Sunday, September 25, 2005

ROUNDUP: Reviewing major-media coverage on size of DC rally

The text of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan's speech is at

The San Francisco Chronicle website said, without attribution, in the
second paragraph of its story: " . . . as many as 500,000 protesters
rallied outside the Capitol . . . .


There was no crowd estimate in the NYTimes story. The Times account noted
that the U.S. National Park Service no longer gives crowd estimates on


The Washington Post relied upon The AP's "tens of thousands" estimate
(without attribution) for its lead, and in the fourth paragraph relied
upon an estimate from DC's police chief: "Protest organizers estimated
that 300,000 people participated, triple their original target. D.C.
Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who walked the march route, said the
protesters achieved the goal of 100,000 and probably exceeded it. Asked
whether at least 150,000 showed up, the chief said, 'That's as good a
guess as any. It's their protest, not mine. It was peaceful -- that's all
I care about,' Ramsey said."


At 12:15 p.m. EDT on Sunday, nothing could be found on the CNN.COM website
other than search links to other media stories. On Saturday, CNN had used
the AP dispatch, saying that "tens of thousands" had rallied in DC.


The Boston Globe appeared to have nothing in its early Sunday print
edition. The Globe's website carried a staff-written story which described
protests by "more than 100,000 anti-war protestors" across the globe and
carried this in the fourth paragraph: "National Park Service officials
said they were not tallying the crowd size, but authorities with the
Washington police said the organizers may have reached their predicted
turnout of 100,000 protesters."


The Los Angeles Times had nothing on its web home page but in the National
sub page there was a story about three items down by staff writers which
began: "Capping a summer of rising discontent with the war in Iraq, tens
of thousands of protesters marched through cities across the nation
Saturday . . . ." The fourth paragraph said: "Organizers said more than
200,000 people turned out in Washington for the peaceful event, calling it
the largest protest in the capital since the war began in March 2003. D.C.
Police Chief Charles Ramsey said the group had probably reached its goal
of 100,000.",1,3098940.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&ctrack=1&cset=true


AT the USAToday website, there was a link to the AP's video report on the
protest. The audio of the video states "it was the largest antiwar protest
in the U.S. capital .... local authories even believe organizers probably
hit their mark of drawing out 100,000 people . . . . " The correspondent
was Ross Simpson. The USA Today website also carried, off its front page,
as of 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, an updated AP story that reflected a new lead
which deleted the "tens of thousands" unattributed estimate and simply
said, "Crowds opposed to the war" without a number estimate. In the fifth
paragraph, the AP story said: "Police Chief Charles Ramsey, noting that
organizers had hoped to draw 100,000 people, said, 'I think they probably
hit that.' "


The Chicago Tribune carried the protest story on its "Nation" subpage,
where it was the 44th story in a list of national stories. The story
itself, by Washington bureau staffer Steve Ivey, and wire services,
leading with "war protesters clogged several blocks surrounding the
whitehouse on Saturday . . . . " The second graf quoted organizers as
saying it was the "largest peace rally since the war began" and said: "A
turnout of 100,000 had been the organizers' goal for the event and, said
Police Chief Charles Ramsey, 'I think they probably it it.' ",1,3751608.story


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