Monday, January 29, 2007

Skewed historical source

While I was in college, I wrote a lot of history papers. That meant that I spent a lot of time pouring over old newspaper accounts of events. When using those sources, you expect them to give a good picture of the event in question. I'm not sure my local paper did that, though, for future local historians.

I'll give them a little benefit of the doubt because I have not seen the print edition of this article (link will not last long), but here's how it starts:

Area residents gathered outside the Fort Atkinson Municipal Building Saturday afternoon to protest the United States' continued involvement in the Iraq war.

The mid-afternoon rally was organized by Fort Atkinson resident Chuck Ogg, who said he wanted to inform the public about the current situation in the Middle East. Residents from all over Jefferson County endured cold temperatures and cloudy skies to share their thoughts and feelings about the escalating conflict.

"Even in a small town like Fort Atkinson, there are people who feel strongly about it," Ogg said of the war in Iraq.

Protesters held signs and chanted as cars and pedestrians passed by during the hour-long vigil, and they received honks and comments in response from several people.

The article posted on the paper's website goes on to quote Ogg at great length. The article misses some very improtant information, though-how big was this protest? Not a word was expended to detail that rather important information. I'd be interested to hear the size of the protest from a news source, because I heard from a witness of this protest that there were 7 protestors, give or take a person. Even in a small town, 7 protestors is not news. You can get more people to make fools of themselves at karaoke on a Friday night than the number of protestors on Saturday.

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