Protesters become backdrop

Dan Springer, newsman from Fox
Dan Springer, newsman from Fox's Channel 13 in Seattle visited South Whidbey on Wednesday using protesters at Bayview for his on-the-scene background shot.
— image credit: Gayle Saran

South Whidbey protesters waving signs carrying anti-war messages were the backdrop for a Fox news broadcast that aired Thursday on Channel 13.

The protests, which have grown since starting with a small group of about a half- dozen people in August, drew the attention of Dan Springer, a reporter for Seattle television station KCPQ. Springer and a cameraman filmed the protesters Wednesday morning, one of two mornings each week protesters picket at the Bayview Park & Ride lot on Highway 525.

Most of the protesters were packing their signs into cars and leaving by the time the tardy Fox crew showed up. Springer prevailed on most of the 35 people who had been there since 8:30 a.m. to come back out to provide the scenery behind his on-air reporting.

The focus of Springer's story was the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat between incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen and Republican Norma Smith. He used the protesters as background while he commented on the two candidates' views on a possible war in Iraq.

Larsen voted against a resolution giving President Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq.

In his comments, Springer wondered whether Larsen's vote with the liberals of his party would give his opponent ammunition for her campaign. Smith characterized Larsen as "vehemently against the war." The filming and Springer's comments took about 15 minutes.

Judging by the protesters, Larsen's stand was more popular Wednesday morning than the pro-war stance Smith has taken. The number of people protesting the action against Iraq has grown from just a few to over 30. A number of the protesters said they were glad for the television coverage, but said they would have been there even without the camera. Catching the attention of the general public is the goal of the protesters, who are at that Park & Ride lot each Wednesday and Saturday.

Several said that although the resolution to wage war against Iraq passed in Congress, keeping the anti-war movement alive will affect the administration's actions.

"There are people sitting on the fence," said Langley resident and protester Peter Bennett. "They don't know what to think. Seeing us out here makes others question what is going on with the administration. Congress will pay attention to the general public."

Also protesting was Grethe Cammemeyer of Langley, who did unofficial surveys of people driving by showing support.

"The numbers have grown," said the former Army colonel. "More people honk and wave and give a thumbs-up than respond in a negative manner. It is time for us to stop killing our children and theirs."

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