Perhaps this should come as no surprise. Until Wednesday, April 15, 2009 I had entertained the foolish notion that our local media was more professional, responsible, and unbiased than their national counterparts. By the end of the day, I was disabused of that naive idea.
Burying Our Numbers With Vague, Fuzzy Math
Reporter Dale Neal at the Asheville Citizen-Times reported that we were “several hundred people” a quote which simply means there were more than 300 protesters at the event. This is true, but it is hardly accurate reporting.
The Mountain Xpress reported our headcount as “500 plus.” They described our crowd as “filling the steps of the Buncombe County Courthouse.” Were you on the steps that day? Seems like we spilled off the steps a bit.
Turning A Blind Eye
WLOS News-13 reported our number as “hundreds.” WLOS news team was on hand during our entire event (see photo), and yet reporter Heather Graf did not go in front of the cameras until the speeches were over and most of our participants had gone home. Asheville was given very little screen time and the report was devoted instead to sound-bites from Tea Parties in neighboring counties. NO ONE in Asheville was interviewed and reporter Heather Graf did not approach any of the organizers for comment. This was the biggest thing to happen in Asheville that day and the report ran as item number 7 on the evening news.
Given that these media outlets obviously didn’t count the crowd, I would be very interested to know how they arrived at these numbers. Guesstimating through the lens of a personal agenda is my guess. Regardless of their method, the resulting “reports” were poor examples of journalism but fine examples of bias in the media.
Since our local media didn’t bother to get the facts or do the math, we have done it for them. These photos below make up 2/3 of the area in front of the courthouse, plus the courthouse steps and the street.