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News/Opinion
‹‹ V.15 No.45 | November 9 - 15, 2006

Thin Line

By Amy Dalness

Just Ducky—What do you get when you cross a Patricia Madrid rally, disgruntled demonstrators, a sore foot and a woman in a duck costume?

The top story for the 10 o'clock news, apparently.

I don't have a favorite local news station, so I fit into the "watcher with a five-second attention span demographic." Yes, I'm the reason for the adage, "If it bleeds, it leads" (as much as I hate it). Imagine my intrigue, then, when the talking head on the TV screen told me a rally for Patricia Madrid turned violent. I'm thinking, punches flying, hair pulling, blood in the streets, must stay tuned to see what happened!

Cut to the report of the rally, a private event held in a public building. The few Wilson supporters who showed up, one in a duck costume symbolizing Madrid "ducking out" of another debate, were put off when they were not allowed in the building. No biggie—it was a private rally. They can stay outside and protest all they want, it's their right, and not big news. So where's the violent rally I stopped flipping channels to see? The woman in the duck suit—all sobs as she talked to the camera—had her foot stepped on by a Madrid supporter "on purpose."

Oy.

I have no idea whether the ducked-out woman's foot was maliciously stepped on or not. Sure, she said it was, but the alleged foot stomper wasn't questioned and no other witness came forth to verify her claim. It left me—the viewer/voter/thinking human being—doubting her assault and the news station for deeming this rally "violent." Want news about a brutal and bloody demonstration? Look at what's going on in Oaxaca. There's violence.

During election season, television and print news are awash with coverage about candidates' views, missteps, victories and character flaws. It's our job to delve deep into the issues facing the voters. Of course we should cover the Madrid rally gone awry—but run it as a top story due to an "aggressive attack against a peaceful demonstrator"? Don't think so.

We, the media, have to make sure we report real news, and don't just act as another soap box for the politically outspoken. It's our job to look into the facts behind the accusations, not just pour more dirt into the mud pit.