In January, tens of thousands of pro-lifers marched to Capitol Hill in Washington in the annual March for Life, but the New York Times published no story. But on Thursday, about 40 straggling anti-war marchers in upstate New York drew an upbeat story by reporter Michelle York. The news "hook" was the idea that small towns in upstate New York don't see 40 "peace" marchers every day:
For the past week, opponents of the war have taken several routes through the conservative and largely rural reaches of upstate New York - small communities that have sent many of their young men and women into the military right after high school and have paid a disproportionate price.
On Saturday, which is Armed Forces Day, protesters ranging from peace activists to Iraq Veterans Against the War will hold a daylong rally outside Fort Drum. What they lack in numbers - there were only about 40 on the road on Wednesday - they have made up for in passion, having walked about 80 miles so far.
The picture illustrating the story displayed only eight protesters. There are three separate marches converging on Fort Drum, but York doesn't explain whether thepaltry"40 on the road" are in one group, or in three. York's storyline repeats several times that the protesters receive two types of reception: kindness from fellow haters of the war, and screaming and profanity from supporters of the war. For example, here are the third and fourth paragraphs of the story:
Yet once the protesters, headed for Fort Drum, more than 50 miles away, reached him, Mr. Price eagerly offered them water and a place to rest - a more pleasant welcome than they had received from many others along the way.
Carmen Viviano-Crafts, 23, of Syracuse, who was carrying a small cardboard sign that read, "Bring home my boyfriend," said that some people "gave us the finger and stuff like that."
Later in the piece, the same cartoon of peace-loving protesters versus screaming pro-war hotheads was recreated:
At each town, they try to engage the community in conversation. "We're really not here to argue with people," said Vicki Ryder, 66, who is driving along with her dog, Harry, who sits in the back seat, wearing a shirt that reads, "Bones Not Bombs." Along the way, several people have screamed at them, the organizers said, but a far greater percentage of people have expressed support.
The headline of the story in the print edition was "Antiwar March in an Unfamiliar Place." The text box for the story read: "An 89-year-old veteran and a dog with a 'Bones Not Bombs' T-shirt." York never named this mysterious old veteran riding along:
The marchers are an eclectic group. Some are die-hard protesters. Some are soldiers' relatives who spontaneously joined after seeing the small parade pass through their towns.
Many of them are veterans, including an 89-year-old man who fought in World War II. He rides in a car along the marchers' route, and meets the group each evening when they stop to rest.
Despite the mention that the protesters are affiliated with leftist groups like Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out, there are no liberal ideological labels in the York story, just that mention that they're marching through "conservative" stretches of rural New York.