At the Associated Press this afternoon, reporter Ben Nuckols opened his report on the completion of Occupy Wall Street's "Occupy the HIghway" march thusly: "Drenched, blistered and weary, a few dozen Occupy Wall Street protesters arrived Tuesday in the nation's capital after a two-week, 240-mile march from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan."
Anyone reading Nuckols's opening statement would believe that at least 24 marchers completed the entire journey (I'd say 36, but the dictionary defines a "few" as "not many but more than one"). Actually, that's not the case, as readers who somehow endure the intervening insipidness learn when they get to the report's seventh and eighth paragraphs:
About two dozen people left Zuccotti Park for the march, and while not all of those made it to Washington, by the final day the crowd had swelled to more than 40, organizer Kelley Brannon said. The crowd size fluctuated throughout, as some joined the march for brief periods.
Not all made the trip unscathed. One had to quit because of shin splints, others because of illness. A marcher was hit by a car Monday night but still made it to Washington. Eric Carter, 30, an emergency medical technician on leave for his job in New Orleans, served as the medic and said he re-taped about 5 to 10 pairs of blistered feet a day.
The above requires a bit of translation from AP-speak to reality to get to roughly the right number:
- "About two dozen" probably means 20-23. If more than two dozen had begun the journey, Nuckols would more than likely have said so.
- "not all of them made it" -- subtract at least 5. Any less and Nuckols probably would have written "all but a few made it."
- So the number of people who made it from start to finish was perhaps 15-18. Excuse me for not being impressed.
- And sorry, Ben, even in the alternative universe of OccupyLand, people don't get credit for "finishing" if they didn't start at Zuccotti Park and make the entire journey. Instead, they're the movement's versions of Rosie Ruiz.
In a 500 word-plus report, Nuckols burned through about 30 words per genuine finisher. That's a lot of wasted bandwidth and newsprint for a bunch of people whose sole mission -- get this -- was to oppose extending the Bush "tax cuts."
But the Occupy movement isn't partisan (/sarc).
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.
Also: Earler today, NB's Ken Shepherd had a great post about one of the "Occupy the Highway" marchers -- "WaPo Style Section Features 'Occupy' Marcher Denouncing Work: 'You're Ruining Your Life.'"