Saturday, March 24, 2012

No Rally Coverage

(Update: Reason Rally coverage! Here and here and here and here and here! Go read and celebrate!)

I cannot believe this.  I have been searching all over the internet - on every news service I can think of, as well as google and similar - and I cannot find a single current news story or article about the Reason Rally.

Right now on CNN - on the NewsRoom, no less - two anchors are discussing bagels.  Bagels!  This right after a gripping story about "the Tupperware lady - a stay at home mom who has tips..." .

Nothing to see here (file photo)
WTF?  WTF?!   Does CNN actually consider bagels and Tupperware - along with recycled stories from the previous week - more newsworthy than the fact that thousands of marginalized citizens have gathered on the National Mall,  rallying from all over the country to send the message that we are here?

The lineup of speakers is impressive by any measure.  Even gutless CNN has featured many of them at various times - Richard Dawkins, P. Z. Myers, Bill Maher, Tim Minchin, Eddie Izzard, James Randi, Dan Barker and many others.  Were these people lined up to speak at some other sort of event, it would certainly be newsworthy.  But, they are speaking at an explicitly atheist/humanist rally before thousands of people:  and the media reaction?  Crickets.

Back to CNN.  Now, a brief blurb on the anti-Affordable Healthcare act protest in Washington today.

Finally!  Coverage of events in Washington DC today!

But wait!

Unbelievable. Still not a word breathed about the much larger Reason Rally.

Let's review: Not a word all day about the Reason Rally - a large gathering in Washington DC on the national Mall, featuring dozens of prominent speakers and performers and attended by thousands of freethinkers, atheists and humanists from all over the country.  Contrast this with the repeated coverage of the pro-religion rally against the president's Affordable Care Act, giving airtime and publicity to the position of those opposed to Healthcare reform.

Fair, balanced, honest journalism?  I think not.

Is it really much of a stretch to say that this country has lost any true fourth estate?  The integrity of journalism in this country has long been in question,  as blatantly propagandist "news/entertainment" organizations (e.g. Fox) have sprung up all over the cable channels.  Still, a few networks still claim to be actual places of real journalism.  CNN, the major networks (CBS, ABC, NBC) and PBS still claim to stick to actual objective journalism.

Let's examine two similar events and the media response to them.  Last year, when the famously fractious and divisive Glenn Beck held his religious rally in Washington, there was blanket coverage across all major media outlets.  Today, when a similar-sized crowd of people converges on the capital to speak for the marginalized, the oppressed and the threatened in our society - absolute, total silence.  Worse than silence: they air filler stories about "Twilight", "Tupperware" and "Bagels" as if there is simply nothing newsworthy going on today.

The loss of reason and common sense in the public sphere is something that has concerned freethinkers for a long time.  Only recently have people begun to notice and worry about the loss of the fourth estate.  A free press is one of the cornerstones of any free democratic republic. It helps to check the abuse of power by the government, by the wealthy and by the well-connected. When the media itself is owned by or kowtowing to a few powerful groups, the society has lost an important voice for justice and security.


  1. You are absolutely correct. I was at the Reason Rally and I did not see one news truck from any of the networks. I was very disappointed at this non-coverage. We must continue to raise our voices until the “liberal” media will take us seriously. Then maybe our representatives will take us seriously. As was said at the rally, we are not going away, we are growing in vocal numbers.

  2. Thank you for your comment. I'm happy that you made it to the rally! Later today, I will be posting a roundup of interviews and what news stories there were as well as video clips of all the best speakers.

  3. Nice article. I've been waiting for hours to hear what's happening at the Reason Rally. Can't find much. I think I'll see what's on Al Jazeera and forget American news feeds...

  4. If you're looking for coverage of Reason and non-theism, Anonymous, I don't think you'll have any more luck on Al Jazeera than on American news feeds.