TV's Tea Party Travesty
Table of Contents:
- Executive Summary
- Giving Short Shrift to the Tea Party Rallies
- "The Idea Really Hasn't Caught On"
- Scorning the Tea Parties as Wacky, Extremist and Racist
- The Tea Party: Liberals' Secret Weapon?
- More Tea Party Trashing
- Smearing With a Broad Brush
- Conclusion: Ignoring and Deploring the Tea Party
Conclusion: Ignoring and Deploring the Tea Party
In just one year, the Tea Party movement has wielded incredible influence on American politics. The Tea Party succeeded in putting runaway government spending at the center of our national political discussion. The pressure the movement brought to bear at the grassroots level put liberals on the defensive for much of the health care debate, and nearly succeeded in torpedoing the entire scheme in spite of Democrats’ overwhelming congressional majorities. In April 2009, the Tea Party rallied in the streets against the policies of a popular new President; by April 2010, more Americans disapproved than approved of President Obama’s job performance.
Yet, amazingly, the networks paid only slight attention to this movement as it was gathering momentum in 2009. As polls showed the public rallied to the Tea Party’s views on the issues, the networks amplified the liberal establishment that deplored the crowds in the street.
While the broadcast networks seldom devolved into the juvenile name-calling and open hostility evident at the liberal cable news networks, their coverage of the Tea Party’s first year reflected a similar mindset of elitist condescension and dismissiveness. Given how the networks have provided fawning coverage and helpful publicity to far-less consequential liberal protest movements, their negative treatment of the Tea Party is a glaring example of a media double standard. Rather than objectively document the rise and impact of this important grassroots movement, the “news” networks instead chose to first ignore, and then deplore, the citizen army mobilizing against the unpopular policies of a liberal President and Congress.