Not unless newspaper editors are going to create a brand new standard for covering large, D.C. political protests. Not unless for the mainstream media, angry conservative activists are more important than angry liberal ones.
Who knows how many mini-mob members are going to show up in the nation's capitol this weekend for the Glenn Beck/Dick Armey "grassroots" protest. But even if they defy expectations and 100,000-plus Obama haters show up, based on previous treatment of mass rallies in D.C., and Post and the Times must, in the name of consistency, keep the rallies off the front page.
Why? Because during the run-up to the Iraq War, mass gathering of liberal peace protesters were routinely kept off A1.
As I recently noted:
For instance, in October 2002, when more than 100,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C., to oppose the war, The Washington Post put the story not on the front page, but in the Metro section with, as the paper's ombudsman later lamented, "a couple of ho-hum photographs that captured the protest's fringe elements."
For that same 2002 anti-war rally, The New York Times also bungled its reporting. The day after the event, the newspaper published a small article on Page 8, which was accompanied by a photo that was larger than the article itself. And in the article, the Times falsely reported that "fewer people attended than organizers had said they hoped for."
In 2002, when more than 100,000 left-leaning activists took to the streets to protest the policies of a Republican White House, the event was quietly tucked inside the newspapers. For the 9/12 protest, we'll see if editors at the Post and Times maintain the same blasé approach.