All right, it does seem unusual for those Olympia demonstrators to be protesting the return of troops and equipment from Iraq. More unusual may be the stand against the protests by the city?s daily newspaper in both its editorial and news columns. Editor & Publisher magazine online today says The Olympian, whose readers include many Fort Lewis-based soldiers and their families, has taken "a hard line" with anti-war demonstrators: Thursday, on its front page, it published the names of all 58 arrested in recent days.
E&P suggests it was an attempt by the daily O to perhaps embarrass or maybe even retaliate against demonstrators through its news columns. One of its editors characterized it as merely satisfying reader interest. Writes E&P:
"There is a curiosity among people of who the protesters are," Managing Editor Jerry Wakefield said about the front-page name list. "This is the most that have been arrested here in protests in recent memory." He said there was little discussion about publicizing the names so prominently: "Not a great deal of debate."
The paper, though it came out earlier against the war, wasn't quite so hot for the war's protesters on its editorial page, complaining about their tactics: "When protesters resorted to blocking roads, dragging debris into the middle of downtown streets, breaking windows, destroying public property, damaging police cars and hurling rocks at police, they clearly crossed the line. Their peaceful assembly evolved into lawbreaking and they must be held individually accountable."
And, cough, our news columns are just the ones to do that, it might have added.
The paper said it wouldn?t have objected if the protests had been peaceful. It implied that non-violent demos would get the job done. Apparently the writer wasn?t around for the 1970s protests that ended the Vietnam War. Sorry to say, nice little parades didn?t get Dick Nixon's attention; the freeway marches and assorted underground bombings did.
Threats and intimidation unfortunately have their place in the protests of unjust wars. Just read the news columns.