Major television networks spent just 2 minutes and 6 seconds covering the 45th annual March for Life on Friday during their evening broadcasts, according to a new study by the conservative Media Research Center. This amount was far less than networks devoted to coverage of the Women's March the following day.
What did the study find?
Following the March earlier Friday, ABC News and NBC News devoted a combined 2 minutes and 6 seconds during their evening broadcasts to the event. CBS News did not cover the March in its evening broadcasts.
The study noted that the networks' amount of coverage of the event is consistent with the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 events. In 2017, when Mike Pence became the first sitting vice president to address the March rally in person, the networks covered the event for 21 minutes, 51 seconds.
NBC’s Nightly News guest anchor Savannah Guthrie covered the event for one minute and 49 seconds during Friday’s broadcast.
“The president did something today that no other president has done before him,” Guthrie said, noting the president “directly addressed a massive crowd of anti-abortion activists” at the March for Life via satellite.
NBC interviewed two marchers — one who praised Trump for addressing the crowd and one who said she was an adoptive mother marching in support of adoption over abortion.
Guthrie also said “abortion rights advocates say they're increasingly concerned, the president’s chipping away at access to safe abortions, contraception and women's rights,” and interviewed NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue.
On ABC, World News Tonight anchor David Muir covered the event for 17 seconds, noting the president spoke to the gathering.
The March for Life — described by organizers as the world’s largest pro-life gathering — takes place each year on or near Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Marchers begin at a rally on the National Mall and proceed to the Supreme Court in protest of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
How did March for Life coverage compare to Women's March coverage?
According to another Media Research center study, during their Saturday evening broadcasts, the networks spent 6 minutes and 43 seconds covering the Women’s March. Last year, the Women's March gathered in Washington the day after Trump's inaguration. This year, rallies and conferences took place in several cities.
NBC News dedicated 2 minutes and 42 seconds to the Women’s March, more than the total coverage time the March for Life received.
Anchor José Díaz-Balart said Women's March participants “took to the streets today, as they did a year ago, to demand equality, justice and social and political change.”
ABC's World News Tonight covered the event for 1 minute and 59 seconds. Correspondent Eva Pilgrim reported crowds were "significantly larger this year.”
“This crowd stretches for as far as the eye can see in both directions,” she said of the New York City event. “Everyone here marching for change.”
CBS spent 2 minutes and 2 seconds covering the event, noting that it has faced criticism "for only representing women on one side of the aisle, opposing a Republican president and then pushing for only Democratic candidates.”