portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary portland metro

media criticism a22: bush protest

AP News Report: Is It So Hard to Just Get It Right?

Excerpt from AP report in 8/25/02 Oregonian contains fabricated exaggeration of demonstrators' actions in Thursday's protest.
From an AP news report by Sandra Sobieraj ("Bush ends trip with talk on terrorism") published on page A10 in The Sunday Oregonian (8/25/02):

"In Portland, Ore., where Bush had opened this trip on Thursday, HUNDREDS of demonstrators hammered police cruisers." (my emphasis)

So, what did she do -- split the difference between the (unreported) thousands of demonstrators, and the (documented ubiquitously by other photos and reports) several who jumped on the car(s)?
get it right presupposes 25.Aug.2002 11:51


Get it right presupposes what is right

"The Central Intelligence Agency owns anyone of any significance in the major media"

William Colby, former CIA Director

The media gets it right for its masters. They are not seeking truth, but rather control. That is their objective. They are doing their job of mind control of the population.

Indymedia is a manifestation of human will to truth, because it recognizes that corporate media is fundamentally corrupt.

Corporate media is the disease - Indymedia is the cure

It's Really Sad 25.Aug.2002 14:08


but teu. The second poser has it right, it's not about the truth. Any yahoo can get on an elevator and have a vantage point of the protest and get a fairly close estimate of the numbers of people. There are well documented techniques to accurately count crowds, and some very basic comment sende methods that would easily distinguish between "hundreds" and "thousands".

hundreds or thousands? 25.Aug.2002 19:55

mediaelite mediaelite@hotmail.com

Here's my thinking on reporting numbers at a protest.

Unless I can count them myself, I think very seriously about whether I should report numbers at all. If I figure the number is going to be an important element I make an estimate myself and then compare it to what protest organizers (usually high), the police (usually low) and other media (all over the map) say. Then I try to come up with a general number that, hopefully, accurately depicts the real number. That could be "about 1000" or "more than 1000". Usually though I go with dozens, scores, hundreds or thousands. I think "hundreds" is an accurate account of the Bush protests (I suspect there were no more than 2000 people at the protest). I think of "hundreds as being more than a thousand and maybe as much as 5000 or 6000. To me, "thousands" means more than 10,000 and there weren't that many people downtown on Thursday.

Regarding criticism of numbers reporting--if reporters really wanted to be jerks (but still quite accurate), they would say something like "about 1/10 of 1% of the Portland Metro Area population turned out for a protest today".

Numbers Game 25.Aug.2002 20:19


To ranger and mediaelite: The point is not estimating crowd size. It is the readily observable matter of how many people from the crowd were "hammering" on police cars. Hundreds? Not by any other report I've read or heard . . .

ahhhhh! 25.Aug.2002 21:02

mediaelite mediaeltie@hotmail.com

Thanks for the clarification! I'm so used to people being sensitive about the numbers thing.

Clearly "hundreds" of people were not hitting the police car. Also, I'm not sure if "hammering" was a good word for a reporter to use in this context. I assume people were hitting the car with their fists (I don't know because I never saw the video) and "hammering"evokes an image of hitting the car with an equally hard implement!

By the way, in these times of tight news gathering budgets (actually I think that's all the time) reporters tend to rely heavily on the AP. So, if the news wire gets it wrong then a lot of outlets do too.

AP, by the way, is a non-profit cooperative owned by 15-hundred daily newspapers that elect its board of directors. Media activists who want to change the way news is covered would do well to start with reforming the AP and encouraging papers to elect reform-minded candidates to the board.

2 is plural 26.Aug.2002 01:33


that is thousands - calling it hundreds is just another way to sneakily diminish the protest

nice try mediaelite, but we see through such subterfuge

Don't waste time trying to reform AP 26.Aug.2002 01:35


That is a trap to suck you in and keep you from doing the real work of replacing it.

Corporate Media is the disease - Indymedia is the cure.

Now there is an independent press 26.Aug.2002 01:47


One night, probably in 1880, John Swinton, then the preeminent New York journalist, was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

"There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty_four hours my occupation would be gone.

"The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

It took a long time, but now there is an independent press that John Swinton could be happy with. The honest journalists should see the lies they are forced to sell, should be humble and deprogram themselves of the corporate bullshit they have been immersed in for too long, and then start reporting for indymedia.

Corporate media is the disease, indymedia is the cure

Does it really matter? 11.May.2006 11:59


Regardless of whether there was a million people "hammering" a police car; such a subtle and inviolent act can't give one the right to peppy-spray infants. I'm not implying that it was the intentions of the police officers, but I am saying that logically those events led to it chronologically. Even if they destroyed the vehicle, or even seemed remotely violent, such fiendish ways shall not go unpunished. See you in hell infant-torturing police devil.