Saturday, September 18, 2004

Politics, What?

I never intended my blog to be a political one, but if you're a regular reader, you might have noticed a certain trend in the past few months. When I created this site, my idea was to keep an online journal that also included a handy place to organize all my bookmarks and sites I visit regularly. I meant to share silly, weird, and/or fun websites because I used to stumble across them with some regularity.

I reckon the political content will subside somewhat once the election passes, but if The Shrub gets elected again, no promises. Really, if there's a God, s/he has to disallow another term for The Axis of Evil.

But anyway.. I attended the protest of Bush's visit to Parkersburg, WV a few weeks ago. There were about a thousand protesters, but Bush never saw any of us because he snuck in and out of the back way.

It seemed the only media present was a local TV station, and after watching their coverage of the event (both the speech and the protest), I'm rather outraged. I have no issues with media wanting to be supportive of the President, but they were outright fawning and went so far as to misrepresent the demonstrating crowd, making it seem as if we were crazy and out of control, when in fact, the protest was peaceful and everyone followed police directions (in fact, I don't think there were any arrests).

Not only this, but the President snuck in and out of the back, not even bothering to come down the route they said he would arrive. Of course, this route was where the protesters were, and subsequently, we never even got to see him. This is the second time in two visits to our town that he has purposely dodged protesters. The fact that he came in and out of a back route is more significant when you compare these visits to Reagan's visit here in '84. Supporters lined the streets after tickets sold out, and I don't believe there were many protesters, if any. Reagan's motorcade came up the street in front of the high school (the same route they told us The Shrub was coming), whereas Bush snuck in the back.

After hearing this misrepresentation by WTAP, I'm very outraged. (check out the articles: 1 and 2; streaming video should be somewhere, listed as Bush Arrives/Departs MOV Airport, you'll see just how bumbling and slavish our local newscasters are) It's one thing to support the President, but another to completely misrepresent what happened outside of the speech. Not only was coverage of the demonstrators limited, but it was almost totally negative. My Sociology teacher said that one of the news people had actually called the protesters 'immoral' and that the channel would probably be facing FCC complaints as a result.

One thing that really angered me about the news coverage was that the newscasters didn't bother to mention that *ALL* the in-your-face verbal and physical intimidation efforts were by the Republicans leaving the speech. All the protesters were behind yellow police tape, and the Bushies could have walked around us to avoid us -- the police had set up a secure exit zone far away from us -- yet many of them insisted on walking *through* us, so they could harass, yell, and get in our faces. I had a sign that said 'Leave No Billionaire Behind', and one man of about age 70 told me he wanted to shove it up my ass. For the record, none of the protesters that I witnessed were making threats or swearing at anyone in such a fashion.

The reporters repeatedly described the demonstrators as 'rowdy', as if they expected tea and cookies at a protest. "Why do you suppose the protesters are so angry?" "Well, we think it's because the President didn't come the way they thought he would." Oh, nevermind the fact that he's the Face of Evil, and lies spring from his mouth quicker than he can mouth-breathe. Maybe it's because we're down two million jobs, in a war for which we have absolutely no justification, or maybe it's because Bush and his cronies are all making a tidy profit from us. Gee, I dunno..

I find it somewhat amusing, in kind of an ironic way, as I protested the Gulf War in San Francisco back when I was still in high school, and that is more my idea of a 'rowdy' crowd than the thousand-or-so protesters yesterday obeying the police and behaving peacefully. After all, there were plenty of arrests then, true civil disobedience as we even walked on the Bay Bridge, stopping traffic. I have to wonder at the local media, if this event consisted of an out-of-control crowd! We were truthfully very well-behaved.

Some photos of the protest can be found here.

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