Tired WashPost Publicity Line: "Peace" Rally Draws "Protesters of All Stripes"
A few weeks ago, the Washington Post newsroom forced the Post to back out of sponsoring a "Freedom Walk" on September 11 sponsored by the Pentagon, since that would compromise their appearance of neutrality. (On the bright side, the controversy actually caused the Post to give that event front-page coverage, rare for a perceived "pro-war" rally.) But the Post newsroom has no protest when they publish stories on "anti-war" rallies that are nothing but press releases -- especially when they trot out the two common protest publicity angles: that (1) the war's so unpopular that there will be protest rookies/newbies/virgins; and (2) the protesters come from all political ideologies. These are both attempts to rebut the skeptical reader's question about the newsworthiness of these protests: Isn't it just the same motley crew of America-bashers, and are they really representative of America as a whole? But the Post carries major protester water today with the top of the Metro section carrying a story/press release with the headline "Antiwar Rally Will Be First for Many: Focused Message Draws Protesters of All Stripes."
Reporter Petula Dvorak helpfully forwards: "Organizers say that similar busloads of teachers, nurses, homemakers, and others with little experience in mass protest are coming from Wisconsin, New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, Ohio, and many other states." She adds: "'This demonstration will reflect, by far, the most diverse group of antiwar protesters since before the war began,' said Brian Becker, national coordinator for the ANSWER Coalition, one of the event's sponsors...'We have people coming from all political persuasions, including a very large number of people who have never before been part of the antiwar movement or protest activity.'" (We'll just link to PostWatch for the other routine point that the Post never notes the Stalinist nature of the ANSWER goons.)
The Post might protest that the story does offer one sentence on B-4 about the plans of "a coalition of counterprotesters." They are not allowed space for a quote, where they might laugh at the idea that the protest crowd is ideologically diverse. The "anti-war" angle gets the vast majority of the ink, and all three photographs illustrating the story. One organizer, Patrice Cuddy, who the Post portrays as a "novice protester," says she has to pull off her "gardening gloves" every time a new protest rookie signs up. But she's not a novice, as she was quoted against the Iraq war before it even began in January 2003. A few weeks ago she held a sign reading "All Media Is A Mouthpiece for Government." But this Dvorak story and others show that there are clearly days where media outlets are a dishonest mouthpiece for the hard left.