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When the Right Protests, It Must Be Wrong

For eight years in America, protest was in and all the cool kids did it. We had flamboyantly dressed Code Pinkers demonstrating at conventions and in sessions of Congress, calling Marine recruiters “traitors” and protesting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Then there were the crazies from Acorn stalking Wall Street executives at their homes. And anti-war lefty Cindy Sheehan got so much news coverage from the major networks and top newspapers that they practically had to create a bureau to handle her antics.

Through it all, the left whined that President George Bush was a fascist – with “BusHitler” a common term among the foam-at-mouth Birkenstock set. (Google Bush and Hitler and you’ll get more than 1 million hits including a bunch of Photoshopped images of Bush in a Nazi uniform with a Hitler mustache.) We were supposed to bear with it. Dissent was patriotic we were told. Those hate-spewing anti-war activists really loved our soldiers – especially when they were mocking the war right outside a veteran’s hospital. And the endless stream of Nazi comparisons were just free speech, after all.

That all happened before January 20, when the left, along with their supporters in the news media, decided protest and dissent were suddenly unpatriotic. Welcome to hypocrisy, the millennial edition. Now everything said or done in those eight years is forgotten. America has a blank slate to build hope and change under Obama, so we are told.

Don’t dare criticize him, knock his policies or voice your opinion. Do it and you are called “mobs” or racist by the media and treated as scary forces of hate reminiscent of Waco, the Klan or Nazis. (Cue Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for one of the most idiotic statements of this or any century by linking protesters to Nazis. And she followed that by saying they’re also “un-American.”)

Americans are not supposed to protest the incredible overreach of government. Congress can pass a $787 billion stimulus bill and not even read it, but the people they work for, well, can sit down and shut up.

The president can seize control of the auto companies and give a huge stake in ownership to his union supporters, but challenge that and you are somehow standing in the way of Obama fixing the economy.

Next, voters are supposed to watch as the Ego-in-Chief tries to destroy the world’s best health care system so he and his buddies can run that too. Raise a stink and you get union thugs pushing you around at town hall meetings, or just outright beating you up. And the news media thinks the protesters are to blame, calling their rallies “nasty” or “unruly.”

In one of the most humorous asides to the whole battle, union officials complained they were being intimidated. You got that right. The unions, which are providing big-body, no-brain thugs to bully conservatives, are upset that people don’t take kindly to such intimidation.

In a Huffington Post story that read like it was satire from The Onion, “officials at the Service Employees International Union continued to be deluged with emails and phone calls with ominous undertones.” Maybe some terrified union types can dig up Jimmy Hoffa and ask him about true intimidation.

Conservatives can’t even organize without their efforts being called “Astroturf,” or phony grassroots, as if MoveOn.org was somehow pure and different. And the protests get ever more hyperbolic treatment by the media every day. MSNBC even links them to what host Rachel Maddow called “the Brooks Brothers riot from Florida 2000” when conservatives protested the Florida recount.

That has become the media image of dangerous protest – a bunch of policy wonks chanting loudly. Scary.

Actual left-wing violence and vandalism get no attention at all. Reuters reported Aug. 6 that animal rights activists burned “down the holiday home of Novartis Chief Executive Daniel Vasella.” Previously, the animal rights psychopaths desecrated Vasella’s parents’ grave “and an urn containing the ashes of his mother [was] stolen.”

And no, you didn’t see this monstrous attack on the evening news or pretty much anywhere else. It didn’t involve Michael Jackson or demonizing conservatives. So it didn’t fit the news agenda.

Jeff Stier, associate director of the American Council on Science and Health, knocked the media for the news blackout. “Where are the breaking news alerts?” he asked. “When there is even a hypothetical risk about some new technology – it makes headlines. But when anti-technology activists actually do harm, they get a free ride.”

Stier is too kind. The media are our storytellers. They decide what news we hear and what we don’t and things that make the left look like the loons they are just don’t sit well with the media establishment. So radical left-wing protesters can vandalize, terrorize or intimidate all they want. It’s OK, they’re on the same side.

I protest, at least for now while it’s still allowed.

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum and he can be seen each Thursday on Foxnews.com’s “Strategy Room.”