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New York Times Hypes Growing Wave Against War - December 13, 2002



New York Times Hypes Growing Wave Against War Hyping a few peaceniks. Protests Held Across the Country to Oppose War in Iraq, announced a The New York Times headline on Wednesday. Washington bureau-based Reporter Lynette Clemetson trumpeted: Organizers and participants said the diverse turnout represented a growing wave of popular dissent, even as the country inches closer to military action. Just how huge is this growing wave of popular dissent? Clemetson relayed how the events ranged in attendance from several dozen at Youngstown, Ohio, and Mineola, N.Y., to several hundred in Santa Fe, N.M., and Oakland, Calif. Oh, I almost forgot, the newsworthy events held by a cross-section of activists, celebrities and everyday Americans, included an evening discussion at a Y.W.C.A. in Detroit. Wow. Several dozen to several hundred and few people gabbing at a Y. Can one now expect that the next time several dozen to several hundred pro-lifers show up that the New York Times will be equally excited about the growing wave of opposition to abortion? Clemetson also highlighted how In Santa Fe, a children's marimba band joined junior high students, middle-aged Green Party members, Veterans for Peace and hundreds of lunchtime passers-by in singing a version of the Christmas carol 'Deck the Halls. 'Peace is jolly, war is folly, sang the crowd.

On an icy playground in the Boston neighborhood Jamaica Plain, about 50 members of a group called Latinos Together Against the War came together for a puppet show, rap performance and poetry reading for peace. But before you dismiss the relevance of anti-war Christmas carols and a puppet show, take note of Clemetsons argument about their significance: Unlike some protests that are dominated by college students, these events had a significant turnout of middle-aged professionals and older people. Sounds like the demographics of the staff of the New York Times.

An excerpt of the December 11 story: From a morning blockade of a federal building in Chicago to a lunchtime march to the White House to an evening discussion at a Y.W.C.A. in Detroit, a cross-section of activists, celebrities and everyday Americans held more than 150 events across the country today to oppose a war with Iraq. Organized by a coalition of more than 70 groups called United for Peace, the events ranged in attendance from several dozen at Youngstown, Ohio, and Mineola, N.Y., to several hundred in Santa Fe, N.M., and Oakland, Calif. Organizers and participants said the diverse turnout represented a growing wave of popular dissent, even as the country inches closer to military action. The scattered displays of dissent did not compare to the large turnout at a national protest held in Washington in late October, which attracted more than 100,000 people from around the nation. But organizers said size was not their intent this time. Instead, by fanning out to small towns, neighborhood squares and workday traffic areas, they said they hoped to emphasize a growing wave of skepticism and dissent to war. "We want you to hear us, Mr. President," Damu Smith, director of Black Voices for Peace, one of the coordinating groups, said as he stood with a midday crowd of several hundred in Washington. "We hope you hear our voices today."

The hundreds of speeches given nationwide included tributes to Philip F. Berrigan, a former Roman Catholic priest and anti-Vietnam war organizer who died last week, and salutes to President Jimmy Carter, who was being presented the Nobel Peace Prize as some of the events took place. The day of protests, Mr. Smith said, represent a new phase in coalition building around the anti-war movement, and several more events are scheduled in the weeks and months ahead.... END of Excerpt