Report: Networks Spend 19 Minutes Smearing Catholic Teens, 58 Seconds on March for Life

Anti-abortion activists march outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, during the March for Life in Washington Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

A new report reveals the major networks devoted 19 minutes to coverage of false accusations of racism against the Covington Catholic teens attending the March for Life, in contrast with only 58 seconds spent on the actual annual pro-life event.

Media Research Center’s (MRC) NewsBusters reports that, between Saturday night and Monday morning, NBC, ABC and CBS spent 19 minutes, 5 seconds of air time on smears of racism against the Catholic teens who were confronted by left-wing activists. The networks, however, devoted only 58 seconds to the actual March for Life event held Friday on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

“A troubling scene many are calling racist,” announced anchor Jose Diaz-Balart on Saturday’s NBC Nightly News as he described the deceptively edited video that went viral on social media.

NBC reporter Tammy Leitner portrayed the video clip of students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky being confronted by a Native American demonstrator as “dozens of youths wearing Make America Great Again hats mocking Native American elder and Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips.”

According to the report, on Sunday, ABC This Week host Martha Raddatz asked Oklahoma Sen. Jim Lankford, a Republican, “What’s your message to those teenagers? And has the president created this environment doing things like calling Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’?”

“Meanwhile, another guest, Democratic New York Senator and newly-announced 2020 presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, wasn’t asked a single question about founders of the left-wing Women’s March being accused of anti-Semitism,” NewsBusters noted.

ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight provided 9 minutes and 35 seconds of total air time to attacks against the Catholic high school students, but only 6 seconds to the March for Life event.

CBS spent the least amount of time on the left-wing activists’ confrontation with the students at the Lincoln Memorial, said the report, for a total of 4 minutes, 21 seconds. The network devoted only 8 seconds to coverage of the March for Life on Friday’s CBS Evening News.

“By Monday morning, all three networks began to acknowledge that there was a lot more to the story, citing additional video footage of vile taunts being hurled at the Covington students before the confrontation with [Nathan] Phillips,” NewsBusters observed.

“NBC’s Today quickly moved on to the next story, but the hosts on ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning engaged in discussion afterwards,” the report continued, “admitting that there was a ‘rush to judgment’ about the incident and lamenting ‘people jumping to conclusions without knowing the full story.’”

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