Seeing today's post on Informed Comment about continuing, vigorous protests against the Iraq War and seeing this coverage in other outlets such as Iraq Slogger and the BBC got me to reexamining NPR's coverage of the antiwar rallies. Here's what I noted:
This morning, nothing.
On Saturday Morning Rachel Martin spent about 4 minutes covering antiwar Christians gathering at the National Cathedral who then marched to the White House. The report was a reasonable summary of the event and gave a lot of airtime to participants and organizers.
Saturday evening found Jackie Lyden spending about 3½ minutes reporting on the main antiwar march in Washington DC on Saturday. It fairly conveyed the main points of the demonstrators and interviewed a few participants.
AND THEN on the same show there was Allison Keyes' unprofessional send-up of the prowar counter-demonstration sponsored by Gathering of Eagles. Now, if the counter demonstrators were able to mobilize a significant turn-out (which is unclear from other news reports), I don't have any problem with NPR covering it. Putting a mike in front of the leaders of these people is quite informative (on Keyes' report we hear one speaker calling antiwar folks "traitors" and accusing the network media of calling soldiers "mercenaries" and "murderers."). But Keyes makes a telling statement revealing her sympathies:
"...there were a few funny moments as the two sides shouted across wooden barriers at each other. A glaring blond female anti-war protester faced off against a bright-eyed man on the pro-troops side..."
Additionally Keyes dutifully repeats the slander against antiwar marchers by stating that "the anti-antiwar demonstrators were planning to spend the day guarding the Vietnam War Memorial from the antiwar protesters."
Ah ha! So you see - in spite of the larger rally of antiwar protesters, in spite of the rallies occurring in many cities (here and abroad) over several days, in spite of the presence of veterans an military families in the antiwar marches, and in spite of the concern for wounded and killed troops by the antiwar protesters - it is the prowar crowd that is "pro-troops" and while the antiwar marchers are traitors who want to deface the Vietnam War memorial. Unbelievable...
An apology is due.