I noticed two discordant events during Thursday’s pro-life demonstrations by black activists on Capitol Hill.
One was the lack of TV cameras. They said a Fox crew showed up early, then left on another assignment way before the demonstration began. But here you had folks wearing T-shirts with sayings on them like “black genocide” and carrying signs saying “Abortion is not a family value” and traipsing down SE Capitol Street in steamy weather between the Democratic National Committee HQ and the Republican National Committee building. There were kids, there were pastors, there was quite the cross-section. It was colorful and in your face and there were folks like Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, popping off gospel hymns every time she got near a mike. It was just the right stuff for good TV footage. Our photoographer, Astrid Riecken (one of whose photos is shown with this post) had a field day shooting stuff and six photos ran in Friday’s paper.
But where were all the other media outlets and the networks? CNN? The wires? It’s like these folks did not exist. Here you had pastors like Arnold Culbreath with Protecting Black Life, a Cincinnatti group, claiming that Planned Parenthood disproportionally builds its clinics in majority-black and Hispanic areas.
(I called Planned Parenthood and they said they build them where the need is. Jesse Lee Petersen, a pastor out of Los Angeles said, “Planned Parenthood says they provide health services to the black community. I ask: What is healthy about killing black children?)
Another pastor, Stephen Broden, was saying there has been 14 million black abortions since 1973 and that 1,452 black children get aborted each day. Are these folks telling the truth? Isn’t it even worth interviewing them to see if they are? Why the near-media blackout? Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is as liberal as they come on this issue and his voting record shows it. Isn’t this a huge election issue? Why, then, the dearth of reporters and photographers?
The other discordance was The Mystery of the Blaring Car Alarm. There we all were: A few media and some 60 demonstrators in front of the DNC building. Just as speakers stepped up to the microphone, an alarm would blare from a beige Altima Nissan parked exactly across from the front entrance, making it impossible to hear the speaker. At first, we all thought it was us media folks who were leaning on the car. But when the alarm began going off, as on cue, people began looking up toward the windows of the DNC building and muttering. The blaring had its own sense of timing; apparently the person operating it (and by the seventh or so time it was obvious SOMEONE was behind this) was interested in Martin Luther King, as the thing did not go off when Alveda was speaking.
Unfortunately I could not hang around to find out who this destroyer of the right to free speech was. The car was parked in a one-hour slot, so someone was bound to surface sooner or later to move the thing. But just in case anyone can look this stuff up, the license place was 1CR B32 and it was a New York plate.
— Julia Duin, assistant national editor/religion, The Washington Times