Public Service or Bias? Reporter Helps Protesters With No Sense of Direction

Republicans may have largely suspended their convention on Monday, but the radical-left protesters outside the convention didn’t feel the need to be sensitive and postpone their march. They did, however, threaten to get lost. (Let’s hope they weren’t carrying signs about Bush-Cheney incompetence.) Who came to the rescue? A reporter from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, as the paper itself lightly noted as a moment for "public service journalism." Police weren’t worried about the main group, but worried about a small faction wearing black masks.

The larger group of protesters was peaceful, although they were challenged -- as so many have been over the years -- by the downtown St. Paul street grid. As the head of the march reached Cedar and 10th, marchers were supposed to turn right. Apparently confused rather than intent on civil disobedience, they slowly started through the intersection. That's when a Star Tribune reporter, Randy Furst, approached organizers and asked if they knew they were headed in the wrong direction. Randy saved the day, the march turned right onto 10th and the police relaxed. Once again, public service journalism worked its magic.

This could be seen as plain old Midwestern courtesy, like a Boy Scout helping old folks across the street. But when reporters earnestly debate worrisome scenarios like standing by while people light themselves on fire in protest, it's quite clear the reporter didn't believe in letting the news unfold....organically, as the left might say. The reporter decided to helpfully manipulate the story and make sure the protesters' publicity aims were accomplished at the convention site without too much embarrassment. (That is, other than the embarrassment of protesting a war that's winding down well at the moment.)For their part, the Republicans might have enjoyed a story where the protesters were squabbling because even radical left-wing men get too embarrassed to ask for directions.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis