Maine TV Stations Cover a Few Dozen Participants in (Cough, Cough) 'Million Student March'

April 14th, 2016 8:38 PM

Yesterday was supposed to be a glorious day for the people involved in organizing something they called the "Million Student March."

On Monday, they had priceless free publicity provided by leftist luminaries at the Huffington Post. They had a new source of support and participation from the "Black Liberation Collective." They had four platforms students could supposedly believe in and get behind. They had reasonably nice weather in much of the country. According to the Daily Caller, with all these positive factors working in their favor, the perhaps "hundreds" of rallies involved typically drew ... uh ... well, between 10 and two dozen people. Most establishment press outlets have saved the poor kids the embarrassment of exposure; but one pair of especially gullible TV stations in Maine played along, and thoroughly beclowned themselves.

Kristina Rex at WLBZ did a story in advance of the event. That story also appears at WCSH in Portland (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Maine students to participate in Million Student March

Students will come together at UMaine Orono as well at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland Wednesday to demonstrate and share what they say is their struggle to keep up with the high cost of tuition and taking out increasing amounts of loans to afford an education.

The day’s demonstrations are part of an effort known as the Million Student March, which is a nationwide day of action with students and supporters coming together across the country to demand tuition-free public college, cancelation of all student debt, a $15 Minimum Wage for all Campus Workers, and divestment from private prisons by all colleges and universities.

The first ever Million Student March took place in November 2015, with student groups at over 100 universities participating.

This is Maine’s first time participating.

... The demonstrations in Maine are sponsored by the Maine Student Action, which is a new statewide organization that is building student power in Maine to mobilize around what they call "progressive issues," such as the minimum wage and college affordability.

The event's national web site only has about two dozen identified locations. Given that none of them are in Maine, it's fair to say there were probably many more. Even so, the Daily Caller's attendance rundown at several schools gives one a good idea of how weak the enterprise turned out to be (links are in original):

‘Million Student March’ Attracts Dozens Of Protesters Around America, Is A Hilarious Failure

This year’s “Million Student March” — scheduled for Wednesday, April 13 on college campuses across America — appears to have failed miserably because hardly anyone bothered to show up.

Organizers had hoped for a huge turnout.

... However, the actual event fizzled.

... On the campus of the recently-troubled University of Missouri, for example, a sparse gathering of about 15 students protested as part of the “Million Student March,” according to the Columbia Missourian.

... At the University of California, Los Angeles, approximately 20 demonstrators showed up for the “Million Student March,” according to the Daily Bruin.

... Just over two dozen students showed up on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison — along with “a light police presence,” according to The Badger Herald.

Combined undergraduate enrollment at Mizzou, UCLA and Wisconsin-Madison is about 90,000. The roughly 60 "(Nothing Like a) Million Student March" protesters represent a turnout of roughly 0.07 percent at those three schools.

The Daily Caller had this to say about what happened in Maine:

... At the University of Maine and Southern Maine Community College, handfuls of students appeared to protest, according to local ABC affiliate WMTC.

“What do we want? Free public college!” the 12 or so students who protested at Southern Maine Community College chanted. “When do we want it? Now!”

The miserable turnout didn't deter the intrepid folks at WBLZ and WCSH, who filed this post-event video report:

The transcript shows how completely the stations were scammed in taking the event seriously, as they in turn scammed their viewers:

ANCHOR: Today, college students marched to bring awareness to their struggle to keep up with the high cost of tuition and take on debt to afford an education.

CO-ANCHOR: They are taking part in the "Million Student March" at Southern Maine Community College, and at the University of Maine. Students came together calling for action.

NewsCenter's Chris Costa shows how they think the problem could be solved.

CHRIS COSTA: (amid student chants) From Orono to South Portland, the message is the same.

SHAWNA BENJAMIN: Honestly, we randomly just walked outside and we saw the signs, and we were all about it.

COSTA: Students like Shawn Benjamin feel the pinch of mounting debt.

BENJAMIN: I think about them just piling up, at like, the more school I go to, I know the more debt I'm going into.

ALEX SERRANO: I'm all about action.

COSTA: That's why Alex Serrano helped organize this rally.

SERRANO (into megaphone): We demand fairness.

COSTA: Calling for two free years of public college and student debt forgiveness.

STUDENTS SHOUTING: Who's got the power? We've got the power!

COSTA: One of hundreds of rallies across the nation.

SERRANO: There are people who desperately want the change that they are fighting for.

RON CANTOR: Because more and more, we're seeing student do two years with us, and then transfer on, and a lot of it is driven by the realities of the economics.

COSTA: SMCC President Ron Cantor admits that the high cost of college has no quick fix.

RON CANTOR: It's challenging in today's economy and today's society to deliver high-quality education at an affordable price.

BENJAMIN: I feel like if we move funding to the right places, it could happen. If it was a little less, it would be a little helpful for more college students. They'd be able to follow their passion more.

BENJAMIN: (during demonstration) Well, that was awesome.

SERRANO (into megaphone): That's it.

COSTA: In Portland, Chris Costa. NewsCenters.

CO-ANCHOR: Students also called for a $15-and-hour minimum wage for all campus workers. Tuition at SMCC right now is $2,700 a year. For Maine residents, the cost of tuition at UMaine in Orono is is $8,370, plus $2,000 more in mandatory fees, and almost $9,300 for room and board.

It will surprise absolutely no one, based on his hackneyed activist rhetoric, that Alex Serrano probably isn't some student who just decided to organize a protest one day, as the TV report led viewers to believe. In early April, an Alex Serrano represented the Maine People's Alliance at the first Student Action Spring Convening in Chicago. MPA has the typical laundry list of pet leftist issues: Health Care, Affordable Housing, The Environment, Immigration, Workers' Rights, Economic Justice, Racial Justice, Democracy.

Note that the TV report above never told viewers how many students participated, and never questioned that perhaps there really weren't a million students marching around the country (if it topped 10,000, I'd be surprised; 5,000 is probably more like it). I'd say that the Maine turnout couldn't have been much more than three dozen combined — and the stations' report took up two minutes of a news broadcast. What a joke on them, and a disservice to their viewers.

Cross-posted at