CLC Blog

CLC Blog

Mainstream reporter: We lied about numbers at Freedom Convoy, March for Life

Canadians expect that the “facts” printed in newspapers are true facts.

Not lies.

Not spin, presented to distort the reality of a situation in order to bias readers towards a particular ideological viewpoint.   

The Canadian people don't want their newspapers to knowingly print lies. Yet, that’s exactly what the National Post, one of Canada’s largest and most trusted newspapers, did on May 11th. 

During the March For Life rally on Parliament Hill, the National Post’s Catherine Lévesque approached me for an interview. I was right in front of the speaker’s stage, off to the side a bit. Keep in mind that to make her way to the front of the stage, Lévesque had to have walked through the human mass, which our study of a time-lapsed video of the event put at more than 5,000 people.  

When I read her National Post column the next day, I was irritated to find that Lévesque had mis-reported attendance as being mere “hundreds of people”. From the National Post article:

Wagantall did not speak at the March for Life event, something she has done many times in the past. But Conservative MP Arnold Viersen offered brief remarks at the microphone to thank the hundreds of people gathered in front of Parliament Hill.” (emphasis added) 

Here’s an aerial photo of the rally on Parliament Hill, which doesn’t even capture the overflow of people onto Wellington Street to the south. Pro-lifers are the large group on the right (facing). The tiny group to the left of the metal barricade was the pro-abortion counter-protesters who numbered fewer than 200.  

I immediately emailed Lévesque, pointed out the problem, and asked her to correct the factual error ASAP. I supplied our time-lapse video as proof, so that if she wanted to, she could count the pro-life protestors marching through downtown Ottawa following the rally on the Hill. I also sent her a photo. 

Her reply to me was shocking.  

Lévesque admitted that the false attendance numbers in her story were purposeful. Furthermore, she explained that it is the policy of the National Post to falsify attendance figures by reporting “hundreds” of people when they know there are “thousands”.  

She said that, as a “rule”, the descriptor of “thousands” is reserved for protests where there are “tens of thousands” of people in attendance. 

Huh? How does this represent honest journalism? 

You might as well have a policy of reporting that two plus two makes five! It's not much different from printing that “a handful” of people gathered when you know there were hundreds. 

Freedom Convoy numbers also falsified

As if it'd make me feel better to know that this “rule” was not applied only to Campaign Life Coalition, Lévesque told me that the Freedom Convoy had been treated the same way in National Post’s coverage of that historic protest. 

I hope Catherine will excuse me if I say that it didn’t make me feel any better to know that the National Post lied in multiple news reports. 

I once again replied to Ms. Lévesque and politely but emphatically requested that the article be corrected. I did not want to go public. I truly just wanted the National Post to correct the misinformation they had published. However, as of this writing, CLC has waited 11 days for a correction, and it's clear that such a correction will not happen. So, we have no choice but to expose the deceptive journalism at play in the coverage of the National March For Life.

Here’s a screenshot of Lévesque’s email reply: 

I’ve been interviewed by Catherine before, and I realize this could be the last time she seeks comment from Campaign Life Coalition. It would be unfortunate, but we hope this incident will have a positive effect by nudging the paper to establish a new policy about truthfulness in reporting on issues with which the editorial board may disagree.  

To that end, I encourage readers to fill out the National Post’s feedback form, right here, and ask them to apologize for the misinformation it published about the number of attendees at the National March For Life.  

Other media outlets no better 

By no means is the National Post the only media outlet whose coverage is biased against the March For Life. Many mainstream media outlets black out the largest annual protest at Parliament Hill altogether, not even mentioning it.  

This year the CBC was just as sneaky and misleading in its coverage as the National Post. In the state broadcaster’s story, the word “thousands” was used, but they carefully worded it so that people wouldn’t know for sure whether the protestors were at Parliament Hill to oppose abortion... or to support it! From the CBC’s story: 

As thousands of protesters descended on Ottawa Thursday to demonstrate over abortion rights, the Liberals and the NDP used the opportunity to keep the issue at the centre of public debate.” (emphasis added) 

One might interpret in the above sentence that thousands of “pro-choice” demonstrators were there to support the legal status quo on abortion. Or perhaps, readers might be led to interpret that an equal number of pro-life and pro-abortion protestors were demonstrating?

However, the truth is buried completely, i.e., the fact that thousands of pro-lifers were there opposing abortion while maximum two hundred were rallying to defend it. 

Do you see a pattern in terms of mainstream media not wanting the public to know that the pro-life movement is large and organized?

We must pray not only for our politicians who refuse to tell the truth about the evil of abortion, but also the journalists and their editors who are working hard to keep the Canadian public ignorant about this issue.