In April and May, the Washington Post devoted very heavy resources to covering pro-illegal immigration protests. When a contingent of the Minutemen came to Washington for their turn – and a much smaller group it was, estimated by the Post at "about 150 people," awfully tiny by D.C. standards – how would the Post greet their chance to speak? In Saturday’s Post, they did get a small box at the top of the front page, on how they were "fired up over a proposal to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship."
Consider that a remedial shout-out, following behind the massive coverage the amnesty rallies received. But the actual story was on B-3, not even the front of the Metro section.What went on the front of the Metro section instead? To a Minuteman from out of town, it must have looked awfully puzzling. Hogging the attention on B-1, with large color photos, was a story about prom-goers in New Orleans. New Orleans? The story by Annie Gowen was a followup to a A-1 story on Friday, also with color pictures, and it wasn’t until you turned inside the B section that you discovered what on Earth would make proms in New Orleans a D.C. "Metro" story – an 18-year-old girl from Beltsville, Maryland held a local dress drive that provided 2,800 gowns.
The Minuteman story on B3 did have a photo – in black and white, and no flag in the background. It was a picture of scowling Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist with the caption: If they pass this, we are no longer a nation governed by the rule of law. We are governed by mob rule." The headline carried a negative tone: "Minutemen Assail Amnesty Idea."
The article by reporter Alec MacGillis repeated, but did not really explain the context of Gilchrist’s remarks: that if public policy was decided by mobs of protesters gathering in large rallies, and no one cares whether the people being counted are U.S. citizens or illegal aliens, then the democratic system has been skewed.
MacGillis provided a balance of protesters and counter-protesters, noting the liberal side mocked the size of the rally compared to what MacGillis unfortunately called "pro-immigrant marches." (There’s an I-word still missing.) While the Post noted the Minutemen carried signs such as "Sovereignty Is Not Racism" and "Invasion Is Not Immigration," the liberals came with drums and bullhorns, shouting "Bigots in your suits and ties, we don’t like your racist lies!" They love the street poetry.
At the very end of the article, MacGillis brought in one average protester for a quote, Hedy Ross from nearby Silver Spring, Maryland, about overcrowding in local schools due to immigration. Average protesters are the meat and the potatoes (and sometimes even the dessert course) of left-wing protest stories. Those "pro-immigrant" rally stories were much less balanced and much more typical in underlining who the Post favors between the lines.