Open Letter To The American Public
Don’t Tolerate Media Disinformation About the Massive and Rapidly Growing Anti-War Movement

by Paul Dean

Dissident Voice
January 20, 2003


Dear Friends, Family, and concerned citizens,


I am writing this in an attempt to provide an accurate (albeit admittedly emotional) firsthand account of the Jan. 18th peace rally in San Francisco.  After reading national news accounts of the event, (CNN,  NBC ABC, CBS etc.) I have come to the not-so-surprising conclusion that our corporate media is reaching new lows in an attempt to delude citizens about the size, scope and commitment of the opposition to the Bush war agenda.


The event in San Francisco was, by any measure, huge with a capital HUGE. There was no vantage point on the ground from which any observer could hope to survey the extent of the crowd. CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS all described the crowd size as “tens of thousands of people.” None of them carried a single photo on their web sites from the San Francisco march, to accompany their (completely inadequate) descriptions of the event. The Sunday San Francisco Chronicle did, however, print several photos which give the viewer some sense of the enormity of the event. These can be viewed on One of them, either an aerial photo, or taken from a very tall building, shows an enormous, densely packed crowd that obviously expands well beyond what could be captured by the camera’s viewpoint. The other, taken near the right side of the stage, shows the view from the Civic Center. That perspective also shows a massive crowd. We were, for most of the event, several hundred yards to the right of the point at which that photo was taken, far outside the frame, and there were tens of thousands of people in that area alone. In addition, no one anywhere near the front could tell where the back of the crowd ended. I spoke to people who claimed that marchers were still crowding into the square more than two hours after the event officially began.




Photo: January 18 anti-war protest, City Hall San Francisco. Note that this is only the front of the march, with far more people spilling in from the street to the rear. The photos below show the rest of the march route.  


The SF Chronicle reported that organizers estimated the crowd to be about 200,000, but that San Francisco Police claimed there were 55,000. I have been to huge, sold out concerts at the Oakland Coliseum, and was once at a football game in Miami that was reported to have between 70 and 80,000 people in attendance. My subjective judgment is that these events were tiny by comparison. I don’t want to belabor the point……okay, I DO want to belabor the point……This event was gigantic, inspiring, mammoth, gargantuan, and deserves to reported for what it was and for what it represents. I think it demonstrates that we the people really do have the power. We have the power to stop this war and we have the power to take back the power from these war mongering, greedy bastards that think they can literally get away with murder. As Rep. Barbara Lee said in her speech, and our experience has confirmed, Bush has awakened a sleeping giant.




The corporate media will continue to lie and distort in a futile attempt to make us believe that our numbers are still small and that Bush’s war is inevitable. But now there are hundreds of thousands (not tens of thousands) of eyewitnesses to their manipulative and deceitful tactics. We have seen firsthand the discrepancy between reality directly observed and the pathetic corporate media misrepresentation of that reality.




Those of us who were at the rallies in Washington and San Francisco represent millions more who could not attend, and our numbers are growing daily. Now is not the time for resignation and acceptance of the will of the Corporate Axis of Evildoers. They cannot be allowed to start wars without our consent merely because it serves their political and financial aims. Now is the time to write letters, march, and make your voices be heard.





The march on Washington almost certainly was attended by hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. And yet the only graphic image on the ABC news web site was of a single activist, the day after the main rally, being arrested on the White House lawn, surrounded by three or four policemen. As with the San Francisco march, not a single photo showing any vantage point from which one could get a sense of the size of the Washington crowd, appeared on the web sites of CNN, NBC, ABC, or CBS.


Early Sunday, stories appeared in which an underhanded attempt was made to create the impression that only 30,000 demonstrators had attended the DC rally. Here I directly quote the verbiage from the CNN story from their web site: “In Washington, police said 30,000 marched through the streets, part of a much larger crowd, that packed the east end of the National Mall and spilled onto the Capitol grounds.” Later in the same story: “Terrence Gainer, chief of the US Capitol Police said “about 30,000 people moved out on the march route,” a two mile trek from the huge rally.”





These people need to know that we are not stupid sheep. They need to know we will NOT tolerate this type of deliberate misinformation sold to us as “news.” I urge all of you to send letters to corporate “news” outlets, and let them know that you are aware of their distortions and do not approve. Do not be afraid to speak out. In fact, I believe our safety, and our children’s future depends on our doing so.


If we stand together, as we did in San Francisco and Washington, the Bush regime will not have any hope of silencing us, even with media complicity. We are millions, even tens of millions, and they are few. Let’s not allow Bush, or the corporate media to ‘misunderestimate’ us. Let’s continue this process of waking up, and intensify our activism, not only to prevent this war, but to restore constitutional rights, convert to renewable clean energy, reform our electoral system, prevent corporations from controlling public policy, provide our citizens with health care, jobs, decent housing, etc. These actions will provide us all with far more security than engaging in silent complicity while our corrupt “President” lets our economy go to hell, coddles corporate criminals, increases our dependency on oil, and starts wars that neither he, nor any of his friends or family will fight.


-  Paul Dean








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Paul Dean is an activist and bass player with the band Blusion. Paul lives in Sebastopol, CA.  Email:  All photos from San Francisco IndyMedia









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