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Monday, September 26, 2005

Rita Drowns out Anti-War Protestors

According to the Washington Post the numbers exceeded what was initially hoped for in what is being billed as the largest anti-war demonstration since the start of the Iraq campaign. There's lots of commentary to be found, but the most interesting was by Alan Bock:

I still don't know if the demonstrations will have any effect beyond getting Cindy Sheehan arrested...

The newspapers had wire-service stories, and both the Washington Post and the Washington Times covered what was essentially a local story for them. But as far as the electronic media were concerned, the anti-war protests in Washington, D.C., over the weekend might as well have not occurred at all. Once the cable news folks focus on something they seem incapable of noticing anything else that's happening in the world. To be sure, Rita was a big story, but it wasn't the only thing happening over the weekend.

Interestingly, some of the more extensive coverage on Web pages today is from National Review Online, where Byron York and James Robbins work hard to paint the protest as too radical to appeal to mainstream Americans and too miniscule to have any impact on policy.

I don't know enough to have a solid opinion yet, but I'll keep searching for more links. Meantime, it does seem to have mobilized around 100,000 people, about what the organizers had hoped for. The D.C. police chief said it might even have been 150,000. The bits and pieces I caught on C-SPAN on Saturday night were rather disappointing to me - mostly left-wing enthusiasts talking about all kinds of causes and grievances rather than focusing on the war.

Despite all this, I suspect that while those who want to dismiss the protests as strictly the work of a radical fringe are more or less correct at a certain level, there's a certain - well, not quite desperation but almost - in the dismissive tone. The protests might not be the kind of thing most Americans warm up to, but neither is the war popular anymore. Mainstream polls show about 60 percent of Americans think it was a mistake. Sooner or later that kind of opinion surge has to have an effect on policy in a democracy - doesn't it?

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2 Comments: 'It's your turn to toss the ball'...

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not that I mind people protesting to express their democratic rights. But I have better things to do than listen to a bunch of fanatic shrills shrieking into the wind. I can watch Rita on CNN do the same thing.

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At 10:11 PM, Anonymous tam said...

That's why we have fingers so we can plug our ears.

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