By Katherine Rodriguez
Journalistic integrity at the George Washington University
campus took a nosedive last week when its paper of record, The
Hatchet, blatantly downplayed pro-life youth participation in
January’s 2013 March for Life Rally in Washington, DC.
On January 25, hundreds of thousands of pro-life
activists from all over the country convened on the National Mall
to show their support for the repeal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973
Supreme Court decision which struck down many state laws
Young people, many of whom were college students, arrived in
droves to attend the rally. The Washington
Post reported that most attendees of the March “
seemed to be teenagers and young adults.” Christendom College
in Front Royal, VA, for example, even cancelled classes so
400 students could attend the March in Washington.
And their numbers are growing in the pro-life movement. A recent
Gallup poll showed that pro-choice Americans are at an all-time low
of 41 percent, and among the 18 to 29 demographic, young people are
more likely to be against abortion in any case.
Yet the photo splashed across the front page of The
Hatchet did not represent the youthful crowd at Friday’s
The Hatchet published an image of a group of
smiling, young, female pro-abortion counter-protesters alongside a
clearly cherry-picked image depicting the pro-life side as
frowning, older female marchers with a priest in his clerical
collar looming over them.
The subtext is unmistakable.
Rosemary Holt, the co-president of the pro-life organization at
GWU, Colonials for Life, expressed outrage at The
Hatchet‘s inaccurate representation of the March.:
“The GW Hatchet is not required to
applaud the pro-life movement, but they should accurately represent
events as they occurred,” she wrote in an op-ed for the campus
conservative publication, The GW Patriot.
The photo spread published by The Hatchet not only
portrayed the counter-protesters more positively, but made it seem
as though they played a more substantial role in the March than
they in fact did.
“Hundreds of thousands of individuals marched against
abortion Friday January 25th and only approximately 100 individuals
counter-protested. This fact was not accurately reported in
the GW Hatchet article.”
This is not the only instance in the article in which The
Hatchet played fast and loose with the
facts. The Hatchet inaccurately reported
“Colonials for Life draws attention with its weekly protests, which
Holt leads, outside an on-campus abortion clinic”-grossly
misrepresenting the mission and activities of the pro-life group
and casting them in a controversial light. While such protests do
occur on campus, they are led by the GW Catholics, a campus group
entirely unaffiliated with Colonials for Life.
In fact, the group strives to be as inclusive as possible,
branding itself as “non-partisan” and “non-sectarian.” According to
Holt, Colonials for Life aims to take a pro-woman, pro-science
approach to the issue of abortion in order to get secularists and
atheists on board as well as other outside religious
“It’s not that we [Colonials For Life] don’t want to be
associated with the GW Catholics,” Holt said. “That’s not the
direction we wanted to take with the organization.”
We have a moral obligation to expose media outlets which
unfairly represent conservatives and the causes they support.
The Hatchet‘s unbalanced coverage of the March For Life
and the pro-life movement on campus is just one example.
Media bias does not just fall into the territory of the liberal
mainstream media; it starts in our college news outlets, where many
of these university writers and editors are trained to think a
certain way by the journalism professors that teach them.
If these writers learn in college that it is okay to slant news
articles, they then go on to work for national outlets and the
Katherine Rodriguez is a Summer 2012 NJC alumnus and
conservative activist at The George Washington University, where
she is a junior. She is also is an assistant producer for
conservative radio show host Armstrong Williams, who broadcasts
from 6-8pm on Sirius XM’s The Power Channel 128.