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actions & protests | media criticism s24 mobilization

Oregonian biased coverage of anti and pro war demos

compares the Big O's of the huge Out Now! demo on Sat with the tiny prowar demo Sunday and criticizes its failure to cover Oregon demos
To the editor, The Oregonian

A question about your news balance:

Over the weekend, a massive Out Now! demonstation against the Iraq war brought about a quarter of million people to Washington, D.C. (estimates ranged between 100,000 and 300,000). In Oregon, thousands supported the anti war protest in about a dozen Oregon cities and towns, including several hundred in Portland.

Here's what your readers were offered::

On Sept. 25, you gave 30 column inches on A10, including a photo, to an AP story ("Thousands rally in Washington to bring troops home from Iraq") on the Washington demo using the lowest estimate for the turnout. That space included a 3" box noting that "about 100" held signs and candles in a silent protest on downtown Portland bridges. You did not cover the other Portland demo, which drew about 150 on Friday nor the largest of the Oregon Saturday events in Albany where almost 500 particiapted or any of the other local events from Waldport to La Grande.

On Sept 26, you devoted more space (32 column inches) on A2 ("Support for U.S. troops guides rally"--in larger type) including a photo and contact information (missing from your anti war coverage) to an AP report on an event 3000 miles away for which only a tiny group of between 200 and 400 supporters of the war turned out (organizers were looking for 20,000) evidently to denounce the overwhelming success of the anti-war events. Its significance event can only lie in its pathetic failure and suggest a lack of popular support for the war. It was not even noted by the New York Times.

Is this "fair and balanced" coverage or a grotesque leaning over backwards to cover a non-event on the other side of the country while ignoring what was happening under your nose in Oregon?

Michael Munk
Thanks,MM 27.Sep.2005 07:39

sakyadita

All the more reason for people to post to indymedia. If it wasn't for our own citizen-journalists, I wouldn't have known how successful the bridge thing was here in town. I got all my accurate accounts of the DC thing from personal accounts posted to blogs.

The Oregonian is for decent people... 27.Sep.2005 12:07

Pravda or Consequences

the rest of us are 'the problem'.

"You are known by the company you keep."

coverage even worse in Morgantown, WV 27.Sep.2005 20:35

j. w. may jwmay25@hotmail.com

I am getting the picture that the pro-war bias of press coverage for the weekend's events in DC was a national phenomenon. Even though the homepage of the New York Times carried the story, I was told that it was buried pretty deep in the paper and ink version. Here is a copy of a letter I sent to the Morgantown, WV Dominion Post:

DOMINION POST IGNORES IMPORTANT NEWS AND PUBLIC OPINION CONCERNING IRAQ WAR

While I agree that WVU has a most handsome and talented cheerleading squad, I believe at least a little room should have been reserved on today's (Sunday) front page for a report on Saturday's convergence in Washington of more than 100,000 protesters against the war in Iraq. The Post did include a brief AP story (written *before* the protests even took place) on page 6-A, with the gramatically-confusing title: "Mothers plan opposing Iraq war marches".

Possibly hundreds of West Virginians planned for weeks in advance to travel to DC for the weekend's events. A WVU banner even figured prominently above the crowds on the mall waiting for the march to begin around noon. Grandmothers, students, trade-unionists, Vietnam veterans, anarchists, Cindy Sheehan, small children, Lakota Sioux, Katrina survivors, and others travelled from far-away places like Champaign-Urbana, IL and Seattle to fill the streets with banners and cries against the war and the policies of the Bush administration, now supported by a minority of U.S. citizens according to recent polls. A small contingent of approximately 150 Iraq war supporters held up placards and yelled at the peace marchers, while sandwiched on the sidewalk between FBI headquarters and a line of well-armed police. The concert and rally held near the Washington monument featured dozens of information tables and nationally-known speakers and performers including U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rev. Al Sharpton, Joan Baez and Steve Earle, to name just a few.

This morning, after reading the Post's Nation section lead story, "Puppy swallows 13-inch serrated knife" (4-A), I decided I wanted to be well-read and searched the internet for fifteen minutes. All of the newspaper homepages I visited during that brief period included prominent coverage of the anti-war convergence in Washington: La Jornada (Mexico), The Guardian (London), The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune. A gathering of 100,000 citizens in the nation's capital for *any* reason is front-page news, and a newpaper that does not realize this runs the risk of actually contributing to the ignorance of its readers, rather than helping to inform them of current events.