my pissant two cents

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

No Quarter for Hackery

The following is a letter to the editor of the Washington Post in response to an article on the demonstrators at Bush's Craqford, Texas, dude ranch in Monday's (8/21) edition by Mike Allen.
The article is laced throughout with scornful jabs at the demonstrators, their cause, and their politics. If this were an opinion piece or a fluffy feature written by a feature writer, it might be a little more palatable. Not much more, but maybe a little. But Mike Allen is part of the Post's reporting team that regularly covers the White House. As such, he should be held to a higher standard.
Of course, I'm not holding my breath in anticipation that they wil publish it. Nevertheless, I encourage you to read the article and write a letter of your own, and send it to They can't ignore all of us....

I am offended by Mike Allen's August 22 article on the demonstrators at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas. I am a Columbia-trained journalist, and have taught journalism at two universities, and this is precisely the type of article I would use to demonstrate biased writing.
Allen uses several loaded words to describe the demonstrators, "hordes" and "onslaught" being two of the most egregious. He also makes several snide characterizations, e.g.: discussing the port-a-potties, "but no shower" (because they're dirty hippies); a volunteer "scraping a frittata pan" (because an effete liberal wouldn't use something as banal as a skillet); and juxtaposing the Food Not Bombs group's bus that "can only be started with jumper cables" (because they're poor) with the "hybrid-fueled cars" of the "liberals from throughout the West" (because they're rich). Allen presents something for everyone to sneer at.
Rather than making any principled stand against a war that has killed more than 1800 Americans and innumerable thousands of Iraqis, these demonstrators merely try to "capitalize" on Cindy Sheehan, who Allen assures us is nothing more than a publicist-manufactured "logo for opposition to Bush." Forget, for the moment, that her son was killed in Iraq, and she'd like to know why.
Allen giddily passes on the White House press corps moniker for the demonstrators-- "Cirque du Soleil"-- which adds nothing to the story, but confirms what the Left has long suspected and now knows to be true: the mainstream media is mocking and marginalizing them.
I'd expect this sort of thing from a partisan hack or an Ugly American caricature like P.J. O'Rourke. I expect better from the Post.


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