ACTION ALERT: NPR, New York Times Count Out Anti-War Activists
- FORWARDED FROM FAIR-L AND SUPPORTED BY FRONTLINES NEWSPAPER
NPR, New York Times Count Out Anti-War Activists
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism
October 28, 2002
National Public Radio and the New York Times arrived at
the same conclusion about the anti-war rally in
Washington, DC this weekend: The turnout was
disappointing. But neither report matched reality.
The Times account on October 27 was vague, reporting that
"thousands of protesters marched through Washington's
streets," adding that "fewer people attended than
organizers had said they hoped for." The report, which
was under 500 words, appeared on page 8 of the paper.
On the October 26 broadcast of Weekend Edition, NPR's
Nancy Marshall went even further to disparage the turnout
by offering an estimate on the crowd's size: "It was not
as large as the organizers of the protest had predicted.
They had said there would be 100,000 people here. I'd say
there are fewer than 10,000."
While a turnout of less than 10,000 might have been a
disappointment, NPR's estimate is greatly at odds with
those of other observers. The Los Angeles Times
(10/27/02) reported that over 100,000 participated in the
march, while the Washington Post's page A1 story
(10/27/02) was headlined "100,000 Rally, March Against War
in Iraq." The Post added that Saturday's march was "an
antiwar demonstration that organizers and police suggested
was likely Washington's largest since the Vietnam era."
While both the Times and NPR reported the apparent
disappointment of the organizers, none were named or
quoted directly. Those who spoke to other news outlets
expressed just the opposite; organizer Mara
Verheyden-Hilliard told the Washington Post the march was
"just extremely, extremely successful."
Perhaps someone at NPR noticed: The next day Weekend
Edition anchor Liane Hansen introduced a report about
anti-war demonstrations by saying that "organizers say
100,000 protesters were gathered." The New York Times did
not run any follow-up article updating its estimate of the
Contact NPR and the New York Times and ask them why they
did not provide more substantive reports about the
anti-war demonstrations in Washington, DC on October 26.
National Public Radio
Jeffrey A. Dvorkin
New York Times
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