BOB GARFIELD: From WNYC in New York this is NPR's On the Media. I'm Bob Garfield. BROOKE GLADSTONE: And I'm Brooke Gladstone. As you know there was a peace rally heard round the world last weekend, the first protest against the looming war in Iraq that has garnered serious media attention. Editor & Publisher has been keeping tabs on the coverage of the anti-war movement since last October. Editor Greg Mitchell says the shift is unmistakable. GREG MITCHELL: Last fall, after the first round of anti-war protests we noted very small coverage. The coverage that there was was buried in the back of newspapers, sometimes was dismissive, and often the language was simply depicting protesters as "leftovers from the '60s" or "ragged bands of ex-socialists." BROOKE GLADSTONE: So this time around, once again you surveyed the newspapers all over the country after the rallies and, and what did you find? GREG MITCHELL:Well it was interesting that both in cities that hosted large rallies, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco and New York, and cities that didn't have large rallies or any rallies at all, they still almost invariably put the demonstrations on the front page. The European demonstrations, wrap ups of the U.S. demonstrations. And then of course if they had local rallies, like in New York, they gave it even more attention. We saw more editorials that responded to the protests and wrote about them, often in a, in a favorable way. So I think there's been quite a shift-- you know, partly because the numbers are higher, or it's because the protesters are a more diverse group, and it may be because the--skepticism about the war is more general now and the-- so it's really a combination of matters that may be bringing this to the fore. BROOKE GLADSTONE:Was the overall shift in coverage representative do you think of a real shift in public opinion -- a real shift in the anti-war movement's tactics or was the media simply making up for the bad coverage that was so criticized after October's rallies? GREG MITCHELL: Well what's interesting is that another thing Editor & Publisher has done is starting over a month ago we started doing a survey of editorial opinions, and what surprised us right from the start was that we found that about two-thirds of the top 50 newspapers in the country, in their editorial pages, were expressing many doubts about the war, and this has pretty much continued to this day. And so it seemed like this is one of the rare cases where-- newspaper editorials have been ahead of the reporters or even ahead of the "street." The opinion polls now reflect that many people share that view, but-- newspaper editorials in some ways were out front, and it's a very rare thing. So I think-- the editorial positions may be encouraging the news reporters as well to look more deeply at the anti-war side. BROOKE GLADSTONE: What papers got failing grades this time around? GREG MITCHELL:Well, some of the New York papers -- I mean in some ways it's predictable I suppose -- some of the more conservative papers -- I mean the New York Post, the New York Daily News - both played up the disturbances and-- horses getting hurt and police and so forth. BROOKE GLADSTONE: Played them up or played them appropriately? GREG MITCHELL:Well, there really wasn't that much of it, considering the size of the crowd. You know--certain pa-- the Wall Street Journal in fact said that the-- dissent itself was another reason to go to war, because we had to show that we wouldn't be swayed by such things. BROOKE GLADSTONE:I understand that the next big anti-war action will be a "virtual march on Washington" in which protesters will flood the White House and Congress with e-mails and messages. That will be darn hard to cover, won't it! GREG MITCHELL: [LAUGHS] Yeah, I don't have a feeling that's going to go all that well, just because it's--you get into a numbers game of what, what's reported and-- it's-- the street has dramatic appeal, it has visual appeal and, and it's --really shows political will to, to go out in cold weather or whatever the circumstances and make that statement as opposed to just sending an e-mail. BROOKE GLADSTONE: Well thank you very much. GREG MITCHELL: Thank you.