The protests you aren’t seeing

The protests you aren’t seeing

The antiwar movement is active across the country, protesting against the U.S. involvement in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but mainstream news organizations barely report on it anymore, according to a report by a Harvard University press watchdog.

Some 1,400 Americans have been arrested in anti-war demonstrations since 2009, reports John Hanrahan in Harvard’s Nieman Foundation Watchdog, but the national and local press almost never covers them, effectively silencing what Hanrahan argues should be a major voice in the national debate over the wars.

He writes:

During the Vietnam era, press coverage of the fighting and opposition to it at home helped turn public opinion against the war. This time around lack of homefront coverage may be helping keep military involvement continue on and on.

He continues:

[Today’s] protests don’t begin to approach the level of those during the Vietnam war or in the early years of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars – but that’s not a reason to ignore them. The fact is, protest is much more widespread than citizens might gauge from coverage in newspapers and television, which seldom report antiwar actions regardless of how significant or newsworthy they may be. As we briefly observed in a previous article: By ignoring antiwar protests almost totally, editors are treating opposition to the ongoing war in Afghanistan much as they handled the run-up to the war in Iraq: They are missing an important story and contributing to the perception that there is no visible opposition to the U.S. wars and ever-growing military budgets, even as polls show overwhelming support for early U.S. military withdrawal.

Hanrahan goes on to write that although many local news organizations have cut back on reporters, and some still do cover anti-war events intermittently, “there’s no good answer” for why the press ignores protesters.

It may not be a “good” reason, in Hanrahan’s eyes, but there’s probably one big reason for the absence of antiwar coverage in the mainstream press. Editors are sensitive to charges they don’t “support the troops” – which isn’t their job as journalists to begin with, but the criticism still stings if your newspaper or TV station is perceived that way. The antiwar movement has tried for years to dispel the impression that it’s anti-soldier – its signs now say “support the troops – bring them home,” and Michael Moore wrote a whole book, “Will They Ever Trust Us Again?” in which he tried to take up the mantle of troops fighting in Iraq. Etc.

But the We-Love-The-Troops-But-Not-The-Wars branding hasn’t stuck. The Vietnam-era trope about protesters spitting on returning veterans – which may have never even happened – is too powerful, and it still clings stubbornly to today’s antiwar movement. Pundits, elected officials and especially current or former military personnel are allowed to question or oppose the wars in mainstream reporting, but leftist or hippie drum-circle types are still radioactive for many readers or viewers.

Hanrahan’s basic argument is intriguing, though: If the press covered antiwar events more often, would that sway Americans’ views about the defense budget, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan? There’re reasons to be skeptical: These days, when mainstream news outlets have less influence than ever and specialized outlets are ascendant, anyone who wants to find out about local antiwar rallies or letter-writing campaigns, etc., can probably do so more easily on the Web than they ever could before. So the peace movement may be as influential today, in terms of numbers of people reached, as it ever has been, even if it’s not reaching them through the news media. Hanrahan quotes activists who say they don’t even try to engage reporters anymore.

What do you think? Are Americans missing part of the picture on defense and the wars, or does it even matter in the Fox v. MSNBC age when everyone can opt only for “news” he agrees with?

Photo: Jeremy Gantz/Medill News Service

Join the Conversation

“The Vietnam-era trope about protesters spitting on returning veterans – which may have never even happened – is too powerful, and it still clings stubbornly to today’s antiwar movement“
My pop attended Uof I in 1967–1971 and he can attest to the vehament hatred thrown his way after he go out of the Army and went to school on the GI bill.…there were time he had to be escorted to class due to trash being thrown his way…

I also know Vietnam veterans who can confirm some of this disgusting disrespect they were treated with when they returned home.

Michael Moore has some nerve to ask “will they ever trust us again”, after he described ruthless, murderous, Iraqi insurgents as “patriots and freedom fighters that will win” in one of his films.

The reason that people say “spitting on protestors never happened” is that they did an article search, and they don’t find articles mentioning it before the early 1980s.

Of course, these people forget to mention that the databases they’re searching are only stuff that’s been archived in digital form, and that typically didn’t happen before the early 1980s…

What a joke… let’s call it like it is, shall we? There’s a Democrat in the White House, coverage of anti-anything he’s involved in is spiked. Plain and simple. If a Republican had not only continued the wars of the previous administration but had engaged in two other “kenetic actions” we can be assured the traditional network and print media would not be so quiet about the public protest. The simplist answer is often the correct answer, in recent times traditional media sources have become little more than the propaganda arm of the DNC… the reason we saw a decrease in protest coverage is just good ‘ol journalistic bias.

