Notice anything funny about the WaPo’s internet coverage today? *UPDATED, often*

[UPDATE III, bumped:  The Weekly Standard says that a religious tone was the underpinning for the whole event (and I’m sure I’ll hear about that from Mr. Bookworm).  I will therefore give the Post and Times a full pass for emphasizing religion, although they would have done better to mention the other aspects of the gathering as well.  They both failed, though, to give a reasonable sense of the relative scale of the gathering:  the Times gave it a nothing headline, as if it was an insignificant event; while the Post really willfully implied that Sharpton’s gathering was the bigger of the two.]


To be honest, there’s nothing funny about the WaPo‘s internet coverage today.  Instead, it’s exactly in keeping with what one would expect.  I haven’t read the underlying articles, but I find the home page screen shot interesting:

The front page coverage does a few Post-esque in trying to spin coverage:  First, it makes the Beck rally sound like a religious revival.  As you know if you’re a regular Post reader, the picture and caption in the upper left corner revolve, with different images and text. When I last checked (and it does change regularly), two of the three on the Beck rally managed to use “God talk.” The one I captured in the screen shot is a perfect example.

Second, the top stories include a couple of really nasty op-ed captions:  “He has decided the best defense [against what?] is to be offensive [apparently with God talk]”; and “The cult of Beck?”

Third, the cover page tries hard to hide the disparities between attendance at Beck’s rally and at the counter-protest Al Sharpton held.  The Beck snippet makes it impossible to tell if the attendance was big or small:  “Glenn Beck, Palin and other tea party members tell supporters not to focus on history that has scarred nation, but on what makes it ‘good.'”  Below this, the phrase “A big draw” is followed by a question mark.

The Sharpton rally, though, had “thousands” attend:  “Thousands participated in a counter-protest to the Glenn Beck rally on the 37th anniversary of MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.”

I’ve been paying attention to the news, and the estimates for the Beck rally were that the crowd was in excess of 100,000 — possibly far in excess.  That would be a hideous number to reveal to those Post readers who merely skim the home page.  How much better to leave the impression that Beck gave a poorly attended, hate-filled religious revival, while Sharpton countered with thousands of people committed to “the Dream.”

As I said, I haven’t yet read the actual articles, and I can guarantee that many others won’t ever.  Their sole takeaway will be this home page that, through omission, obfuscation and genuinely-felt hostile opinion, manages to leave an impression that the big rally was a small revivalist meeting, and that the small rally was a big civil rights gathering.

UPDATE:  I focused this post on the WaPo coverage, because the rally took place on its own doorstep.  The New York Times coverage is equally dismissive and, again, turns the thing into a religious rally as evidence by this home page screen shot:

Incidentally, while the rally was significantly religious in tone, it was not only religious in tone, since it also focused on patriotism, the military, and self-government.  It also seems to have been universal in its religiosity.  That is, from Beck, there was “God talk,” not “Jesus talk.”  Indeed, Beck was careful to embrace all faiths.  Different orators, however, did speak of the Christian faith, probably because they were Christian.

UPDATE II:  Can anyone tell me how much “God talk” there actually was?  The MSM coverage makes it sound like a revival meeting with no other content.  Conservative internet sites haven’t yet pulled together the whole story, but I’m left with the feeling that Beck used the belief in God as a necessary prop for other American virtues, such as self-reliance, small government, high security, etc.

UPDATE IV:  Here’s the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle’s coverage.  Oh, wait.  Here isn’t the SF Chrons’ coverage.  On their online front page, the only references is in the automatically generated AP breaking news corner.  The Chron left the event off its own front page entirely.  (By the way, I know that the following screen shot doesn’t show the whole home page.  The rest of the home page, however, is also without reference to the event.)

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    In poker parlor terms, I see your WaPo/NYT headlines and raise you a Bloomberg.
    Beck-Palin Rally in Washington Drawing Supporters of `Babies, Guns, Jesus’


    AP/Yahoo never missing an opportunity is keen on reporting the color of the crowd. Oddly enough, no mention that America is also predominately white.
    WASHINGTON – Conservative commentator Glenn Beck and tea party champion Sarah Palin appealed Saturday to a vast, predominantly white crowd on the National Mall to help restore traditional American values and honor Martin Luther King’s message. Civil rights leaders who accused the group of hijacking King’s legacy held their own rally and march.

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  • Bill Smith

    Chill, folks.
    The Drudge photo shows wall to wall people the entire length of both sides of the mall. Those people are a tiny percentage of like minded people in the whole country. After all, they couldn’t ALL come to DC. But that many DID.
    On the other hand, a large proportion of the DC area is populated by lefties, and they did NOT turn out the numbers. And, they know it.
    Let them spin it all they like. The ONLY thing that determines the outcome of a tennis match is the movement of the ball across the net. Not the histrionics of one of the players. Not the commentary of ESPN. Not the crowd. ONLY the BALL. And that ball will get served in November.
    Those people on the mall represent a tsunami that is quietly rushing toward the voting booths. WaPo and NYT are now the maggots feeding on the rotting flesh of the left. Those people on the mall are the new, fresh, healthy growth who do not care a whit what the Left says. And now they can see for certain that THEY ae in the majority. THEY have the momentum.
    All the left can do is lie to themselves all the way to November. They cannot hide their utter failure anymore.

