Thousands of protestors in over 175 cities across the United States took part in today's "Drive Out the Bush Regime" demonstrations (organized by World Can't Wait). But you wouldn't know it from watching the national TV news tonight.
CNN, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC World News and PBS' NewsHour ignored this day of American protest, as did their corresponding websites. Considering the predominant U.S.-centric focus of these newscasts, it's interesting how a nationwide protest against this administration is the one exception to that rule.
Here's a rundown of the network's stories that made it to the air:
NBC Nightly News (which, incidentally, gave us an all-USA broadcast tonight): Foley Fallout; Hastert Hurting; Political Fallout; Amish Funerals; Anthrax Trail Cold [a week-old story]; Rose Kennedy; Letters to Soldiers.
ABC World News (one non-U.S. report on Iraq): Bush Bashing, Parental Advice and November Politics; Former President Bush Hopes Hastert "Hangs in There"; Hastert Begins Damage Control; Amish Gather to Pray at Girls' Funerals.
CBS Evening News (one international story on North Korea's threat of a nuclear test): HP Corporate Spying Scandal; Hastert Stands His Ground; New Allegations Against Foley; Side Airbags May Saves Lives; Protecting the "Under Dog" (a retired Iraq War veteran and the puppy he brought home from Fallujah); freeSpeech: Mitch Albom; Four Amish Girls Laid to Rest.
PBS' NewsHour (all-American lineup, too): Foley Fallout; Voters Views; Home Work (a controversial law affects members of low-income housing; granted, a fine story); Faith and Politics; High Art (new art building opening in Denver).
The top stories from CNN's website (more Uncle Sam-alot):
* As Amish bury girls, killer's kin still stunned
* Ex-JonBenet suspect: Child porn case dropped
* Waste plant fire forces 5,000 to evacuate
* Toddler died from E. coli tainted spinach
* Disturbing finds in child sex raids
* Magazine lists women who had abortions
* Pot smokers may avoid Alzheimer's, study says
* Student starts white men's club on campus
* Kentucky wants to ban alcohol inhalers
* Peter Pan flies into chapter two
The top stories from MSNBC's website (they're separated by category, e.g., world news, U.S. news, Business; this is U.S. news):
* President asserts power to edit privacy reports
* Foley urged to name alleged clergy abuser
* Nev. woman, brother sentenced for killing child
* Ex-nurse gets life for killing 10 patients with drugs
* Woman, 83, arrested at border on drug charge
* Supposed ID of page in Foley e-mail revealed
* Muhammad Ali backs Mich. governor's re-election bid
* Starbuck's plans to double North American stores
* Clinic to separate two more conjoined N.D. twins
* Tribune company fires L.A. Times publisher
* Newsweek's Alter: Obama serious about 2008 run
Now you see why they just didn't have room to mention a nationwide protest held in over 175 cities.
Gore Vidal calls our country the United States of Amnesia. But as Yogi Berra might say, it's a lot easier to forget something you never knew.
So what was the protest all about? Well, the name says it all. Though you can go here to find out more. Additionally, actor Mark Ruffalo, one of the speakers at the New York City rally, summed it up well the other day on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!
You know, this intelligence act that just passed that basically throws habeas corpus out the window -- habeas corpus, which is basically the right at the seed of civilization that you have if you’re put in a prison cell, that someone has to come up with a piece of evidence to tell you, that tells the world and you what exactly they’re holding you for. Well, they’ve tossed that out the window now. And that’s to any enemy combatant, which is really a prisoner of war. There’s a mandate for rights that these people have. Well, we’ve tossed that out the window. That’s been around since 1252. ...To me, that’s fundamentally the basis of democracy. And I don't know what else to do. I’m frustrated. I think many people are frustrated.
Ruffalo also quoted his favorite passage from Sean Penn's full statement, which Ruffalo read at Union Square today.
“In fascism, one serves a state. Let's show the world that with democracy we can make the state do our bidding. And that such bids would not be the blind ones given exclusively to the friends of power, but rather the domain of the people of freedom everywhere. This in an administration that advocates torture, deceives the public, spends billions of dollars on a failed war. This is an administration, where in the year of Katrina ExxonMobil claimed the highest profit margin in the history of world business. It is an administration that belittles, demeans, deceives, and indeed kills our brothers and sisters, our sons and our daughters. In the human family, the President is indeed pushing his wheelchair-bound grandmother down the stairs with a smile on his face.”