Monday, March 21, 2005

What about the protests?

What's not in the Times today? The protests.

Oh make no mistake, on Friday, nine protestors outside a Florida home (you know which one) is news. It's right there on the front of Friday's paper. But the protests across the country this weekend aren't news.

Billie e-mails this from Danny Schechter's News Dissector blog:

Some war critics are rallying to the notion that withdrawal is a bad idea. I heard that debate yesterday on Air America between Truthout's William Rivers Pitt who says out now, more or less, and Larry Korb of the Center for American Progress, an, ex Clinton Pentagoner who argues we have to stay. Korb keptr saying that setting a date would allow those faceless insurgents to wait us out.
Clearly this unrelenting media massage also affected the turnout for anti-war protests even though according to United for Peace and Justice, there were more protests in more places than ever before:
This weekend, on the two-year anniversary of the Iraq war, people will gather in more than 725 communities, in all 50 states, to mourn the devastating losses and call for the troops to come home now. This is more than double the number of anti-war actions that took place on the first anniversary of the war. The unprecedented number and geographic spread of these events reflect the growing breadth of U.S. peace organizing, which is reaching into more communities than it ever has.
The lack of one big march was probably a factor in giving the impression that participation was way down. The N,Y. Times focused on the civil disobedience of the fringe War Resisters League in Times Square, down the block from their office, but not the larger march from Harlem to Central Park. That was a subway ride away.
Why some activists were not protesting at the Times eludes me. The anti-war movement acknowledges media complicity in selling the war but does little about it. How hard would iit have been to send a few hundred people to each of the main media sites in New York and demand better coverage. Everyone thinks it's a a good idea but no one does it--perhaps because they afraid of not getting good coverage. Take a look at the coverage they did get and weep
Meanwhile in the media, the pro-government tilt remains to this day.
Example#1 Headline In NY Times on Saturday:
The story is filed from Washington, not Baghdad. No one in the "insurgency" is quoted. Neither is any war critic The interview is conducted over the phone. In it, Marine General John F Sattler assures the Times from Falujah that all is going swimmingly, Attacks are down, pacification is up.
The reporter Eric Schmidt does question what he is being told by adding a few "howevers" but only SIX paragraphs in. Other military souces are quoted to the effect that while attacks may be done, their lethality overall is up He also notes that this General was boasting about the occupation of Falluhah's success even as others noted that "{many insurgents fled before or during the fighting./ The last paragraph explains that $400 million is needed for rebuilding but only $100 million has been allocated. Hmmm….. In short this page seven story has a misleading headline with the story contradicting its thrust.
The president as we know prefers "faith-based information" to "fact-based" information. His rhetoric is an unchanging mantra, as Eric Olson noted Saturday in his Deep Blade Journal:
"Meanwhile, President Bush returns today in his radio address to the old lies about how he had to "disarm a brutal regime'' of non-existent weapons of mass destruction in order to "defend the world from a grave danger.''
"The hypocrisy is stunning, given the brutality and war crimes the US occupation has brought -- the flattening of at least one major city and the atrocities against prisoners being only the most glaring examples of the American style of freedom for the Iraqi people.
"Note that while Bush says Iraq was ruled by a dictatorship that "murdered its own citizens,'' mainstream media reports out this week say, "More Than 100 Die in U.S. Custody in Iraq.''
Saddam's regime may have "threatened its neighbors,'' but what is Bush's regime doing to Iran and Syria from its base in Iraq? The rest of the world has no trouble seeing the irony of Bush stating that Saddam "defied the world.''
We knew of his long history of pursuing, even using, weapons of mass destruction, and we know that September the 11th requires our country to think differently. We must, and we will, confront threats to America before they fully materialize.
"Linking the Iraq project to protection of America from 9/11-type attacks is absurd and dangerous. It's a gift to Osama bin Laden. None other than CIA Director Porter Goss says that "The Iraq conflict, while not a cause of extremism, has become a cause for extremists.''"In other words, Iraq is now the central rallying cry for the enemies of America. With every prisoner atrocity, every home American soldiers destroy, and every hypocrisy Bush utters, the situation just gets worse and worse. Time to wake up America, and put a stop to this.

And note The Third Estate Sunday Review did cover the protests by interviewing eighty-one people who chose to participate, asking the question, "Why are you here?"

The Third Estate Sunday Review web site is having some problem. To read other stories there, select the "A Note to Our Readers" and when that displays, you'll have sidelinks to the other stories. I'm e-mailing them to let them know about the problem and hopefully it will be fixed sometime today.

Disclosure, I helped with the piece on "why are you here."

I am caught up on reading the e-mails. The site e-mail address is