins – if anything, he was right out in front (if not physically, then metaphorically) with his compliant students, soaking up the beatitude of leading such a great “prolife” institution. Not understood is the extreme dilution that has thus been made of the term “prolife”.

    • Lora

      Bravo! May the lord bless you for your faithfulness!

    • Matthew Ogden

      This article calls to mind something I have been saying for a long time. Don’t blame the politicians or the press: blame the people. The American people are the reason this country is so horrible in every conceivable regard. And as an orthodox Catholic, I am not one of them. I do not belong in this country, or even in this world. Thus I can say that they, the Americans, are a stupid people heading only for ruin. What we, the orthodox Catholics of the world, have to do, is simply resist their attempts to bring us down with them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

      Sometimes a thing is too obvious to see — too close, to get a perspective on it. Far more people identify themselves as conservative than as liberal. I don’t know if their self-identification is accurate all the time, but the least we can say is that there are a lot of such people. Where, then, are the conservative or conservative-leaning newspapers? I’m talking about the local ones, because other than the Washington Times and the sort-of-libertarian Wall Street Journal, there aren’t any. That means that some other motive is overriding the motive of profit. Colleges are in the same category. The students are markedly more conservative than the faculty (which isn’t difficult to be), but the colleges hold the hammer, and have no incentive to recruit and keep conservative professors.

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    • Ben Loop

      I 100% agree with this article – the coverage and editing were deliberate attempts to minimize the event. I was there – it was HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, and merely to say “thousands” is a deliberate choice. Furthermore, camera and video angles in mainstream media were selected to minimize the sense of scale. It was almost impossible to find a video showing the full scale, and when you do, you think “hey, is that the same march I just saw covered on CNN?” Where were all the videos of the river of humanity marching in the snow, grinding to a virtual halt because they were completely filling up every square inch of space? The pictures of singing Dominican sisters? The cheering crowds of university students? The student and youth speakers on stage on the Mall before the march? The Eastern Orthodox bishops chanting the memorare for Nellie Gray? Tell you what – just come out next year for the greatest party in America, bring your cameras, and saturate the internet with a healthy dose of reality (heck, we even got “tweeted” by the Holy Father before the march). You’re not going to get it from the professional journalists. See you all next year – and wear your long johns.

      • givelifeachance2

        Maybe the problem is that it is too much of a party and not enough of a protest. Maybe nobody believes prolifers are really interested in abolishing abortion, since most don’t even bother to lobby their congressman to get a human life amendment passed.

    • Ben Loop

      it was impossible to get decent video of the march on US networks – here are a couple of good links that show the tone & order of magnitude of the event. Yep, just a few thousand tired and bitter crazies makin’ a ruckus

      http://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/11740

      http://www.mercatornet.com/video_choice/view/11741

    • Robert

      Most conservatives no longer seem to support the pro life cause or even see it as an issue. Romney ran entirely on the business philosophy and his entire concern was the tax issue. Romeny if anything was pro choice and would be perfectly fine with the modern society and social decay and decline that accompanies it. i saw little in his candidacy that really reflected his supposed mormon faith or anything even making reference to spiritual values or anything of the sort.

    • Robert

      Until the issue of the media is completely addressed I don’t see much hope for conservatives. The media complex is run by a few extremely evil individuals and has allowed a few evil individuals to completely control political debate. Politicians themselves are not immune to it and in fact on both sides many have become victims to it. Political debate takes place entirely through the media and through the new “social media” and they set the agenda.

    • FRLBJ

      There are 6 major corporations which own all the media. They are run apparently by Satanists or would-be Anti-Christs who hate God and His Church and all that is good and true. It is always amazing to listen to several different news outlets and here the same line even if it is across the world. These folks are playing very seriously to control the masses and advance their godless agenda. Many like Obama came up through Marxist training. After seeing the complete hegemony and power of Obama to use the media to force his will on us, I can only surmise that there is a great spiritual evil at work here which is not going to be vanquished by playing the traditional press game of being on the rolladex and of making an interesting story for these busy and often incompetent reporters. We must cry out to God to deliver us from the oppresive King Obama, just like Gideon was used to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites.