Photo by HL Duncan – Walk For Life West Coast 2012
BACKGROUND FOR AN INTERESTING STORY
I attended the 2013 West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco just this last January 26. The crowd was estimated at over 50,000 people, about 25% higher than last year’s 40,000. The organizers prefer a conservative estimate in order not to be accused of hyperbole. Too many to count for me. I was like one water drop in the midst (or mist) of this river of people, the same as last year. As we walked down the main downtown street, Market Street, from the Civic Center to the Ferry Building, I was looking for signs of media coverage. The San Francisco Bay Area has at least 25 television stations.
I have been told that the mainstream news media likes to ignore public activity that is not violent or an acceptable cause. Hard to believe, not the Fourth Estate! I grew up around an uncle who was a newspaper reporter. He took me with him a few times doing his job. The best day was the day he reported about a now historic, world famous person, the story my family asks me to tell when my uncle needs to be remembered out loud. (I’ll save that for another time, it is a Catholic story but mostly it is not.) I don’t remember my uncle being drawn to violence in order to savor it, or being unaware that opposing views existed. He specialized in feature stories, not hard news that has a rigid prescription. He did the kind of thing I am writing now, but not exactly, as you will learn.
WHAT I THOUGHT I SAW
All I saw this year was a lone parked van from the CBS affiliate. I think I saw their cameraman, but, he could have also been another EWTN cameraman. They could also have been waiting for AAA roadside assistance for all I know. Last year, as has been reported by the organization, only one television station covered the event besides EWTN Catholic television and Catholic radio. I saw local Channel 7 ABC there, but, I thought I saw another too, so I investigated.
THE STORY I WAS TOLD
I have a friend, who has a friend, who has pro-life sympathies, who works for a television station that shall be nameless. He was hired two years previously and then given the Fact Checking desk because they put all new employees there until they can prove that they can find matching facts for what everyone knows is the truth. The station has a News Director that managed to break the glass ceiling and is now recognized as a force in the news game. Her name is Lois Grant, her employees just call her “Lo”, except those who are very nervous about their jobs. “Lo” has a way of intimidating people. This got her to the top and sometimes causes problems, like this one.
A new on-camera talent was starting at the station. His name was Larry Lithe. Lois had hired him the previous evening and was planning a welcome party to introduce him later that day. He was hired because he spoke English (real good) and had the most beautiful hair. Since San Francisco is a cosmopolitan city with a large Chinese population she thought that a Chinese wok would be a nice welcoming gift to introduce him to the city. Lois bought the gift personally and left it in the break room so someone could wrap it later.
THE PROBLEM BEGAN
A reporter who always gets the last assignments, Mary (no one can remember her last name), was eating donuts in the break room waiting for an assignment from Lois when Larry arrived at the office. The party wasn’t until later, so Lois, wanting to hide the unwrapped gift, yelled (softer than usual) from her office at the idol reporter, “Mary, Go cover the wok for Lithe!”
Since “Lo” never gave an order twice, at least not to current employees, Mary set her camera and sound crew to work right away to “cover” the thing her boss told her to cover. After an intensive search of their usual sources of information the crew discovered that something was indeed going on downtown, something about walking and life, probably health nuts. Of course they would call it a “Wok for Life.” So, that’s how the crew I saw, which no one else seemed to see, happened to be on Market Street as I walked by that day at the 2012 West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco. Perhaps.
The rest of the story went something like this, according to the friendly source. Mary and her crew reported to the station that there was not much to say, just a bunch of people crowding the street carrying signs, not as exciting as the “Occupy” protests that had recently occurred or even rush hour with it’s “on edge” quality. When Lois heard about this story she flew into a rage. “Crowded streets! What kind of a story is that? This is a major metropolitan area, that is a way of life! Get those idiots back here.”
So, the idea hit hard! Next year we change the name! The “Wok For Life West Coast” and promote it early as, “The Ultimate San Francisco Experience – A Crowd With A Cause”.
© Howard Duncan. All Rights Reserved.