February 13, 2007

Talk about misleading headlines

The Dispatch/Argus carried a story by the Chicago Tribune yesterday and gave it the headline, "Obama event turns into anti-war rally".

That certainly got my attention. But as I read the piece, it became clear that it had "turned into" nothing of the sort.

Apparently there were anti-war protesters at the event who began chanting and attempting to disrupt Obama's talk.

The article states:
Then a vocal crowd of anti-war protesters quickly made the issue the central focus of Obama's evening rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion, holding up a sign that read "Cut the Funding" during his address and chanting loudly as he tried to speak.

"I'm glad they were there," Obama said later. "They feel a sense of urgency about a war that should have never been authorized and a war that should have never been fought."

But he said he doesn't want to cut funding for the military personnel who are already serving in Iraq, saying that could mean they don't get the equipment they need.

"We need to bring this war to an end," he said, "but we need to do it in a way that makes our troops safe."
OK. Seems clear that he does NOT agree with the protester's position of cutting funding.

Then later in the piece:
He hadn't yet gotten to his points about the Iraq war when the protesters began to chant "Troops out now!" prompting Obama to stop his talk and try to engage them.

"I hear you," he said. "We'll talk about that in a second. ... You've made your point, so why don't you relax?"

But the protesters continued to chant, and the rest of the crowd began to drown them out with deafening chants of "O-ba-ma!" Someone grabbed the sign from the protesters' hands -- the protesters said later that security officers did so -- and they left.

"They kicked us out," said Ryan Donnelly, a UIC student who participated in the protest with about 20 other students.

So, a small crowd of protesters among a crowd of 7,300 people TRIED to turn the even into an anti-war rally, but Obama told them to "relax", or in other words shut-up, and the rest of the crowd yelled at them to shut up and tried to drown them out with their own chants, and even grabbed the protesters signs.

And yet from this they report that the rally "turned into an anti-war rally", and that these few protesters, "...quickly made the issue the central focus of Obama's evening rally..."???!! They did nothing of the sort!

Is that really an honest description? If someone read only the headline, would they have the correct view? Of course not.

The event clearly didn't "turn into an anti-war rally", as a matter of fact, quite the opposite. Obama told them to settle down, and the crowd tried to drown them out and shut them up as well. And not only that, Obama clearly stated that he doesn't share their desire to cut funding for troops.

So why write it that way?

At least the Tribune had the sense to title the piece, "Protesters disrupt Obama rally", which is both true and accurate, though the lead paragraph is
A homecoming for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) turned into an anti-war rally Sunday evening, as he returned to his home city following the weekend launch of his candidacy for president to find a crowd of 7,300 troubled over the Iraq war.
And that's not accurate either.

The Dispatch Argus choose "Obama event turns into anti-war rally".

Why do they do inaccurate and misleading things like that?


At 2/13/2007 7:58 AM, Blogger Scott said...

The Disgrace has always been known as a right leaning paper. This is just another piece of evidence towards that fact.

At 2/13/2007 9:34 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Even their Sunday comics are more conservative than the QCTimes...

I just noticed that this past weekend while looking at someone's copy at work. No Pearls Before Swine or things like that, and they still run the old folks favorites like Rex Morgan and stuff. They do run Opus though, so maybe my conclusions are false.

At 2/13/2007 10:09 PM, Blogger Scott said...

I don't know about the comics theory, but I do know that this paper wasn't happy until they bashed Lane Evans on the front page for several days running. They got what they wanted when he resigned.

At 2/14/2007 11:38 AM, Blogger Milton said...

What is wrong with a anti-war rally? Why did O-ba-ma back peddle on the wasted comment? Their lives are wasted. Lets, face it he and Dennis Kucinich are the only anti-war candidates. So if he wants to keep up his momentum he needs to stay with the anti-war mantra. Maybe universal Healthcare, but this issue does not seem to be getting attention. By the press or the people at the events. He is not going to be a mainstream candidate this time.

In defense of a Dispatch in this case. The writters do not write the headlines. It is based on layout space etc.

At 2/14/2007 1:48 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

How can a headline "write itself" based on layout space?

The headline in the Trib was different. I believe it's standard practice for the paper running someone else's copy to give it their own headline if they wish.

Clearly someone at the Dispatch chose that headline, likely based on the lead paragraph. Space didn't force them to chose a very misleading headline.

I'll point out again that the copy of the article was misleading as well, but the headline in the D/A is bad.

At 2/14/2007 3:08 PM, Blogger Dissenter said...

To suggest that the Obama event at the UIC pavilion turned into an "anti-war rally" is to suggest that a sporting event briefly interrupted by a streaker is a porno. I was at the Obama event. This is what happened.

Prior to the event, it was well-publicized that no signs or banners would be allowed. Ushers asked those who attempted to bring in signs to carry them back to their vehicles before entering.

Approximately 15 to 20 young men and women, all wearing black, entered the event and sat quietly in upper deck, waiting for the event to begin. Shortly after Senator Obama began speaking, and as he was discussing his plan for universal health care, the entire group stood, ran to the front railing of the upper deck, and unraveled a large bed sheet, which they had apparently hidden under a coat. The large banner stated: "Senator Obama Stand Up! Stop Funding Now" Then, the group began loudly chanting "Stop Funding Now! Stop Funding Now". They were loud, and were effective in disrupting the Senator's speech. The crowd began to boo them, and Senator Obama actually asked the crowd not to boo them. he then addressed them directly, stating that he understood the point that they wanted him to address. He asked them to be patient and courteous, and said that he in turn would address their point directly in a few minutes. He said, "I'm talking about health care." They were quieted for just 20 seconds, and then they started again. He again politely asked them to be patient, and asked them to be courteous by not chanting through his speech, but they would not stop. They brought the entire event to a halt for a few moments. Two UIC ushers, who were also off-duty Chicago police officers, attempted to escort them from the stands. They pushed one of the ushers down, and then a large group of Chicago police officers swarmed in and escorted them out.

The entire incident, from start to finish, consumed approximately two minutes. The doors to the event opened at 3:30 p.m. and the event concluded at approximately 6:30 p.m. (There was a choir, band, music, public officials speaking in advance of the Senator's 5:30 p.m. arrival). In other words, the disruptors consumed 1% of the time of the event.

To suggest that such a momentary interruption converted the entire theme of the event is entirely inaccurate.

At 2/14/2007 5:59 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

"Birds of a feather flock together."

At 2/14/2007 8:20 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico, is that why the head of the Ku Klux Klan ran as a Republican?

Good old David Duke.


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