Friday, April 17, 2009

Media still doesn't get Tea Party Protests

My local paper did a very good article on the local Tea Party protests, but not all media are getting it. The majority of headlines I've seen--when I even see headlines--have read something like "Tea Party Protestors demonstrate against taxes".

That's both oversimplifying the issue and diverting it at the same time. I think most of the people at the protests were not protesting taxes as a concept. Most of us understand that there must be some means of providing for the national government to operate.

No, the issue is how BIG the national government should be allowed to get, and how far in debt they should be allowed to go. The issue is how both parties seem to have either lost all sense, or lost their sense of responsibility to their constituents. Perhaps both.

It's not just an anti-Obama movement, though contrary to campaign promises, he's certainly exacerbated the problem. And no, we don't forget the role the Bush administration played in this mess. We don't forget the role both parties played in this mess.

Don't think for a moment we're not suspicious of GOP attempts to embrace the Tea Party platform. While we'd love to think they've come to their collective senses we've been burned before. GOP, if you really mean it, stop talking and act. We're tired of talk. Give us action.

We're even more concerned, however, about the Democrats. They're the ones with both hands firmly on the wheel. That they continually dismiss, demean, and denigrate the protest shows that they just don't get it. That they can't stop talking about it shows that they do recognize it as a threat.

The funny thing is that, had this happened during the Bush administration, the Left would be lauding the movement as an amazing bi-partisanship grassroots effort in which every-day Americans exercise their First Amendment rights to speak truth to power. But there's been a changing of the guard, and now such efforts are painted as "despicable", "Shameful", and little more than a Republican front. (This from an Illinois congresswoman whose husband just plead guilty to tax violations and bank fraud.)

No, the Liberals just don't get it. Instead they use misdirection to obfuscate the message:
"It's despicable that right-wing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful political stunt," she added. "Not a single American household or business will be taxed at a higher rate this year. Made to look like a grassroots uprising, this is an Obama bashing party promoted by corporate interests, as well as Republican lobbyists and politicians."

What is particularly significant and honorable about this moment in history? Oh yes, that Obama-first-black-president thing. I have three words for the Left:


It's great we elected a black president. But since when does being black preclude him from criticism? Does he somehow deserve special treatment for being black? Is a black president somehow more sensitive to criticism? Is a black president incapable of doing wrong? That's the most racist implication I've heard in a long time, and it's coming from the LEFT!

No, black, white, or polka-dotted, Obama is the president now. He should be subject to criticism. To imply otherwise is borderline facist.

So what, then, is particularly shameful about Americans of all political persuasions coming together to express concern about the future? THAT is what the moment is all about, no matter how Democrats and media try to paint it otherwise. It's not about taxes this week or this year. It's about the enormous deficits that have been run and are being escalated by someone who pledged to end them.

Perhaps we should have had enough under Bush, but the fact remains, we've had enough. We've lost control of government, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to regain control again. That's what the protests are about. It's about a government--both sides--that no longer represents its people.

And, to a degree, it's about a mainstream media who have willfully become the government's propaganda arm. How else can you explain this outburst from CCN's Susan Roesgan at the Chicago Tea Party:
CNN’s Susan Roesgen, an alleged “reporter” covering the Chicago Tea Party, lashed out at the participants like an angry member. “What does this have to do with taxes?” she demanded of one attendee, as he held his 2-year old and spoke of personal liberty. “Don’t you realize you’re eligible for a tax credit,” she shouted at him. “Don’t you know that Illinois is getting stimulus money?”

Unable to get the participants to join her in support of Obama-nomics, Roesgen dismissed the event as “anti-government and anti-CNN, since this is highly promoted by right-wing, conservative network, Fox.”

I may be old fashioned, but my high school journalism teacher told us journalists were just supposed to get the facts and report them. They are not to render judgments, and they are not to attempt to persuade the subjects they are covering. They are to report the story, not become the story.

Add to this a government agency that preemptively tried to head off the protest by branding as right wing extremists pretty much anyone who supports certain issues:
The Department of Homeland Security released a pre-emptive “assessment report” on the dangers of “right-wing extremists” just a week before the tax protest rallies. According to DHS, these potentially include pro-lifers, supporters of border security and that notoriously unstable group - U.S. military veterans.

To conclude, I'll draw on Michael Graham of the Boston Herald:
And I can report that there were, in fact, quite a few vets at our Tea Party at Long Wharf. But other than their crazy notion that spending our kids into an $11 trillion hole is wrong, they didn’t appear to be unhinged.
Agree or disagree with the estimated 250,000 people who showed up at Tea Parties across the country, they deserve respect, not abuse. Declared suspect by their own government, targeted for insults from the “unbiased” media, they still showed up. They organized. They spoke out. And they did it without any free-speech bailouts.

It was true democracy in action. And that’s why liberals find it so scary.


Dan Stratton said...

I think what scares the Democrats so much is that they are used to owning demonstrations. The old adage of "liberals demonstrate, conservatives write letters" is being tossed out. I think they are nervous. They don't know what to do when the conservatives come out in number. That is their turf.

Ronaldo said...

I was going to go to the Tea Party here in Pocatello, but in the end I decided that rather than stand in the rain I'd rather spend the day with Kayleen and Johnny. I've never really been the public protest sort, perhaps because I've always been a big proponent of the Other Side of Free Speech - "You can say anything you want, but no one is obligated to listen."

So yeah, it's great that people are raising their voices against this insanity, but what's the next step. Does anyone have a plan?

Thom said...

I'm not sure how protests and "no one is obligated to listen" conflict.

Anyway, the protests themselves do make a point. It lets our local legislators know that their constituency is not happy. But yes, this will do very little good if by the next election we've all forgotten our frustation and don't vote for change.

Ronaldo said...

Well, what I mean by that conflict is that so many people assume that because they're protesting, someone HAS to listen to them and give a care about what they're saying. If you stage a protest, the world automatically has to change for you. Nope, sorry, unless you have an actual plan (something more than your indignation anyway), all your protesting is going to accomplish is annoy the people who didn't already agree with you.

Why yes, I AM bitter and cynical! Thank you for noticing. :) The bright side of being a cynic is that you like it when you're proven wrong.