Media Ignored Reason for 'Gathering of Eagles' Vigil: January Spray-Painting of Capitol Steps

[Note: Link to YouTube video showing Capitol spray-paint at bottom of post.]

In her March 18 article, the Washington Post's Brigid Schulte informed readers about why Gathering of Eagles counter-protesters set out to guard the Vietnam War Memorial on March 17 during the scheduled anti-war protests:

At a Jan. 27 antiwar rally, some protesters spray-painted the pavement on a Capitol terrace. Others crowned the Lone Sailor statue at the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue with a pink tiara that had "Women for Peace" written across it.

Word of those incidents ricocheted around the Internet.

“That was the real catalyst, right there,” said Navy veteran Larry Bailey. “They showed they were willing to desecrate something that's sacred to the American soul.”

Yet a review of major newspapers in Nexis found few mentions of anarchist anti-war protesters who spray-painted the U.S. Capitol steps in late January. In fact, the New York Times yielded no reporting on the defacement, while the Washington Post only ran a brief item on page B2 three days after the fact.

Here's the 170-word squib from the Post’s Elissa Silverman in the January 30 paper:

Dismayed that a small band of protesters spray-painted graffiti on the west front steps of the U.S. Capitol during Saturday's march against the war in Iraq, Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) requested a meeting yesterday with the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police to explain why the police force did not intervene and make arrests.

“It is my understanding protesters were allowed to spray paint the Capitol steps and deface buildings around the area while Capitol Police were instructed to not arrest anyone engaging in these unlawful acts,” Allard wrote in a letter sent yesterday to U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phillip D. Morse.

The small group of protesters rushed the doors of the Capitol building during the antiwar rally, said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a police spokeswoman, and officers successfully secured the building. Schneider said the acts of graffiti were minor and cleaned up Saturday afternoon.

Schneider said she did not know what the protesters wrote on the steps.

The Hill, a newspaper covering Congress, first broke news of the Capitol spray-painting on January 28. I couldn't find the original story posting on TheHill.com Web site, however. Fortunately the Family Research Council has a vlog posting about this on YouTube.com, available here.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters