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.