  • Jewel

    Beck has always made this rally about a return to our religious heritage without actually specifying which brand of Christianity that is….Nor has he excluded any other religious points of view, since there are many… which has always been the case. Interestingly enough, many evangelical types had refused to come because Beck is a Mormon. Fortunately, no one really cares about that anymore. Plus, he never tried to mask it or make it anything else. If the Wapo and the Duranty Times is having the vapors over the religious tone of the gathering, it wouldn’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last.
    What Beck did ask of the people who came was to leave their political posters at home. This wasn’t a protest so  much as a convergence of like-minded people. Someone noted elsewhere, I forget, that there were probably MORE minorities at this rally than at Sharpton’s, and I think that is a given.

  • zabrina

    It was religious in tone. Being a Christian and a former atheist, I had no problem with that. Beck (and the pastor who gave the stirring opening prayer) acknowledged our nation’s past failures and embraced our nation’s heritage as a Judeo-Christian country founded on Judeo-Christian morality. They specifically appealed to the God of the Pilgrims, of George Washington, of Abraham Lincoln, of Martin Luther King, who providentially guided our country through its roughest times. It seems Beck believes that we as Americans need to reconnect with God both as individuals making choices going forward, and as a country with such conscious, national appeals to Providence to guide us through these rough times. It is the basis from whence comes honor, and all morality, and without it America will fail. I found this the most electrifying element of the rally–the unabashed incorporation of religion and an appeal to the God who has guided our country from the beginning. Just as Martin Luther King, Jr. was not “ashamed” to boldly recognize and speak of God from the same steps. Do you have to be a pastor to speak out about religion, or do Glenn Beck and the rest of the Americans there have First Amendment rights too?
    Of course, the haters and the racists had a field day (I was reading Google Realtime comments along with the livefeed of the event), as did the professional doubters (WaPo, for example) who chimed in and got it wrong–hate and snark sell better than facts to their demographic, after all. But I think Beck may be right: we do seem to be standing on the threshhold of a another national revival, or religious awakening, which will affect the country’s course. And no, it is no more the beginning of a theocracy, or a cult, than were any of the previous American revivals of religious spirit in national life. The people at the Beck event love the Constitution and rights for all. And yes, it will be good for the country, though the haters will try to use it (as they do everything) as a weapon. As you can see, there are plenty of Americans who believe Beck expresses their views and their heritage, and that our country needs every hand on deck. In times of trouble, people get serious, and that means that many turn to God. It is as simple (and as good) as that. But nobody says you have to be a believer to be an American.
    I found the event an electrifying example of courage and heroism, on the part of the speakers right down to the individuals in the crowd. I was very encouraged to follow this example in whatever ways I can.

  • Ymarsakar
    Listen to one of the speakers and hear it yourself, Book.

  • Mike Devx

    A little off topic…
    I read the first paragraph of a recent Peggy Noonan article. (The rest required subscribing… no thank you.)
    Then I went to the comments, and you can read them all.  There are a large number of liberal commenters.
    It’s amazing.  Danny Lemieux wrote an article for BookwormRoom recently where he began by suggesting that conservatives and liberals don’t speak the same language.  Well, it’s worse than that, if you read those comments.

    It’s not that we don’t speak the language. We don’t even live in the same country; on the same planet; in the same solar system; in the same galaxy.  We don’t even live in the same UNIVERSE!  The divide is so wide, there’s no bridging it.

  • Oldflyer

    I watched the rally on C-Span.  Thought about going, but finked out.  Excuse is my wife’s sun allergy.
    It certainly had a strong dose of religion.  Perhaps a bit stronger than I anticipated, but not really proselytizing for any particular religion.  Much of the religious content was also by lay persons; e.g. Albert Pujols and the Tribal Chief. What they did  seemed to play well with the crowd.
    Sarah Palin’s speech was electric.  She is really an exceptional speaker, and getting better all the time.  I don’t know who writes her speeches, or how much is her personal input; but she is very comfortable with her message and delivers it so effectively.  No teleprompters.  Uses her notes sparingly.  Passion and conviction.  (She could give Obama some pointers on speaking in a natural style.  Couldn’t resist.)
    Overall, I was not terribly impressed with the program.  It had its high points; Palin, Pujols, etc; but it tended to drag.  If one takes the trouble to listen to what he says, Glenn Beck is very impressive in certain settings.  He is a showman, but I really do believe that he is sincere in what he is about.  But, he rambles and goes on for too long when in free form.  I was very impressed with the response; and to me that is the essential message.
    The media are going to have a hard time playing down the size of the crowd.  I was shocked at the pictures.  Most were shot from the WWII memorial, so they don’t show the entire length.  Still it is impressive.  In the blown up pictures, it can be seen that the area under the trees is packed, as are the open areas.

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  • ArfinGreebly

    Okay, I hafta say it . . .
    Anybody else notice that Sharpton’s rally was held on the 37th anniversary of King’s speech?
    I’m pretty sure Beck’s rally was held on the 47th anniversary.
    Gotta love them professional journalists.
    ~~ Arfin

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