Though Bluestem Prairie has been critical of the Rochester Post Bulletin’s coverage of this year’s National Socialist rallies in Austin, the reporter and editor nail it when covering the latest of Sam Johnson’s recruitment drive for the neo-Nazi organization.
On guard for a possible clash with counter-protesters against a neo-Nazi group in Austin, police and firefighters outnumbered those who attended Saturday’s downtown rally.
Two members of the National Socialist Movement Southern Minnesota branch held a banner near the George Washington statue on Main Street while Austin member Samuel Johnson delivered an hour-long speech on the dangers of illegal immigration.
His audience consisted of two people who sat quietly across the street and did not want to be named.
Others who heard the talk included 13 uniformed police officers, including chief Paul Philipp, Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi and four firefighters, including chief Dan Wilson. The firefighters manned a large fire hose.
Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm, who observed the event from the courthouse roof with a few other officials, was happy with the result.
“I think it is great,” he said. “Nobody showed up. It couldn’t be better.”
The paper clearly identifies the event as what it is: anti-immigration. The National Socialist Movement is identified as a neo-Nazi group.
Some of the readers commenting are objecting to the “anti-immigration” label, though the editor answered one of them:
Posted on 11/8/2009 at 2:42:22 PM
I didn’t know there were anti-immigration people out there.
Do you mean anti-ILLEGAL
No, Atilla. The group opposes immigration. From their party platform paper: “All non-White immigration must be prevented.”
The Austin Herald’s coverage is less satisfactory in Latest rally attracts little opposition:
It was a different story this time.
Less than a month after the last rally included three arrests and mace, Austin resident Samuel Johnson held another illegal immigration protest Saturday with less opposition.
Johnson, a member of the National Socialist Movement, stood in an area near the Law Enforcement Center that was sectioned off with barricades and police tape and began his message at about 2 p.m., with a handful of supporters around him.
Johnson and at least two of the people with him wore black shirts that featured a swastika on the arm, just like they did at the October rally that was met with strong opposition.
The Herald may call attention to the swastika, but readers still aren’t provided the background on the group itself, while the focus is on last month’s opposition. Nor do readers find an accounting of the audience numbers. The paper can do better.
The readers, judging by the comments, seem to “get it” better than some of those commenting on the Rochester site.
The NSM also rallied in Phoenix. Alternet takes a look at that event in Neo-Nazis Protest Immigration in Phoenix, Get Out-shouted by Reasonable People Who Came to Protest Them.