May 4 2004

CBS Responds to FAIR on March Coverage

A May 3 FAIR Action Alert encouraged readers to contact the broadcast networks about the scant coverage given to the April 25 March for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C. CBS sent this response to FAIR activists:

On April 25, The Evening News did two pieces on the march, therefore devoting a major portion of The Evening News that night to the march. CBS’s other news programs also devoted time to covering the historic event.

The Action Alert counted CBS Evening News’s April 25 coverage as a single segment, although it involved reports by two separate correspondents joined by an anchor segue. (ABC’s coverage of the march involved a similar double segment.) If you separate all double segments, CBS News had four stories on the March for Women’s Lives, and the three broadcast networks together had eight.

But applying the same standards to the Promise Keepers rally of 1997, which FAIR used to compare media attention, also increases the number of stories the networks devoted to that event. CBS News ran eight segments on the Promise Keepers march; the three networks combined ran 26. The question FAIR raised in our Action Alert remains: Why are the Promise Keepers, with a smaller demonstration, three times more newsworthy than the March for Women’s Lives?