Attention to the incident reached such a fevered pitch that Mark Brown , author
of the original Rocky Mountain News article, wrote another column to clarify the
incident and explain the decision-making process to write about the incident at
the Pepsi Center. In the article, Brown acknowledged the controversy and the
"deluge" of emails hand phone calls he'd received afterwards from both sides.
Brown made it clear that he did not see the "Bushleaguer " performance with the
detail that upset fans later reported to him. He explained how he spoke with
people in different parts of the building and estimated that 60 to 75 attendees
were leaving the concert as a result of Vedder's "Bushleaguer" performance also
acknowledging that the number of protesting fans amounted to less than one-half
of one percent of those in attendance.
Brown pointed out what he felt was evidence of the original article's balance:
it featured 142 words of quotes from upset fans compared to 164 words quoting
Vedder during the concert. Brown also answered many fan allegations about his
bias or lack of complete reporting and discussed how he and his editor came to
the decision to report the incident.
Brown was also careful to mention that the "impale" allegation originated in a
quote from a fan, not him. Brown closed his final article on the subject by sum-
marizing his reporting, and its justification, by saying, "It happened. We reported
it fairly. That's what a newspaper does."
The controversy compelled the band to react as well. In a statement issued by
the band through its label, Epic, Pearl Jam downplayed the reported incident.
"There were close to 12,000 people at the April 1
Denver show. It's possible
two dozen left during the encore, but it was not noticeable amongst the 11,976
who were applauding and enjoying the evening's music. It just made a better
headline to report otherwise. Ed's talk from the stage centered on the importance
of freedom of speech and the importance of supporting our soldiers, as well as an
expression of sadness over the public being made to feel as though the two senti-
ments can't occur simultaneously."
Vedder told Rolling Stone , "People try to marginalize anyone with an opinion
by saying, `What do these privileged people know about this?' I'm trying to be as
compassionate as I can. I'm not sure how being against the war all of a sudden
means I'm not supporting our troops. We're addressing the Bush administration,
not those who are putting their lives on the line. They have our support and our
In a June interview, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament reflected on the controversy.
"Who all of a sudden said you can't disagree with the politics of the people who