“We can never please this crowd.”
– Michel du Cille, Washington Post director of photography, talking about pro-lifers after their protest in Washington
Du Cille may be right. Then again, accuracy, fairness and a lack of an agenda would be a good start to pleasing just about anybody.
The fact is, even The Washington Post’s ombudsman – a liaison to readers – admits the newspaper presented a vastly skewed picture of reality in its coverage of a massive pro-life rally coinciding with the recent Roe v. Wade anniversary.
Ombudsman Patrick Pexton wrote that photos giving proper perspective – that the rally was much bigger than a small counter-protest, as big as 50,000 – “didn’t find their way into the main Web photo gallery on the march. And I think this is where The Post fell down in its coverage of the march this year.”
Post Local Editor Vernon Loeb also acknowledged, “In retrospect I wish we had given readers a better sense of the overall magnitude of the march ...”
But, of course, du Cille was unbowed.
It’s nice someone admitted the coverage was skewed. And it’s not like it was because of a lack of space: In the paper product, space is a huge constraint, and a more animated photograph might make it into the paper than, say, a wide-angle crowd shot. But there was plenty of room on the website for photos showing the magnitude of the protest.
You can forgive pro-lifers for wondering if the slight was intentional. Neither The New York Times print edition, nor any of the major broadcast networks, covered the massive march – although in the Times’ “Happenings in Washington” column that day, the paper took notice of the Boston Bruins visiting the White House.
If Occupy Wall Street protesters were as ignored as 50,000 pro-lifers, you might trip over them.