The Boston Globe this morning leads with a large picture, first column, above the fold, of a group of candle-holding protestors in a "vigil" to show solidarity with Cindy Sheehan. It's a lovely shot, taken on a beach at sundown, and the people look like nice people. It is also framed in such a way that the crowd looks like it might have been much bigger than it actually was. The story doesn't start on the front page, but when you get to it, it's a very positive portrayal of people just trying to "make a difference."
With twilight and candlelight playing across solemn faces, thousands of antiwar protesters gathered at more than 50 vigils at sites from Northampton to Quincy last night, in solidarity with a mother of four from California who has camped outside President Bush's ranch in Texas for 10 days and who vows to remain until he explains why her soldier son had to die.Again, there is no hint that Cindy Sheehan is anything more than a bereaved mother. She's just a "mother of four" who wants to know "why her soldier son had to die." There's no mention in the piece that the organization sponsoring the vigils was MoveOn.org. (Indeed, the picture on the front page shows at least two people holding signs that were downloaded from the MoveOn.Org website.) The article presents the views of the "protestors" uncritically, as if they are speaking self-evident and obvious truth. There's no challenge to any of it, because, presumably, they represent the editorial thinking of the Boston Globe. Comments like "[for the president] to say that there's a connection between 9/11 and Iraq is unbelievable" are quoted and uncommented upon, not even to point out that the President never once said that there was a connection between 9/11 and Iraq. And it closes with another quote from Cindy Sheehan, talking about her "vigil." "We are just going day by day. It's an organic thing that's really taken on a life of its own." How has it "taken on a life of its own?" Because it fits what the media wants to write about.