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Bias Is Seen in Times' Peace March Coverage

January 14, 2003

On Saturday, the largest antiwar demonstration in Los Angeles since the end of the Vietnam War was held. On Sunday, it was a relief to see a front-page picture about the march, and yet the caption read, "Along with the usual anarchists, socialists and assorted professional protesters were many solid-citizen dissenters, writes columnist Steve Lopez." What is wrong with this? It is opinion. Moreover, it is a misrepresentation of Lopez's opinion. He wrote positively and hopefully about the march, rather than -- as the caption indicated -- disparagingly.

These phrases indicate a serious misunderstanding of who was marching and why. Many of the "solid-citizen dissenters" are people, like me, old enough to remember the Vietnam War and the havoc it wreaked. We remember the past and know why the Bush administration's hell-bent desire for war regardless of the consequences is a recipe for global disaster. "The usual anarchists," etc., are young people who are running against the grain of their complacent society to care about the rest of the world and the role we play in it.

If and when this country goes to war with Iraq, Saturday's demonstration will be dwarfed by further antiwar protests. I'd like to think that a paper as distinguished as The Times might see it coming instead of ignorantly dismissing its indications.

Ellen Carol DuBois

Professor of History

UCLA

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I just love the way that you characterize the participants in Saturday's mass demonstration against the war with Iraq. Apparently, there were the "usual anarchists, socialists and assorted professional demonstrators." Apart from them, there were also "many solid-citizen dissenters." Wow! I was unaware that the two were necessarily mutually exclusive. Don't look now, Times, but your bias is showing.

Madison Christian

Simi Valley

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Your photo of thousands of antiwar protesters massed in downtown Los Angeles outside the pristine spire of City Hall was stunning. The true depth and breadth of opposition in this country to an invasion of Iraq is slowly beginning to dawn upon the mainstream media.

But the awakening is slow. You may have downplayed the size of the crowd. And you relegated the story itself to the middle of the California section and to Lopez's column.

Hasn't the peace movement now become a national and international story? And if, as your photo caption on page B10 says, fingers flashing the peace sign come from "a past era" and thus, by implication, do not have much meaning in the present, I personally doubt we'll have much of a future.

Clive Leeman

Ojai

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