Russert repeated false Knight Ridder claim that Cindy Sheehan "protested outside [Hillary] Clinton's New York office"


On the September 25 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert suggested that Cindy Sheehan's anti-war activism might negatively affect a potential 2008 presidential campaign by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). In doing so, Russert read an excerpt of a Knight Ridder article that reported that "anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan protested outside Clinton's New York office" -- despite the fact that the protest in question occurred at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, more than seven miles from Clinton's nearest office.

Sheehan's September 18 protest was widely reported in news outlets including The New York Times, Reuters, and The New York Sun, all of which placed the event in Brooklyn. The New York Sun reported that the protest took place at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. NY1, a New York-based 24-hour television news channel, also reported that the protest took place at the church -- and aired video of Sheehan speaking there.

But on September 22, four days after Sheehan's comments, Knight Ridder reported that Sheehan had "protested outside Clinton's New York office." The rest of the Knight Ridder account is consistent with other news reports: It used commonly reported quotes by Sheehan, indicated the same audience approval, and contained crowd estimates that were consistent with, if not identical to, other reports -- about 500 people, according the Times and Knight Ridder; roughly 300 according to the Sun.

Though it seems clear that the news service was describing the same event that occurred at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Knight Ridder inexplicably placed it "outside Clinton's New York office." Clinton's New York office is located on Third Avenue in Manhattan, some 7.5 miles by car from the church.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Cindy Sheehan Protests
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