WaPo Skipped Tea Party Protests, But Gives Big Play to...Opponents of Male Circumcision?

April 1st, 2009 9:08 AM

Typing in the words "tea party" into a Nexis search of The Washington Post finds nothing about protesters against Obama economic policies in the last six weeks – no coverage of the February 27 rally across from the White House, and no coverage of any other Tea Party across America.

But Tuesday’s Washington Post showed you didn’t need large numbers of protesters to get a prominent feature story. The front of the Style section carried a story (complete with three photos) of a protest of "about 50 people" in front of the White House against....male circumcision. Reporter Dan Zak found some strange people there:

Spend some time with intactivists and you will hear how circumcision is responsible for, among other things, the oppression of women, sexual disharmony, deforestation, militarization, the rise and fall of empires and the invasion of foreign lands for oil.

So why are these protesters more newsworthy than conservatives and libertarians against paying the mortgages of the overextended?

Post editors would say these protests are funnier, or more ribald. Zak began:

In the shadow of the nation's most recognizable phallic symbol, they gather and march. There are about 50 of them, all ages, both sexes, nearly all white, smiling, quiet, enjoying the sun as they make a slow loop in front of the White House with their signs of protest. Their mounted photos of pink squealing babies make the event look, at first glance, like an anti-abortion rally.

But look closer at the squealing baby photos and see why they're squealing.

On second thought, don't. Just read the big black sign with bold white letters:




These people are intactivists. As in, activists who want male genitalia kept intact. As in, people who want a federal ban on male circumcision for newborns.

These people were so extremely committed that two young men said they would go on a hunger strike and die to end the "giant monstrosity" of male circumcision. "If we have to die, then that's what's necessary," said Zachary Balakoff.

But the Post was more interested just in the saucy appeal of the story. A text box appearing with two photos inside on page C-5 read: "The arguments touch on human rights, bodily integrity, and public health. Strong emotions are just the tip of the issue."