The desperation in the dwindling ranks of the full-throated hawks provokes pity more than contempt these days, mostly because of stuff like this embarrassing putative “deconstruction” of an AP piece about this weekend’s anti-war protests.
The first objection is to the headline: “Anti-War Protesters March in Washington: Thousands of Anti-War Demonstrators March in Washington, London; Rallies Planned in L.A., Rome.” Basically, a perfectly straightforward description of the story’s subject matter. The apparent problem is that since the story’s mostly about the Washington event, it’s misleading to refer to “thousands” in Washington and London, because people will somehow assume this refers only to the D.C. total. Except, wait, there were “thousands” just in D.C. But since there were only barely “thousands” (a little over 2000), this demonstrates bias.
The next bit of bias comes in the statement that they rallied “to demand the return of U.S. troops, staging a day of protest, song and remembrance of the dead…” See, demanding the return of troops is evil and objectively pro-terrorist, whereas singing and mourning the dead are good things. So mentioning them in the same sentence? Bias.
Insidious biased reporting tactic number three: Assuming your audience is not too doltish to understand that a Republican couple who’ve turned against the war are quoted as an illustration of how opposition is broadening, not because they’re representative of the crowd. To top it all off, the reporter fails to call the couple morons for thinking that WMDs were the main justification for the war. Like, Republicans totally said the word “democracy” at least once for every dozen times we heard about a “smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud,” ya Baathist sympathizer!
Now, quoting Republicans was bad enough. But then the reporter goes on to quote one of the rally organizers as being opposed to the war also. Bias! Bias! Bias!
Evidence of bias four: Mentioning that Amtrak failures delayed some protesters from getting there. This obviously implies that Bush is worse than fascists, who at least made the trains run on time. (Really, I’m not making that one up.) Why don’t they just run a picture of the president with a Hitler mustache?
Count five of the indictment: The reporter mentions both ANSWER and Cindy Sheehan without tacking on a long disquisition about how crazy they both are.
Count six: Compounding that sin of omission with one of inclusion, the reporter mentions that there were also pro-war demonstrators, but rudely notes that there were fewer of them.
What could AP have been thinking?