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Takin' It to the Streets - A Bill Moyers Essay
Photo by Bernie Boston, 1967 March on the Pentagon
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November 2, 2007

Last weekend more than 100,000 people turned out in 11 cities across the country to protest the occupation of Iraq, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, among others.

Yet based on the miniscule amount of coverage the mass protests afforded in the mainstream media, it was as if the demonstrations never happened.

"Are the media ignoring rallies against the Iraq war because of their low turnout or is the turnout dampened by the lack of news coverage?" asks Jerry Lanson of the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR.

On October 21, 1967, almost forty years ago to the day, there was another march on the Pentagon 50,000 protesters strong, calling for an end to the war in Vietnam, which by then had already claimed 13,000 American lives. The 1967 march was the culmination of five days of nationwide anti-draft protests organized by the National Mobilization Committee.

"All in all, I thought, it had been the best day of my life," recalls American History Professor Maurice Isserman in a recent essay for THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, despite his being exposed to tear gas and dragged by his feet from the Pentagon Plaza by a federal marshall. Isserman continues:

It was probably not the best day in the life of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara...Alone in his office, he would break down and weep, turning his face to the window if someone walked in unexpectedly. Five months before the Pentagon protest, he had sent the White House a confidential memo outlining his "growing doubts" about American involvement in Vietnam.
The famous photograph below captures Secretary of Defense McNamara as he watches the thousands protest on his doorstep. Despite his growing skepticism, the Vietnam War would continue for another 7 years.

"The march last weekend came almost exactly five years after Congress backed the President's rush to war," explains Bill Moyers in his essay. "Five years later, the Capitol and the country alike seem once again to have their fingers in their ears."

>What do you think? Talk back now on the Blog

*"Flower People" photograph by American photojournalist, Bernie Boston, placed 2nd in the 1967 Pulitzer Prize competition

Published on November 2, 2007

Related Media:
Buying the War
How did the mainstream media get it so wrong in the lead up to the Iraq War?



Listening to History
Bill Moyers shares his perspective on the Vietnam war in an essay featuring archival audio of conversation between President Lyndon Johnson and US National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy.

Marilyn B. Young
Historian Marilyn B. Young, co-editor of IRAQ AND THE LESSONS OF VIETNAM: OR, HOW NOT TO LEARN FROM THE PAST.

References and Reading:
Audio Slideshow: Deserted Neighborhood
Josh Partlow of THE WASHINGTON POST discusses the abandoned streets of Sadiyah.

The Flower in the Gun Barrel
By Maurice Isserman, CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, October 19, 2007
"Toward dusk on the evening of October 21, 1967, a burly federal marshal took hold of my feet, dragged me away from the plaza in front of the Pentagon where I had been sitting in, and pulled me down the adjacent embankment, before depositing me on the pavement of the building's north parking lot."

Revisiting the Summer of Love
Listen to this program from Minnesota Public Radio featuring Maurice Isserman, discussing "the music, the mayhem, and the meaning of the summer of love."

The Vietnam Protests: When Worlds Collided
By Jeff Leen, THE WASHINGTON POST, Sept. 27, 1999
"Another in a biweekly series of stories about the people and events that shaped Washington in the 20th century."

The Tyndall Report
"The Tyndall Report monitors the weekday nightly newscasts of the three American broadcast television networks: ABC World News with Charles Gibson, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams."

CBS News: Protest Vote
CBS' Matthew Felling talks with Jerry Lanson abut his recent article on the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, about how the press neglected to cover the recent war protests.

War protests: Why no coverage?
By Jerry Lanson, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, October 30, 2007
"Coordinated antiwar protests in at least 11 American cities this weekend raised anew an interesting question about the nature of news coverage: Are the media ignoring rallies against the Iraq war because of their low turnout or is the turnout dampened by the lack of news coverage?"

Protest Coverage Worth Protesting
By Deborah Howell, Ombudsman, THE WASHINGTON POST, September 23, 2007
"Protest coverage routinely draws complaints, but objections to the story, headline and photos on the Sept. 15 rallies for and against the Iraq war were unusually valid."

BBC News: Thousands in US anti-war protests
"Rallies took place in a dozen cities, with the biggest crowds gathering in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. They were timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of a vote by the US Senate to authorise the Iraq invasion."

Also This Week:

MINORITY MEDIA
BILL MOYERS JOURNAL reports on the real-world consequences of media policy through the lens of how it affects minority media ownership in America.

KATHERINE NEWMAN ON THE MISSING CLASS
Moyers interviews Katherine S. Newman, author of THE MISSING CLASS: PORTRAITS OF THE NEAR POOR IN AMERICA, about the millions of near-poor in America, who are just one disaster away from poverty.
>More on the S-CHIP debate

TAKIN' IT TO THE STREETS ... AGAIN
Bill Moyers asks why the news media is overlooking today's protestors.

TALK BACK: THE MOYERS BLOG
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