To the editor, The Oregonian
A question about your news balance:
Over the weekend, a massive Out Now! demonstation against the Iraq war brought about a quarter of million people to Washington, D.C. (estimates ranged between 100,000 and 300,000). In Oregon, thousands supported the anti war protest in about a dozen Oregon cities and towns, including several hundred in Portland.
Here's what your readers were offered::
On Sept. 25, you gave 30 column inches on A10, including a photo, to an AP story ("Thousands rally in Washington to bring troops home from Iraq") on the Washington demo using the lowest estimate for the turnout. That space included a 3" box noting that "about 100" held signs and candles in a silent protest on downtown Portland bridges. You did not cover the other Portland demo, which drew about 150 on Friday nor the largest of the Oregon Saturday events in Albany where almost 500 particiapted or any of the other local events from Waldport to La Grande.
On Sept 26, you devoted more space (32 column inches) on A2 ("Support for U.S. troops guides rally"--in larger type) including a photo and contact information (missing from your anti war coverage) to an AP report on an event 3000 miles away for which only a tiny group of between 200 and 400 supporters of the war turned out (organizers were looking for 20,000) evidently to denounce the overwhelming success of the anti-war events. Its significance event can only lie in its pathetic failure and suggest a lack of popular support for the war. It was not even noted by the New York Times.
Is this "fair and balanced" coverage or a grotesque leaning over backwards to cover a non-event on the other side of the country while ignoring what was happening under your nose in Oregon?