On September 12, 2009, a rally was held in Washington D.C. Tens of thousands of people attended, with the Washington D.C. Fire Department estimating crowds at 60 – 70,000. (The National Park Service, responsible for the Capitol and National Mall grounds, does not provide crowd estimates, nor does the Washington D.C. Police Department) Right wing commentators in the media and on the Visalia Times Delta’s online forums quickly tried to inflate those numbers to ridiculous levels of one to two million. Relentlessly hyped by Fox News well in advance, and endlessly on the day of the event, crowds came from across the United States to protest. Exactly what they were protesting was really never clear, and many of the protesters could not articulate more than vague soundbite slogans heard on television and talk radio. Fox News continually chastised the “Main Stream Media” for not covering the protest march, continually asking why it was not worthy of coverage. That commentary would end up branding Fox News hypocrites of major proportions, and I’ll get to just how in a moment.
A month later, on October 11, 2009, another rally and protest march was held in Washington D.C. This time, estimates of the crowd count was 100,000. An afternoon rally was held on the west lawn of the Capitol, with national figures speaking to the crowd. No national networked hyped the rally with endless mentions and promotions. All of the attendees were true grass roots activists, who were rallied in a relatively short time frame through the use of the Internet, text messaging, emails, and good old word of mouth. The crowd was a true cross section of the United States: all races, ages, economic classes, sexual orientations, political affiliations, and religious affiliations.
A sampling of the speakers included -
Robin McGhee, COS Professor and Fresno resident. Robin is a leader of the Marriage Equality movement in California, and was a major organizer for the Washington rally.
Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar in 2009 for “Best Original Screenplay” for the movie “Milk”, which won Sean Penn a “Best Actor” Oscar.
Julian Bond, Chairman of the NAACP, who has spoken numerous times and said that gay rights are civil rights. He repeated those statements at the rally.
Lt. Dan Choi, United States National Guard, Iraq war veteran, an arab language specialist, who now faces expulsion from the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
The cast of the Broadway show “Hair”, who closed the show in New York for a day to attend the rally.
Judy Shepard, who’s son Matthew was the college student pistol whipped and left to die tied to a fence outside of Laramie, Wyoming in 1998.
Recording artist Lady Gaga.
A long list of other notable and unknown speakers stepped up to the podium that sunny day in D.C.
Watching the news, you’d be excused for not knowing it happened. Almost no mention was made in the media, and even less was mentioned on Fox.
So here’s where Fox News is hypocritical. A march of 70,000, endlessly hyped by their broadcasts well ahead of time, and covered extensively on their programs, was the fodder for their chastising all the other media for ignoring the protests. However, when 100,000 gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgendered marchers and their straight allies took to the streets of the capitol, with no endless hype ahead of time by a major network, Fox was notably absent. They complained long and hard about the national news ignoring the “TeaBaggers”, but then turned around and ignored an even BIGGER rally the very next month! Fox didn’t even send a camera crew, instead showing a clip from ABC News, when they bothered to mention the rally at all! Hypocrites of major proportions, who now lack any credibility, if they ever had it to begin with. “Fair and Balanced” is a lie, and someone should sue them for false advertising.
You can check out video of the march and rally at Equality Across America’s website here, and C-Span’s pages here.