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Anti-Pro-Life Bias Exposed: Major Networks Cover Royal Birth, Ignore UK Toddler Alfie Evans

04-25-2018

If the major television networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, can spend nearly a half hour on the birth of one baby, why can't they spare one second for a dying toddler?

That's the question Katie Yoder pondered in a recent article for the Media Research Center's website Newsbusters.org where she serves as the associate culture editor.

In her research, Yoder found the three networks devoted more than 28 minutes on April 23 and April 24 to the birth of the third child to William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She also found the very same programs ignored the story of another infant - Baby Alfie - that was playing out in another hospital in Britain. Alfie Evans was taken off life support at the hospital against his parents wishes the very same day.  

To Yoder, it seemed like the perfect comparison to check how the networks were covering one versus the other. The day the royal baby is born was the same exact day Alfie was taken off a ventilator.

"They are both two British babies. But one is celebrating the life of, while the other is facing death. That made me want to look into this," Yoder said in a telephone interview with CBN News

While various online media, including CBN News and FOX News, have reported the Alfie Evans story, Yoder also ponders why the major networks have so far failed to mention Tom and Kate Evans fight in the UK courts to save their son's life.  So why no network coverage for the 23-month-old toddler?

"Last year, the networks were reluctant to cover another British baby whose case was also in the legal courts - Charlie Gard. The networks actually did cover him, but only after Pope Francis and President Trump chimed in," Yoder noted. 

"With little Alfie, Pope Francis has been very outspoken. He's tweeted multiple times. He's met with the father of Alfie. Italy is ready to welcome Alfie into the county and admit him to a Vatican hospital and the networks haven't said anything. I think it speaks to how the networks, in general, have a history of being wary when it comes to covering issues that the pro-life movement is concerned about," she explained. 

To support this point, Yoder says to take a look at how much coverage the networks have given to the March for Life over a four-year period.  According to the MRC, in 2016, the nets devoted 21 minutes, 52 seconds to the march (they gave 3.4 times more coverage to the Women's March). In 2015, only CBS mentioned the march, allotting 15 seconds. In 2014, the networks devoted 46 seconds (yet, ABC, NBC, and CBS spent six times that on the National Zoo's new panda cub and four-and-a-half times that on the Climate March). In 2013, it was just 17 seconds of coverage devoted to the march. 

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"But why the networks aren't covering this little toddler when they routinely cover issues that Pope Francis is concerned about is baffling," she told CBN News

"It's good that the networks are celebrating life. People want to know about the royal baby and that's fine. But if they can cover nearly a half hour on the birth of this British baby, why can't they spare a second for a dying toddler who also has international support? she asked. 

Yoder's article on the Newsbusters.org website explains the methodology used to come up with the 28:03 of coverage devoted to the birth of the royal baby. MRC Culture watched the evening news shows April 23 and the morning news shows April 24 of the three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC).

For the baby time tally, MRC included stories reported in connection to the royal baby (such as interviews with doctors on childbirth). In addition to full segments, MRC counted shorter commentary in the shows, but not teasers. MRC Culture also searched for "Alfie Evans" in Nexis transcripts.

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