'They say the press doesn't cover them': Trump weighs in on March for Life

Friday's March for Life is gonna be yuuuuuge.

President Donald Trump said so.

In an interview with ABC News' David Muir, Trump was asked about last weekend's Women's March on Washington: 

"I couldn’t hear them, but the crowds were large," Trump responded. "You’re gonna have a large crowd on Friday, too, which is mostly pro-life people. You’re gonna have a lot of people coming on Friday, and I will say this, and I didn’t realize this, but I was told, you will have a very large crowd of people. I don’t know – as large or larger – some people say it’s gonna be larger. Pro-life people. And they say the press doesn’t cover them."

The newly inaugurated president obviously hasn't spent enough time reading GetReligion — or he would be better informed on the longstanding and indisputable problem of news coverage heavily favoring the pro-choice side. Specifically regarding the March for Life, our archive is filled with posts on the (lack of) coverage.

But guess what? The Trump effect already seems to be making a difference. First, the Dow Jones industrial average closes above 20,000 for the first time. Then — the morning after Trump mentions the March for Life on ABC — the annual pro-life march makes the front page of today's Washington Post:

Coincidence? No way!

Actually, undoubtedly so. But I was enjoying myself there for a moment.

Seriously, the transition from a pro-abortion-rights president to one who has declared himself anti-abortion is a major factor in both the Post story (by religion writers Julie Zauzmer and Sarah "Yes, she used to be a GetReligionista" Pulliam Bailey) and a similar piece inside today's New York Times (by Godbeat veteran Laurie Goodstein). It's also why the Detroit Free Press article that I critiqued Wednesday made the front page. Trump has given journalists a fresh, timely angle on a 43-year-old event.

Concerning the main Post and Times reports, I'll simply echo what Associated Press religion writer Rachel Zoll said:

Interestingly, two online sidebars by the Post — neither of which I saw in today's print edition — are as compelling as the main story.

One sidebar, by Bailey, delves into the divide in the pro-life movement that Trump's rise sparked. It's definitely worth a read:

The other sidebar, by Zauzmer, addresses a question that we've discussed repeatedly here at GetReligion (as recently as yesterday). That question: how to refer to the pro-life/anti-abortion side:

A highly relevant chunk of that story:

The Associated Press, The Washington Post, New York Times and most other large mainstream news organizations have long made it a matter of policy to refer to “antiabortion” vs. “abortion rights” activists, instead of the terms “pro-life” vs. “pro-choice.” To people who define themselves as “pro-life,” that terminology has often rankled.
“It’s just such a negative — we’re against something instead of for something,” Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life, said recently. She acknowledged that the term “pro-life” has been muddled by people who no longer understand its meaning. But she still prefers it, and she did not think she would embrace “antiabortion” as Students for Life is doing.
[Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life] agreed: Many Americans are confused by what “pro-life” even means, and assume they must subscribe to a conservative agenda on many social issues, not just abortion, to join a “pro-life” group. “Maybe they’re pro-gay marriage or they’re pro-marijuana legalization. So they feel like, ‘I can’t be pro-life.’”
She thinks using the word “antiabortion” might help recruit those people.

Go ahead and read it all, then contemplate this question: What terminology should journalists seeking to provide fair, impartial coverage of abortion adopt to describe the competing sides? By all means, leave a comment below or tweet us at @GetReligion.

Meanwhile, stay tuned. This news broke just this morning:

Friday's March for Life is gonna be yuuuuuge.

Photo via March for Life

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