Where’s all the Fox News coverage of the anti-war protests?

Or, are you saying that Fox is also “little more than the propaganda arm of the DNC”?


I think the media is not covering anti-war protests out of respect to our troops, they are not covering anti-war protests to try to minimize any problems for a weak President.

I would like to submit that the reason why we don’t see much coverage of the anti-war protests is that the American public doesn’t care about protests. They don’t really care about the war anymore either.

The American public cares about Casey Anthony, Anthony Weiner, Katy Perry, Bieber, the cost of gasoline, the cost of beer, how much longer until football season starts and hundreds of other things that are not war related. The average evening news program lasts for 30 minutes. You do the math and try to guess where the networks will devote broadcast time.

The American public does not care about some war in a far off land that their neighbor’s cousin went off to fight in. Or if they did care it was 5 years since they last payed any attention.

The national media is merely giving the American people what they want and the American public does not want to hear about anti-war protests. They might pay attention if there is some cool battle footage, but only if the cinematography is excellent or it contains lots of cursing. Otherwise you can keep you war, anti-war and everything else ’cause it was so last decade.

Absolutely spot on correct. The media is doing everything they can to help 0bama, and that includes not reporting things that may make him look bad. It really is that simple.


Well that explains perfectly why the media so extensively covered all those war protests that occurred during the Bush administration (while often completely ignoring the counter protests that occurred in support of our troops) doesn’t it.…. :-/


President Bush: Liberals hate war.

obama: Liberals love war.

Josh was pretty much on it.

Our mainstream media is more about conflict than news. They just don’t see much of a story in an irrelevant protest.

Since the Republicans won’t be swayed by the protests — and Obama and his fellows in the Congress also won’t pay them much attention, they just don’t see a story of more than local interest. The media is interested in selling its stories and in power/influence and if they don’t see a story as selling to the market or influencing government they don’t much care. IOW, the fact that it’s news isn’t enough to get it into the newspaper…

And of course the media shills for Obama. There really is no question but that there is media bias. I don’t think the media sees it as bias, I think they just can’t conceive of a perspective other than their own having validity and thus to be worthy of coverage.


What does a single, fairly new cable news outlet have to do with the traditional network and print media? Cable news channels are more entertainment than anything else. Fox is a business strategy to capture the viewers disgusted by CNN and MSNBC. I personally find it enormously funny that liberals pant and squeal about Fox news having a right lean, they even point to this single news channel as justification for the liberal slant by practically every other news organization. It doesnt’ change the fact that the management at NBC, CBS, ABC, NYT, and other legacy hard news sources actively skew and hand pick their reports based on political ideology. In that frame of reference the press is no longer the watchdog for the American public, it’s now an active participant in politics.

The news is owned by defense contactors and disney who are beholden to the bank, who are beholden to the Federal Reserve who are beholden to the IMF and the NWO. AP and Reuters are all controlled by the emperor’s (european oligarchy) puppets. Anyone watching MSNews is an idiot anyway.

So, respectfully disagree dog face — ever hear of the Tea Party? It isn’t that the People don’t care, it’s because the news IS a propaganda arm of the “Empire of the City” — you know, the emperor & puppet master and their police force (NATO). The media isn’t GIVING people what they want, they are SHOVING their “dumb-down” agenda in our collective face. Check whether MSN corp.s aren’t employing govt. psy-ops & subliminal programming.

“What does a single, fairly new cable news outlet have to do with the traditional network and print media?”

It shoots down your how nutcase argument that is what.

Do tell… I’ll admit your massive barage of facts has been overwhelming, as usual. But, just for fun, why don’t you try to actually contribute something aside from your usual inane drivel.

The lack of protests is for the simple fact that the people who are dying and being injured are from the war supporting peasant class. Wave a flag at these people and they march their sons and daughters off to death like lemmings.

We are seeing a shift amongst liberals to abandon the American peasant — the class of Americans who despite suffering the vast majority of deaths and injuries of their loved ones still support the war. And would rather wallow in anti-islamic bigotry rather then support polices that helped them.
The war is just one issue where this is happening.

“The Vietnam-era trope about protesters spitting on returning veterans – which may have never even happened – is too powerful”-is said because it’s really just an euphamism for how the soldiers were treated, in some cases it was much WORSE THAN BEING SPIT ON!

