Criticism and correction on numbers of protesters in Holland

by Victor Davis Hanson

Private Papers

Recently, in response to “Remembering World War II,” readers from the Netherlands wrote to suggest that my reference to “thousands” of Dutch protesting President Bush’s arrival in Holland was in error, and contradicted their own first-hand observations, two of which estimated somewhat more than 100 protestors. For statements of fact, I try to use two sources; in this case I relied on a CNN account with a Maastricht dateline of May 7, headlined “Thousands Protest Bush Dutch Visit” (

This CNN story was apparently taken from an Associated Press account of May 7 from Maastricht. Perhaps the Dutch police can issue a formal count of the demonstrators that might put the record straight and allow AP/CNN to clarify their May 7th accounts, which started out in the first paragraph with:

Thousands of anti-war activists protested U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit to the Netherlands on Saturday, saying the man who started the Iraq war should not pay tribute to those who died in World War II for Dutch freedom.

If the story turns out to be misleading or inaccurate, in the future I will not rely on either Associated Press or CNN as reliable sources, in the manner that we can no longer depend on The New York Times (Jayson Blair), CBS News (the Dan Rather memos), or apparently most recently Newsweek Magazine (the Koran rumor story).

©2005 Victor Davis Hanson

Share This