“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed,
if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.” Mark Twain
Most often, the misinformation comes less in what is reported than in what is withheld. I’m never quite sure what it is about Democrat policies and politics that requires the mainstream media in general, and the Oregonian in particular, to bury, burnish or belabor particular events to enhance the image of Democrats individually or collectively.
Last week, the Oregonian did a “by the numbers” comparison of the Democrat National Convention (Denver) and the Republican National Convention (St. Paul/Minneapolis).
In that article the Oregonian reported that there were 50,000 protestors expected for the Republican convention and since there was no mention of any number for the Democrats, we are left to assume that none were coming.
The Oregonian noted that there would be 900 extra police from neighboring communities for the DNC convention. In contrast, it reported that there would be 3500 officers from 90 state and local agencies for the RNC convention.
And finally, the Oregonian reported that the RNC convention would cost $34 million to pay all of the law enforcement officers and another $16 million to train them. No costs were reported for the DNC convention so we are left to assume that it was free.
If all you read was the Oregonian’s article you would come to the conclusion that the Democrat National Convention would be a peaceful gathering to anoint the Chosen One, Barack Obama, and the Republican National Convention would be a display of police and military might designed to roll over the citizens and impose John McCain on unwary voters.
But, I just happened to be in Denver this past weekend. No, not to attend the DNC convention but, rather, to attend my granddaughter’s first birthday. So let’s put the lie to the Oregonian’s story.
Denver is an armed camp.
Denver International Airport which is generally security conscious on a slow day was overrun with police and federal agents — some with dogs, some with devices that did “God knows what” and the remainder constantly sweeping the horde of people entering and exiting the tunnels that lead to the airport’s three terminals. The television stations and the local newspaper, The Rocky Mountain News, spent inordinate amounts of time reporting on the security for the Democrat National Convention. The television stations showed pictures of the opening days activities with police standing three deep and the street’s lined with police vehicles. Another station showed the six to eight foot steel mesh fences being erected around convention sites — these weren’t the ticky-tacky fences around a construction site, these were serious barriers meant to both control and resist the movement of people.
The Rocky Mountain News reported that size of the Denver police force doubled with the assistance of 1500 additional officers from 52 law enforcement agencies around the nation. (Nearly double the number reported by the Oregonian) That brought the total number of just police officers to nearly 3,000 and that doesn’t count federal officers or troops. Added together, the number of law enforcement personnel in Denver for the DNC convention is roughly equivalent to the number that will be on hand in Minneapolis/St. Paul for the RNC convention. But then reporting parity would not have built the phony contrast that the Oregonian wished to portray.
There were so many protestors in Denver that they have set aside specific times and places for the variety of different protests (anti-war, anti-nuclear, anti-business, anti-growth, anti-everything — oh, yes, and the Nude at Noon demonstration.) I don’t know whether there will be five thousand or fifty thousand protestors in Denver but the Oregonian chose to ignore the fact that there would be protestors at all. I don’t know whether there will be fifty thousand protestors in Minneapolis/St. Paul but then again, neither does the Oregonian but it didn’t prevent them from writing it any way. Given the Oregonian’s reputation for exaggeration (remember its claims about people dying in the streets and schools closing if taxes weren’t increased) I doubt that there will be fifty thousand protestors but I do assume that there will be roughly the same number of protestors at the RNC convention as are at the DNC convention — in large part because they will probably be the same collection of goof balls, nihilists and thrill seekers at both conventions.
And finally, according to Security Solutions (securitysolutions.com) Denver received $50 million in federal funds to pay for security for the DNC convention — precisely the same amount the Oregonian reported for the RNC convention.
The truth of the matter is that the security arrangements for both conventions are virtually identical. Both parties and both cities are exercising the type of prudence expected to maximize the maintenance of peace and orderliness. Both conventions are likely to experience the same attempts to disrupt their respective proceedings, and both conventions are determined to maintain order.
The Oregonian had access to the same information I did, it simply chose not to report it, preferring instead to try to shape the news to favor the Democrats or impugn the Republicans. It isn’t a big deal but it is demonstrative of the bias that is so evident in today’s media. The Oregonian continues to lose readers and subscribers at an increasing rate and precisely for these reasons. But then again, for the Oregonian politics always comes before news or common sense.