If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?”
Today’s journalists might ask that old philosophical question this way: “If a march or rally occurs with thousands of people and we aren’t there to cover it, does it have any influence?”
Journalists don’t like it when we point out bias on the news pages. But it’s really hard to miss the Arizona Republic’s ongoing bias against the pro-life movement, as reflected in their lack of coverage of a rally that brought 2,000 people to the state Capitol Sunday afternoon to mark the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s tragic Roe v. Wade decision.
If there was any coverage, before or after the event, I didn’t see it and couldn’t find it on the web. This despite the presence of two Congressmen, dozens of elected officials, the leader of a national conservative legal organization that rivals the ACLU, and the Catholic Bishop of Phoenix.
Contrast that with today’s B-1 “News Update” that might as well be a press release encouraging folks to join the “100 people expected to rally at the State Capitol” in support of Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act.” The reporter does everything but draw a map to the event.
Actually, in the past the Republic has run “If you go” sidebars that included maps to make it easier for you to attend liberal political events. But we managed to draw more than 8,000 people to the Capitol for a pro-marriage rallly in 2004 without any help from the local paper. (The media covered the event — it would have been hard not to, but estimated the crowd at a little over 1,000. Since we assigned several people to count folks as they marched past, we knew better.)
The answer to the philosophical question is “yes, the falling tree makes a sound.” The answer to the journalist question is “yes, conservative rallies that can draw thousands of people have an impact on our community whether you are there to cover it or not.”
As a former journalist who has written many editorials, I don’t mind newspapers taking strong positions on the editorial page. There are also newspapers like New Times that honestly identify themselves as coming at stories with a point of view. But if the Republic is to have any credibility as an objective source of news for our community, they need to do better than ignoring a rally of 2,000 while promoting, pushing and covering a rally they hope will draw 100 people.

1 Comment

  1. I just saw the write-up by Amanda Crawford posted on AZ Central. She reported that there were “around 100 people”, but the 5 pictures posted were cropped in such a way that you never had a view of the true size of the crowd. The pictures were angled and focused on a sign here, a hand there, and a group of no more than 8 people. Yet, this story is top of the screen on AZ Central?