Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Which side are you on?

Howard Kurtz writing in today's Wash Post on some of the organizers behind the "Peace" demonstration in Wash DC.
The media have done a poor job of describing who was behind Saturday's big antiwar demo in D.C. This is in no way to cast aspersions on the tens of thousands of ordinary folks who showed up to demonstrate their opposition to U.S. policy in Iraq. But many journalists shortchanged their readers and viewers in not saying more about the radical group ANSWER.

The Washington Post offered this brief description of ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice: "Both groups have sponsored other major demonstrations against the war in Iraq but also protested U.S. foreign policy in places ranging from Haiti to the Gaza Strip."

I wonder if the media would have resorted to such shorthand in covering a group as far to the right as ANSWER is to the left. In Slate, Christopher Hitchens blames journalistic laziness:

"Saturday's demonstration in Washington, in favor of immediate withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq, was the product of an opportunistic alliance between two other very disparate 'coalitions.' Here is how the New York Times (after a front-page and an inside headline, one of them reading 'Speaking Up Against War' and one of them reading 'Antiwar Rallies Staged in Washington and Other Cities') described the two constituenciess of the event:

" The protests were largely sponsored by two groups, the Answer Coalition, which embodies a wide range of progressive political objectives, and United for Peace and Justice, which has a more narrow, antiwar focus .

"The name of the reporter on this story was Michael Janofsky. I suppose that it is possible that he has never before come across 'International ANSWER,' the group run by the 'Worker's World' party and fronted by Ramsey Clark, which openly supports Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic, and the 'resistance' in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Clark himself finding extra time to volunteer as attorney for the génocidaires in Rwanda. Quite a 'wide range of progressive political objectives' indeed, if that's the sort of thing you like. However, a dip into any database could have furnished Janofsky with well-researched and well-written articles by David Corn and Marc Cooper--to mention only two radical left journalists--who have exposed 'International ANSWER' as a front for (depending on the day of the week) fascism, Stalinism, and jihadism."
Kurtz won't cast aspersions but I do. You can't claim ignorance of these crimes and their supporters.

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