“…the press is no longer the watchdog for the American public, it’s now an active participant in politics.”

I’m stealing that, Josh. I’ll credit you the first ten times I use it, and then it’s mine!

“And from these … bits of truth the writer creates his story. Every single bit is the truth, but the whole thing is a more meaningful and dramatic lie — a magic lie.
~ William Ormond (W.O.) Mitchell
The editor has no objections to facts if they are also novel. But he would prefer novelty that is not fact, to a fact that is not a novelty.” & “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.“
~ William Randolph Hearst

Maybe it wasn’t a film, but Michael Moore was quoted as saying this:

“The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?”

Then he later wonders why people don’t trust him.

Just for the record, as a known Vietnam war objector I was spit on and cursed in a hall of the student union, North Dakota State University, Fargo, in 1967. Numerous times physical violence was threatened, and occasionally perpetrated against me as an individual among many in the peace movement, so that one was forced to become both wary about safety, and more-or-less knowledgable in non-violent responses. The later antipathy toward returning veterans tapped the same deep roots of disrespect and violence within the culture.

Action motivated by hatred of those with opposing views is, of course, not new nor is news media silence regarding events unfavourable to media’s corporate economic interest. In the 1960s and 70s the alternate press arose to provide a voice for some of the excluded and marginalized. The internet and its social networking software may provide some of the same function today.

That is an easy question, for whoever was in power — Bill has no particular loyalty to America and it’s freedoms, he certainly will never fight for them.

Ok just this once since you are a bit thick and need help…

Claiming that the protests are not reported because of the liberal media bias is obviously false when the very un-liberal fox news doesn’t report them either.

Most people with common sense will get it intuitively, but if you are still having problems look up “counterexample”

Personally I feel sad when I see low rent Americans increasingly explaining that they don’t deserve to earn a decent wage because they have lost so much human dignity that they consider themselves a permanent underclass.

For the left it is understandable but probably a mistake to abandon these people to republican exploitation. As Bush said at a dinner of many of the wealthiest Americans — you are my people. And he wasn’t referring to the waiters on minimum wage. One day these people may work out that they are being held for fools by the republicans and they are going to be very angry.

I’d feel a bit different if Obama was like Saddam and murdering all of my neighbors and crushing all of my rights. Look at the behavior of most of the insurgents. They are thugs and criminals who wanted power.

Say’s the guy guilty of insulting our soldiers constantly. Judging from your behavior you’d sell out to the Chinese for $20.

The media isn’t covering the protesters because there’s no need to. They covered them in before 2008 because that helped elect Obama. Mission accomplished. Now the goal is to re-elect Obama. How does covering angry anti-war left-wingers help Obama? It doesn’t. Therefore it doesn’t get coverage.

The world is not that complicated. The media is run by left-wing establishment types.

There never was a large anti-war movement. There was a large lets-hate-Bush-and-elect-Democrats movement. Which won in 2008 and promptly disbanded.

This article is willfully ignorant. The Obama-scum media got what they wanted.

No I will never trust a liberal or a democrat agian. Let them move to the ME and be a pain to allahs minions

No, you’re wrong. Academic researchers failed to find evidence in numerous historical studies, and learned people are quoting those findings. Do a search yourself of the literature and you’ll be amazed how much you can learn.

Funny how those who glorify our military and the freedoms they protect are the first to spit on those same freedoms when practiced by anyone they dislike. Move to North Korea if you hate dissent, you obviously have no idea what being an American is all about. A soldier who doesn’t support protests should hang up his weapon and pick up a book.

For the record, WE WERE SPIT ON & WORSE! Now, having said that I will address the maggot protesters. We, (Troops & Veterans) are the reason they can protest. So, let’s protest against the people that give us the right to protest. Real SMART! And don’t give me that Bovine Excrement about — I’m Protesting the War, NOT the TROOPS ‘cuz it just won’t fly! The TROOPS need support from every American in every way. Protest is NOT SUPPORT for the TROOPS no matter how you slice it. I for one an glad that the Government controlled “media” isn’t covering the protestors, they are a minority who simply have too much free time on thier hands.

There was plenty of violence and spitting and whatnot going on on both sides at the time. My parents both witnessed servicemen being spat on, and my uncle was spat on when he returned. They’ve also talked about seeing police beatdowns of protestors. Things got messy, and they weren’t helped at all by the fact that some of your ideological brethren didn’t take the nonviolent approach you did, and turned to terrorism.

