Left: Protesters at the aborted October 15 NSM rally; photo by historymike
(Toledo, OH) The arrival of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) in Toledo this Saturday will generate a considerable amount of media fanfare. Short of natural disasters and celebrity court cases, few events bring out the media like brownshirted Nazis shouting racial slurs.
Those on the anti-racist left often decry what they perceive to be a concerted campaign to impose a media blockade on them. I used to be skeptical of this complaint until this week; now I am not so sure.
Let me preface this post with a short quote from a Toledo Blade article in today's paper about the upcoming neo-Nazi rally:
Flyers were being circulated yesterday by an unknown person or persons purporting to represent a group called the National Women's Rights Organizing Coalition.
No one representing the group was identified on the flyers, one of which was left at the entrance door at The Blade, and no information about such a group could be found on Internet searches.
This is the entire Blade coverage to date of the anti-Nazi protesters massing downtown and other places on Saturday.
I am puzzled at the statement that "no information could be found about such a group on Internet searches;" I did a Google search on NWROC and found 841 hits, while "National Women's Rights Organizing Coalition" generated 170 hits. Maybe I am just a little more savvy in my search techniques.
I also find it interesting that the Blade did not decide to report on the opposition until a flyer was "left at the entrance door of the Blade." Now, I don't know how things work at the Blade, but I think my editors at the Toledo Free Press and other periodicals would give me an odd glance if my investigative techniques revolved around waiting for flyers to show up at my door.
There was a press conference Tuesday at the Sanger branch library, and at that time over a dozen groups had signed onto the coalition named TUAR (Toledo United Against Racism). A representative from NWROC was there, and we had a good conversation about the group's reasons for joining the protest.
I covered the conference for the Toledo Free Press, a reporter from the Independent Collegian was there, and two local television stations carried the event. How can one of "America's Great Newspapers" be so in the dark?
There may be over 20 different groups represented on Saturday in downtown Toledo opposing the Nazi rally. The Blade, for reasons unknown, just found out about one of these groups thanks to a flyer at their door.
Three possibilities come to mind, and others may think of different interpretations. The first is that the Blade has been coopted by city and/or police officials into minimizing pre-rally publicity out of some sense of civic duty. I think there also could be an argument made that there exists a paternalistic editorial attitude held by the Blade management that they know best what their subscribers should read, and that readers do not need to know about these activists.
The third possibility, of course, is that the paper is just plain clueless about what happens beyond a radius of ten blocks from the Blade building. Perhaps the idea that there are a lot of people for whom neo-Nazi rallies are an abomination just does not fit into the abstract model of docile Toledoans that the Blocks seem to possess.
I will give the Blade credit for one item, though: they were all over the breaking news that COSI will indeed be closed on Saturday. When I spoke to the COSI director Monday morning, they were still going to hold regular programming on Saturday. The Blade correctly noted that COSI directors have since decided to close, given the potential for unrest.
Of course, COSI is about two blocks from the Blade building. Maybe someone walked over from COSI and gave them the scoop.