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Covering (Up) Antiwar Protest in US Media

March 18 DC peace march almost completely blacked out in US corporate media


In the early morning of March 20, 2003, US Navy bombers on aircraft carriers and Tomahawk missile-launching vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean, along with Air Force B-52s in Britain and B-2s in Diego Garcia, struck Baghdad and other parts of Iraq in a “Shock and Awe” blitzkrieg to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and occupy that oil-rich country.

Twenty years on, the US news media, as is their habit with America’s wars, published stories looking back at that war and its history (FAIR.org3/22/23), most of them treading lightly around the rank illegality of the US attack, a war crime that was not approved by the UN Security Council, and was not a response to any imminent Iraqi threat to the US, as required by the UN Charter.

Oddly, none of those national media organizations’ editors saw as relevant or remotely newsworthy a groundbreaking protest rally and march outside the White House of at least 2,500–3,000 people on Saturday, March 18, 2023, called by a coalition of over 200 peace and anti-militarism organizations to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Iraq invasion.

The Washington Post, like the rest of the national news media, failed to mention or even run a photo of the rally in Lafayette Park. It didn’t even cover the peaceful and spirited march from the front of the White House along Pennsylvania and New York avenues to the K Street Washington Post building to deliver several black coffins as a local story—despite the paper’s having a reporter whose beat is actually described by Post as being to “to cover protests and general assignments for the metro desk.” An email request to this reporter, Ellie Silverman, asking why this local protest in DC went unreported did not get a response.

National press a no-show

The rally, organized by the ANSWER Coalition and sponsors such as Code PinkVeterans for PeaceBlack Alliance for Peace and Radical Elders, drew “several thousand” antiwar, anti-military protesters, according to ANSWER Coalition national director Brian Becker. He said the demonstration’s endorsers were calling for peace negotiations and an end to US arms for Ukraine, major cuts in the US military budget, an end to the US policy of endless wars, and freedom for Julian Assange and Indigenous prisoner Leonard Peltier.

………………………………………………… Filling the hole

Fortunately, alternative media, which have proliferated online, are filling in the hole in protest coverage, though of course readers and viewers have to seek out those sources of information. There was a news report on the march in Fightback News (3/23/23), for example, and commentary on the World Socialist Web Site (3/21/23) and Black Agenda Report (2/22/23).

Foreign coverage of the March 18 antiwar event in the US was substantial, which should embarrass editors at US news organizations

…………………………… Efforts to get either the Washington Post or New York Times to explain their airbrushing out the March 18 antiwar protest in Washington were unsuccessful. (Both publications have eliminated their news ombud offices, citing “budget issues.”)

………………………. more


April 1, 2023 - Posted by | media, USA

1 Comment »

  1. The so called “liberal” mainstream news media will only cover what their advertisers allow. Only if it attracts “eyeballs” or “higher ratings,” will they cover it. It can’t cut into the “bottom line.” Readership and viewership is more important than “speaking truth to power.” Ad dollars are more important than holding government and corporations accountable and doing what the Fourth Estate is supposed to do. But that would cut into the almighty profits of the owners. They don’t want to lose ad revenue or be sued by corporations, ad sponsors, or the government. Costs too much to hire lawyers and defend against corporations and the government over reach.

    Comment by paulrodenlearning | April 1, 2023 | Reply

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