However, my impression was that this was mostly on the coasts, near stations the guys were coming back at en masse, and at universities; the vast majority of the country was apathetic enough about it that they had an opinion but they weren’t actively out for either side.

I’ve no doubt there are such scholarly studies where liberal scholars absolve the liberal movement. However, I have veteran friends and relations this happened to, as do tens of thousands of others. Want to see how patriotic the far left is? Check out the photos at zombietime​.com

That’s beyond ridiculous. Of course the media isn’t reporting anti-war protests because there’s a Democrat in the White House. FOX isn’t reporting them either because A.) they’re every bit as inconsequential as they were when the media found them useful as a means to embarrass a Republican president and foment opposition and B.) Republicans are ALWAYS more supportive of Democrat military actions than Democrats are when a Republican is in the White House because the former is less willing to politicize foreign policy when American troops are in the field. To suggest that FOX is a mirror image of the activist left in all regards is rather foolish.

The MSM is not covering the anti-war movement because President Obama has 1)continued and expanded nearly all of the Bush war and anti-terrorism policies 2) Has not closed Gitmo 3) Has not tried KSM in civilian court and 4) Has committed US troops (as “kinetic action”) in Libya and Yemen.

Basically, if a republican goes to war, war is bad. When a democrat goes to war, war is good. And the MSM supports Obama, no matter how insane his Libya or Yemen policy is. Why compare the 2011 anti-war movement to the Vietnam anti-war movement, when a far more apt comparison, current MSM coverage with Obama as President to MSM coverage of anti-war movement when Bush was President? Because it hides what Obama is doing.

But Mr. Ewing wants to continue to work, and telling the truth about Obama won’t further that goal.

If so, how come they covered Cindy Sheehan and the other leftist moonbats protesting the war during the Bush administration? Since when does the media have any respect for our troops? Another thing, they fought to be able to photograph the caskets arriving at Dover Air Force Base, from Iraq, during the Bush administration. Where are they now? The caskets are still arriving, but suddenly there’s no interest in covering it. Hmmmm, I wonder why?

Wow. You are a vile human being. “Do what we say is good for you, or be abandoned,” is that the gist of your position?

By the way, you’re also an idiot — the only mindless person I can find in your post is you. Do you really think you know so much about the world that you can honestly believe statements like yours? Are you really that moronic?

ah huh so the liberal media isn’t reporting it because it makes Obama look bad and the republican nut case media isn’t reporting it because it isn’t happening :-)

See what I mean, the average American peasant cant even work out who has his best interests at heart. Leading people like this around by the nose is trivial.

Stupid people think that getting angry is the solution. In reality it just makes them more vulnerable.

You don’t deserve to be in the US army, you don’t share any of it’s values.

Bob Greene has written a book that documents dozens of spitting incidents called “Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned from Vietnam.” You can buy a used copy on Amazon for a penny. Read it and educate yourself. I was wearing a uniform in 1973 and can tell you that liberals were full of hate for us, crazy hate for anyone in uniform including cops and Boy Scouts. Now, when public opinion has turned against them, they’re trying to rewrite history to erase how they spit on the troops. They were liars then and they are liars now. You could learn a lot just by asking anybody who was in the military during Vietnam how he was treated in public. ANYBODY.

The main reason that the media does not cover the big anti-war demonstrations is that even a cursory look at them will reveal that they are organized by Communist-front organizations like ANSWER, a front for the Workers World Party. Most of the signs advocate a socialist revolution in America, professionally designed and printed by ANSWER. Much of the personally made signs are vulgar or profane. If the media really covered these protests and gave you a close look at them, it would undermine the anti-war program that most liberal journalists support. So they lie by omission.

A major demonstration costs anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 to organize when you add up the stage, sound equipment, generators, porta-potties, and what not. ANSWER blew perhaps a million bucks a year pitching multiple simultaneous demonstrations two or three times per year. That ended abruptly in 2007, with both wars still cooking and Bush still in office. It looks like ANSWER’s sugar daddy stopped funding the demonstrations, perhaps to throw the money into the presidential election. So now, ANSWER can only muster a couple hundred of the usual suspects for a protest, as in the link below, covering an anti-Libyan War protest in front of the White House two weeks ago:

With our economy the way it is, these wars will keep costing the tax payers at home. We need to drill our own oil and protect our own borders! We need to be more self sustaining and let the world take care of itself. Maybe after we get back to our full economic potential, then we can police the world again.

