"At 11 a.m., Thursday, March 20, I found myself at the corner of Market and Beale streets, looking at the startling emptiness of the Financial District." (See "The days SF stood still," [03/26/03]).
That's where I was five years ago. You remember where you were, too: it was one of those moments in time that nobody forgets. Shock and Awe lit up the sky over Iraq, President George W. Bush announced the glorious military victory that was on the way, and the politicians even the Democrats were so busy praising the troops in the field that nobody stopped to ask how this was all going to end.
As we report this week, the major newspapers didn't, either. In fact, in a survey by Editor and Publisher magazine, more than 75 percent of the papers supported Bush's arguments for war. The airwaves were filled with generals and admirals talking up the invasion; the antiwar movement was marginalized.
And while the mainstream media were waving flags and cheering, the alternative press was presenting the other side of the issue. "Bush's war represents a dangerous turning point for the United States," we wrote on March 26, 2003.
I sent out an e-mail to my colleagues in the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies this week asking how many of the weeklies were strongly against the war, and the answers started pouring in immediately. Tucson Weekly. San Diego City Beat. Boulder Weekly. Monterey Coast Weekly. Boston's The Phoenix. The North Coast Journal. Random Lengths. The Memphis Flyer. Rochester City Newspaper. Creative Loafing. And that's just a few of the names on the list.
Overall, the independent and alternative media were in the vanguard, providing the information that the big outfits wouldn't.