598 Marching On Washington
This kind of thing's been going on for a long time. Probably the most famous march on Washington took place on August 28, 1963, a little over 46 years ago, on a sweltering Wednesday. That was Martin Luther King Jr.'s rally for jobs and freedom, as it was billed. There probably were about a quarter of a million people.
In October of 1995, it was Louis Farrakhan's so-called Million Man March, which may have drawn a larger crowd than Dr. King's, though not a million, and transportation had gotten cheaper and easier. The goal of this one was entirely different. It was a hate rally.
Two years later it was the Promise Keepers, similar in tone to Farrakhan's event, but much whiter and nominally Christian instead of nominally Islamic.
Before and after these three, there were rallies and marches in DC, protesting or promoting employment rights, gay rights, women's suffrage, the Vietnam war, Israel, the "Palestinian Territories," you name it.
Joining these ranks now, the Corporate March on Washington. Oh, they didn't call it that, but that's what it was. This wasn't a major, at least population wise. Seventy five thousand, maybe 80-thousand right wing fringees were protesting taxation, public health care and anything and everything having to do with Barack Obama. They called it the Taxpayer March on Washington. But not a lot of shoe leather was spent.
Air conditioned luxury tour buses did most of the moving. That saved a lot of pseudo patriotic energy for song and story, speeches from the usual suspects -- people who want to reduce your life to total drudgery (often by quoting The Drudge Report.)
All this along with signs accusing the President of Nazism, an inspirational appearance from Republican Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina who shouted "Liar liar!" at the President who was addressing a joint session of Congress.
Some of these people are unwitting dupes, sucked into to the vicious nonsense that passes for partisan disagreement these days. Others were in some form paid.
But whether sucked in or bribed or paid, all these protesters are company property.
--Even on deadline, you can bowl in the newsroom with little fear of hitting anyone. Doesn't matter whether it's a newspaper, TV or radio. The only guys left write about baseball or football or basketball, and generally not well, although some papers still have a police beat reporter, probably 100 years old and well past his or her prime.
--At least that centurion HAS a prime to be past. That is not going to happen too often from here out. No one to teach newcomers the real world and how news works.
--This leaves the journalism schools with a heavy burden: teaching something they know little about. It's the only extant alternative to on the job training. Some of the J-schools, the more practical ones, are adding courses about burger flipping -- but only at the post-graduate level.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®