PEACE and better “grass” brother

And an idiot and commie sympathiser, as yourself, needs to leave my country and enjoy your life in Kandahar

As a VietNam Vet, I applaud the media, for not sensationalizing these cowardly anti-American factions. All they do is fuel hatred against the young men & wommen who serve proudly, to protect their rights to be anti American.

I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll fight to defend your right to do so. And, while I respect an Official Office, doesn’t mean I have to respect the person holding it. And, I can and do support the troops every day, doesn’t mean I love seeing our sons and daughters die for the emperor. This isn’t your Daddy’s war.

Despite the sad, obvious omission in this article of the current POTUS and the water-carrying media that still covers for him, paints his tiresome platitudes as glowing, ignores his gaffes and blunders, and still throws him metaphorical softballs in interviews, this article has some redeeming elements. The “mainstream news outlets have less influence than ever” statement is spot-on.

More Americans are abandoning the extreme leftwing media sources like MSNBC and are turning to right-of-center sources like news aggregates and conservative/nonpartisan blogs. A majority of Americans consider themselves conservative or moderate, yet the majority of the US mainstream media sources are liberal and are deaf to the escalating concerns of the majority of Americans in regards to the nation’s economy, unemployment, the housing market, the debt ceiling, etc. The press can ignore the war in Libya all it wants — more Americans than ever are engaged in what is going on in Washington, so they are not dependent on Brian Williams or Cooper Anderson or Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow or Matt Lauer or Lawrence O’Donnell to shape their thinking, to fill their brain cells. The information is indeed out there, just not on the dying mainstream media networks. Thanks to the Internet, the power of the American liberal press has been diminishing for quite some time.

The statist press, for the most part, will ignore or whitewash anti-war protests during Obama’s presidency (watch that change overnight, however, when Obama is booted out of office in 2012 — NYT and other liberal media bashed Bush daily on the Congress-approved wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, showcased many anti-Bush/anti-war rallies, but are virtually silent now about Obama’s troubling actions in Libya).

“It may not be a “good” reason, in Hanrahan’s eyes, but there’s probably one big reason for the absence of antiwar coverage in the mainstream press. Editors are sensitive to charges they don’t “support the troops” – which isn’t their job as journalists to begin with, but the criticism still stings if your newspaper or TV station is perceived that way.”

So the media is afraid of having a stigma attached to them? They don’t want to offend the people? Who wrote this article, a moron? Our modern media is and will be MORE THAN HAPPY to ‘offend the people’ — and not in some good muck-racking way, but instead in a, ‘whatever will bring in the ratings’ sort of way.

Why won’t mainstream media touch the anti-war movement? The better answer: they’d rather not bite the hand that feeds them. The same corporations that fund a majority of the mainstream media outlets also are getting their corporate c*cks sucked by the Pentagon. The media doesn’t want to cover the anti-war movement because they’d rather not offend and risk losing revenue streams from the corporate war-sl*ts that fund them.

…and this comment will probably be censored by the war-wh*res who run this site.

I see many, many articles all citing one or two “studies” which have the problem I describe above.

So you would trust the crazy war mongering Repubs instead?

On protesting these wars, the reason it’s hardly in the news much like it was in the Vietnam War, there is no draft. Place a draft to fight in the Middle East any you’ll see how fast protesting would be running rampant throughout the country.

Outside of how much it’s costing us on our budget most Americans can care less about what’s going over there because they have our fine military doing it for them. Put them in the hot seat and all bets are off on much peacei n the streets here…

I spent two tours in Vietnam and, like most of those I served with, I opposed the war as a foolish waste of blood and treasure. When I came home, I was vilified by those who hadn’t gone. I feel no animosity toward them because if you’re opposed to people letting the government know how they feel about an issue, you are far more unamerican than any protestor.

I feel sorry for folks who decide protesting a governmental action is somehow unpatriotic, particularly in a country that won its freedom from another country by protesting and, ultimately, combating a governmental action.

I love it when liberals talk. Besides spouting stupidity they can’t help but show their distaste for the average man and belief that he is stupid needing his ilk to “take care” of him. Keep talking!

“This article is willfully ignorant. The Obama-scum media got what they wanted.”

Yes and a reason we should be wary o this author whenever he writes. Editors be forewarned…

I just finished ready LBJ’s story and am hopping mad again at what happened in Viet Nam for nothing. Our Afgan policy is similar. I want to help


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