The Times Packs Times Square With Anti-War Protesters - March 21, 2003

Times Watch for 03/21/03

The Times Packs Times Square With Anti-War Protesters Just how many anti-war protesters hit Times Square in Manhattan yesterday? You'd figure the New York Times, if anyone, would have the answer. But was the papers 43rd Street headquarters too far from the action? While most other outlets reported that some 300 protesters blocked Times Square at rush hour yesterday, the Times found 5,000. Most other media outlets came up with consistent figures: In New York, more than 300 protesters snarled traffic in Times Square during the evening commute. Police arrested 36 people, claimed Justin Pritchard of the Associated Press. The Washington Posts Evelyn Nieves in San Francisco stated: In New York, more than 300 protesters converged on Times Square at the afternoon rush hour, blocking traffic. Adam Daifallah, reporting for the New York Sun (registration required) from Washington: 300 protesters converged on Times Square at rush hour, snarling traffic. Police reported 21 arrests for disorderly conduct. But New York Times reporter John Tagliabue apparently has sharper eyes than his colleagues: Chanting Peace Now, some 5,000 people demonstrated in Times Square in New York, Tagliabue claimed in a front-page story on world-wide protests, datelined Paris. A Times story on U.S. protests by Kate Zernike and Dean Murphy also came up with a similar large number: In New York, 21 people were charged with disorderly conduct after a crowd of several thousand lay down in Times Square, they reported for a special section of the Times called A Nation At War. (The Los Angeles Times also claimed In New York City, thousands thronged Times Square.) Admittedly, Times Square is a closed and cramped environment with many inlets and outlets, with people constantly flowing in and out. Different people looking at the same crowd could have come to different conclusions. But a 1667% discrepancy between the Associated Press/Washington Post (300) and the New York Times (5,000) is a little hard to swallow.