I wrote a columnist of my paper that serves millions of people about the Reason Rally before leaving for Washington. After attending and being in awe of an historic event I eagerly checked the Sunday edition to see what coverage we got. It turned out to be none. My son wrote me an email asking why he did not see any media coverage of this event that inspired his dad so much.
We have to write our newspapers that did not cover this story - the more letters the better to get the editors to take notice.
It is tough getting a letter published in my paper. I've had a few and I've had more turned down. I even had one they said they were going to feature in the Saturday edition about the pharmaceutical industry that got pulled because of nervousness about a lawsuit.
Anyway, I am proud to report to this group that this one did get published - with a picture even. I tried to keep it short and ended with a Canada angle.
i thought about this as well. it's disappointing that no major media outlets covered the event. Al Jazzerah was the largest outlet there. still, the thousands of articles prior to the event raised awareness of the cause, and the thousands of clips on Youtube will inspire many on-the-fence Atheists to convert. also, i have no doubt that many of those in attendance will become more involved in the cause after being a part of something so special. so yes, it really happened even if it wasn't on the news.
"Al Jazzerah was the largest outlet there."
Actually, I thought their reporting was the closest thing to good journalism there was...
No surprise there.
I think this one was for us. The bulk of the marketing for the rally really seemed to be directed at people who were already non-theist. With the exception of the last minute billboards in VA and MD, the only avenues I saw it promoted in were the traditional atheists interest ones: podcasts, youtube videos, online forums, etc. Honestly, if I weren't already seeking out secular discussions and topics, I would have heard nothing about the Rally. (I don't drive on that part of I64
But the theme really seemed to be consolidation of secular groups to be a unified force and a coming out party for atheists. This one was for us to experience comradery with fellow reasonable people. Which I think is extremely important given that most of us feel like we are pretty isolated and marginalized, only able to reach out to like minded people across the Internet or the occasional meetup group. And to those aims, I would say this was a resounding success.
With that in mind, there was no need to target a general audience, yet. And because of this, few people outside of they community knew about it. And the media as you know, reports only on what they think people care about. They don't think people care about atheists.
I really want to see more of these events. This really has to just be the start. Now that we know we can do it, I think the next one should be directed at the general populace. The media won't be able to ignore us if everyone's talking about it.
In the meantime, we need to live up to the spirit of the rally and all come out as atheists. Everyone knows and atheist. They just aren't aware of it.
Jason, I agree totally. It is nice to find like-minded people and I didn't until the internet where I could look up the books and authors on atheism. Yes, we shall indeed have more events ... one is going on in Spokane that I did not know about.
Thanks for the perspective, Jason.
I think 15,000 people is a significant amount of people and as Loren pointed out in his discussion post we had very high profile speakers. For the media to ignore this is not right.
It is a bit of rationalization to say this is only step one to consolidate the base so it is okay to be ignored. After spending time and money to attend this rally and being willing to be ignored if only 100 people show up - it is harder to be sloughed off when the number was 15,000 or higher (was it really over 20,000?).
I will not be able to make every rally. But if Jason is right and the base is consolidated for bigger better things then I am willing to grudgingly accept the spin that this is just a first step and my efforts were not wasted.
It wasn't my intention to imply it is OK to be ignored. Just that without the lead up press directed to the general public, I can see how we were. The park service said that our rally was equal in attendance to the Glenn Beck Rally. So why was ours such a secret? Because that's all he talked about for months leading up to it through the mouthpiece of Faux News. While were kinda "preaching to the choir" regarding its promotion.
Perhaps you are right though and it is a bit of a rationalization. I'm just trying to put a positive face on the disappointing that I shared when I didn't hear a peep from the media afterwards.
And as far as this being the first step, that is certainly my sincerest hope that it is.
I believe, although we might be curiosities to the "other groups", atheism is seen as undesirable.
What better way to kill something off than ignore it?