Protest

A New York Times reporter told me several years ago that major media outlets like the Times don’t like to cover political demonstrations at all because demonstrations are inherently “unrepresentative,” and therefore “unreliable” or “meaningless.” Nonetheless, some estimate that more people in the United States have taken to the streets in the last decade even than during the more notorious period of activism in the 1960s. Although the local street demonstration is perhaps a troubled form in our mass-mediated public sphere (its “representativeness” or veracity questioned; its energy and scale fully hidden or “disappeared” by the norms of media coverage), still it remains for many a terrifically important form of public expression—anti-abortion, anti-Muslim, and Tea Party demonstrations on the right, anti-war, anti-corporation, and Occupy demonstrations on the left, and Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart’s “Rally for Fear and/or Sanity” either somewhere in the middle or completely off the grid. This gallery validates no claims as to this or that group’s “representativeness,” but simply documents the passion, energy, ingenuity, humor, outrage, and wisdom that partisans of every stripe continue to bring to the streets, with or without the promise or benefit of Times coverage. mj