If It Isn't On Page A1 Of The Washington Post It Didn't Happen
The spin cycle came out in force over the weekend, as a protest of conservatives on the Washington Mall either attracted 2 million people or 60,000, depending on whether or not you like to lie. This included such delights as a photo from a Promise Keepers rally in 1997 being passed off as one from Saturday.
Despite the falsehoods, the spin did its job, as it landed the teabaggers on Page One, a bit of a contrast to other protest rallies in the recent past.
Behold the media's glaring double standard. Today, the Post puts the "tens of thousands" of Obama-hating tea bagger protesters on A1; makes it the lead story as a matter of fact.
Back in 2002, when more than 100,000 anti-war protesters gathered in the nation's capitol to protest the Bush administration, the same WashPost did its best to ignore them:
The Washington Post put the story not on the front page, but in the Metro section with, as the paper's ombudsman later lamented, "a couple of ho-hum photographs that captured the protest's fringe elements."
This simply proves again that when right-wing (and mostly white) conservatives get angry, it's big news. When liberals get angry, it's just annoying.
I would add that the anti-war protestors that day in Washington were buttressed by millions more around the nation and the world leading up to the invasion of Iraq, but still...nothing.
60 million Americans voted against Barack Obama in 2008. Of that number at least half viscerally hated him, as you could see from the various McCain/Palin rallies during the campaign. a small tranche of those 30 million-plus people got so worked up that they organized and brought out people to a rally in the capital. That's good news for the newfound ease of organizing thanks to the Internet, but not necessarily descriptive of the level of sentiment over Barack Obama in the country. These are the same people who hated him before the election, and they hate him just as much now, despite his Administration not having done very much of anything to inspire such hatred. Nobody's paid more in taxes, a Bush recession headed to depression has stalled. This is the same gang who would have been out on the Mall if Obama had provided $100,000 and a new puppy dog for every family (socialist puppy dogs!).
I like a protests as much as the next guy, which is to say, a little bit as long as the drum circle is kept to a minimum. However, although imperfect, the best indicator of support, and even intensity of support, on the issues facing the country remains polling. And the latest poll on health care has a number of contradictory points, with alternating support for a public option and support for a bill without one, as well as support for bipartisanship with an acknowledgment that Republicans have no interest in being bipartisan. The large mass of people seem to want their government to come up with this change in the health care market, which they can assess after the fact. Beyond that lies confusion. And so privileging the work of a lot of angry white men rather than offering a complete picture of public opinion is really a form of deception from the Washington Post.
...The teabaggers are a classy lot, too.