Paper’s peace march coverage unbalanced
We are writing to express our strong reaction to the Post Independent’s coverage of the peace march on Oct. 26. Lynn Burton’s article was so unbalanced in its presentation that many of us who attended wondered if your reporter had been at the same event.
At the beginning of the demonstration in Sayre Park, Calvin Lee presented the objectives of the march and spoke about the serious issues which galvanized such an effort. He was followed by other speakers who voiced their concerns.
Among the coverage missing from Burton’s article were most of the issues that were raised by Lee and the other speakers – particularly their emphasis on the importance of participatory democracy, their presentation of a litany of factual details about the history of corporate presence behind much of this country’s foreign policy, the number of innocent lives that have been snuffed out by U.S. intervention, and the need for all nations to explore viable alternatives for peaceful solutions to challenging problems first, with war as an absolute last resort.
While Burton correctly noted that the marchers were mostly middle-aged, the pictures accompanying the article implied a young, flower-child crowd (with all the attendant implications).
It would not have taken much effort to obtain and present a more balanced view about who participated. A reporter who knows the community at all could have recognized and reported on the wide variety of people present – blue and white collar, a noticeable balance between men and women, etc.
We were particularly impressed with the number of military veterans who participated – people who know the serious and deadly nature of war.
More balanced reporting might have noted the number of signatures on the petition that Scott McInnis was not present to receive. Some words explaining the reason for his unavailability would have been helpful (we note from your Oct. 25 photo that he was available to dine with a group of Garfield County Republicans – a group that was much smaller than the number of marchers who wanted to meet with him on Oct. 26).
Responsible journalism might have followed through to report on whether he ever received the petition, and his reaction if he did see it. In fairness to him, would he really have described the marchers as “a festive pitchfork brigade” as presented by your reporter?
Finally, a more global view might have noted that this march was just one of hundreds that took place in this country on Oct. 26. The people who demonstrated, and will continue to demonstrate, are responsible members of their communities, people who are deeply concerned about the future of this country and its actions around the world.
We don’t expect that everyone will agree with us, but we do expect that the press will present a more complete and balanced picture of our concerns than was available to your readers in the Oct. 27 Post Independent.
John and Barbara Palmer
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