This past weekend protests were staged in major and minor cities all around the United States by the group Not in Our Name, with tremendous turn out. But it is hard to get a picture of this from the media, who present a haphazard vision of the movement at best.
Reuters did carry a story on the protests in New York Central Park, which they listed as having 10,000 people — though pictures and people on the ground indicate that the group was at least 20,000 and perhaps as high as 50,000. But despite covering the success of the protests in New York, Reuters ignored the tens of thousands of people in other regions. The New York Times did cover what happened in Central Park, leading in to the story with the statement that those in the know said it was larger than protests in the Vietnam era (people I spoke with in Los Angeles said the same thing here), but the story was relegated to the New York Regional section, failed to mention the protests in other major cities across America, and ended with a statement by a protester de-claiming the amount of people present and wishing that it would have been more. The title claims only “thousands” protest — significantly under-counting even the Reuters undercount of 10,000.
The AP was much stronger on covering the protests across America and on the west coast — though again it tended to under-count the actual turn-out. Further, its own coverage of New York was weak. Major outlets like ABC news and CNN ran parts of the AP stories, but with no single article documenting the massive amounts of country-wide protest over the weekend, the picture presented was of a couple-thousand people staging a p.5 demonstration.
Of course, with President Bush set to announce his war plans this evening on television, such widely successful protest makes it difficult for the editors of corporations like the New York Times to honor the facts without dis-arming their constituents. But the fact of the matter is that the American people are turning out for public demonstration against this war in a way that has not occurred since Vietnam. This is page one material and the fact that the New York Times would choose to run a piece on Laura Bush’s literary room over and above the protests only goes to show that the Chomsky/Herman propaganda model remains in effect and that big media is not to be trusted as a major source on important political issues. [Blog Left: Critical Interventions]