Monday, April 24, 2006

Talk About A Difference in Perspective

One thing the Lansing State Journal has done well in its writing on this meager neo-Nazi "rally" at the Michigan State Capitol is keep the size of the event in context. Basically, it wasn't that big a deal. This is from the Journal's April 23 review of the rally:

The rally, which has sent waves of concern through the community for the past several weeks, turned out to be a mostly peaceful event.

The 75 neo-Nazis and more than 800 protesters gathered at the Capitol baited one another from opposite sides of a chain-link fence.

Minor scuffles led to 16 arrests.

But the more than 500 police officers who lined the downtown streets managed to keep disturbances to a minimum.


That's not a small-town paper trying to play down a controversial story, it's a clear-eyed account saying that the event, while emotional, was small and without major incident. Easy enough.

But read this caption from a photo included on washingtonpost.com's "Day in Photos" slideshow (it's the fifth photo):


Neo-Nazis give a salute as they get off a bus and arrive at a Neo-Nazi rally in front of the Michigan State Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan. The rally is the largest Neo-Nazi rally of 2006 and is sponsored by the National Socialist Movement.


Kind of a different tone, huh? If I read just that, I'd think this event was a much bigger deal that it was. I'd picture hundreds of neo-Nazis. There were less than a hundred. The event was a dud. "Largest Neo-Nazi rally of 2006"? That's like saying "Socialist Party USA's most crucial meeting of 2006." It's actually pathetic, but the Post's presentation inflates the scale beyond reality. I understand it's impossible to tell an entire story in a caption, but it's undeniable that there were a few hundred (thousand?) people in the country who have a completely overblown image of this story in their heads.


1 comment:

presto said...

Don't you think C-Rob is deserving of a rocket fever huzzah (or however you say it) for breaking the HUGE Reggie Bush story that's been blowin' up all over the place the past few days? Actually Charles is the one who's been blowin' up all over the place, I believe - all over national radio!

Old S'Newsers ROCK.