So which is it?

New York Times lead in its report of Condi Rice’s speech at Boston College:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered the commencement address on Monday at Boston College to an audience that included dozens of students and professors who stood, turned their backs and held up signs to protest the war in Iraq.

The AP’s lead:

A few students turned their backs but more stood to applaud as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received an honorary degree and addressed graduates at Boston College on Monday.

The Reuters lead:

Dozens of faculty and students turned their backs and waved protest signs when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received an honorary degree from Boston College on Monday. But the protest against Rice, a central player in President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy, was smaller than had been expected and those among the 25,000 crowd who gave her a standing ovation outnumbered those who sat in silence.

  • The all agree on the number. The AP does say “About 50 students stood with their backs toward the stage as Rice was introduced to give her commencement speech, but they were quickly drowned out by a standing ovation…” later in the story. 50 = dozens… not really “a few.”

  • a youtube video would resolve this debate

  • section9

    I’ve seen the video. The actual number of demonstrators was about 50, pathetically small given the buildup that the demonstrators had hoped.

  • Reuters says the protest was, “smaller than expected”.

    Expected by whom?

    What they mean is smaller than they hoped for.

  • a simple, yet powerful post, jeff. the power of language does indeed drive us all…

  • mark slater

    my youngest brother graduated and i attended – she received a standing O on entering – go to my blog at and you will see the professors standing with their signs as she departs. Look in the background at the graduating class – how many signs? you may want to click on the picture to blow it up to see the detail.

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  • Menlo Bob

    Early reports on anti-Bush administration stories will nearly always prove misleading. Signal to noise discrepancies are built into the hardware.