Unlike in previous years, the mainstream media has mostly remained silent on the fourth-annual Women’s March. The march is scheduled for Saturday but few mainstream media outlets have written preview articles ahead of the 2020 march.
Many local news outlets, in places such as Denver, Sacramento and San Luis Obispo, California, have written about local Women’s March events, but the likes of the New York Times, CNN, CBS News, ABC News, MSNBC and NBC News have not written any such articles on the upcoming march.
This lack of media coverage on a national level was a stark contrast to the past three marches, for which the media highlighted the hundreds of thousands — and by some estimates, millions — of Americans joined the movement, which protested the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.
Only USA Today, the Washington Post and the Daily Beast wrote about the Women’s March. Of the three, the Washington Post did not focus on the reasons why this year’s Women’s March will not have as many attendees as in the past and focused more on how to plan to attend the rally in Washington, D.C.
USA Today published an article about how the 2020 Women’s March “tries to re-energize amid flagging enthusiasm.”
The news outlet said that organizers “don’t expect Saturday’s protest in Washington, D.C. – the culmination of a week of events, with the slogan of “Women Rising” – to draw more than 10,000 participants” The outlet correctly noted that this was “a far cry from the estimated 100,000 who demonstrated despite chilly temperatures last year. The projections elsewhere are below past years as well.”
Yet USA Today took its time in discussing why the organization struggled in recent years, burying deep in the article that allegations arose against several of its co-founders that they had engaged in anti-Semitic rhetoric. The allegations eroded enthusiasm and support among its activist base. USA Today did not specify why the allegations disrupted the organization, such as co-founder Linda Sarsour’s long record of anti-Semitic rhetoric and co-founder Tamika Mallory’s support of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Farrakhan has a long record of espousing anti-Semitic views, and Mallory was seen in attendance at one of Farrakhan’s events, where Farrakhan made controversial remarks about Jews.
The Daily Beast was fairer about the controversies surrounding the Women’s March organization, headlined, “The Women’s March Tries to Repair the Damage. Is It Too Late?”
Its lead pulled no punches: “After a bruising 2019, marked by shrinking crowds, dueling marches, and allegations of anti-Semitism, the Women’s March is attempting a rebrand.”
Unlike USA Today, the Daily Beast recognized that the group’s 2019 marches were a disaster, since “[n]early half of all local marches called off their 2019 event, and others put out statements declaring their independence from the national group.” It also reported how each year’s march diminished in attendance figures, from an estimated 4 million in 2017 to 2 million in 2018 and to 730,000 in 2019.
Based on the lack of mainstream media coverage, it appeared that the media preferred to bury the embarrassing fact that a movement they publicized has fallen on hard times and struggled to separate itself from anti-Semitic rhetoric allegedly espoused by several of its co-founders.
Though the Daily Beast fairly portrayed the organization’s issues, it could not offset the whitewashing of details from USA Today and the general apathy from the mainstream media.