As is usual and customary, the peaceniks inside the Washington Post offered a second day of protest publicity before Saturday’s radical march to the Pentagon. The story by Steve Vogel and Michael E. Ruane doesn’t dominate the front page of the Metro section as protest coverage did yesterday, but it’s certainly promotional at the very bottom of Metro’s front. The headline is "Rousing, Emotional Start for War Protest."
Vogel and Ruane also employed the usual and customary practice of not using any ideological labels for protesters, and downplaying the radicalism of rally speakers. The main protest drew about 2,800 people at the Episcopalian National Cathedral. The reporters quoted Celeste Zappala, who lost a son in Iraq, saying "I am here tonight as a witness to the true cost of war...the betrayal and madness that is the war in Iraq."
Late in the story, other Cathedral speakers are summarized, but barely quoted, mostly saying politically safe things about how veterans should get better care at the Walter Reed hospital. In passing, the Post noted the Bush-bashing political agenda at the protest’s heart: "Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson said Bush and Vice President Cheney should be removed from office for what he described as crimes against the Constitution."
The "rousing" start also included about 100 protesters assembled in front of the White House, aiming to get arrested. Police arrested some of them around 11:30 pm after three warnings to disperse. (Other protesters not as eager to be booked watched from across the street in Lafayette Square.)
The Post made no effort to explain the radicalism of the main organizers, the ANSWER Coalition. Saturday’s article only noted their worries about the light snow that fell Friday afternoon and evening in the D.C. area, leaving maybe an inch on the ground. It seems the leftists can’t even characterize the weather correctly:
"They are doing everything possible to continue to come, despite near-blizzard conditions," said Brian Becker, national coordinator for the ANSWER Coalition, the march's main sponsor.
The reporters did offer three paragraphs to the group Gathering of Eagles, Vietnam veterans who are counter-protesting. The story was illustrated by two photos. The one inside showed a small crowd of "bundled-up peace activists," which was more of a crowd illustration than the Post gave the tens of thousands assembled for the much larger March for Life in January.
An AP account of "thousands of Christians" against the war (no left-wing labels in this story, either) offers a few more speech quotes:
"This war, from a Christian point of view, is morally wrong — and was from the beginning," the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, one of the event's sponsors, said toward the end of the service to cheers and applause. "This war is ... an offense against God."
In his speech, the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, lashed out at Congress for being "too morally inept to intervene" to stop the war, but even more harshly against President Bush.
"Mr. Bush, my Christian brother, we do need a surge in troops. We need a surge in the non-violent army of the Lord," he said. "We need a surge in conscience and a surge in activism and a surge in truth-telling."