Sunday, October 10, 2010

Media Being Coached In How to Cover the Tea Party...BY the Tea Party

Dana Loesch tweeted the following yesterday:

A google search didn't tell me much about the Midwest Media Institute, but Christopher Ave is the Political Editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, so clearly the event had some high-level people in the media in attendance.

I think an important point of comparison in media coverage for the tea party is the anti-war movement that arose in response to the U.S. decision to invade Iraq. The initial rallies for the anti-war movement drew hundreds of thousands of people in Washington D.C., New York, and San Francisco. They also were in coordination will rallies across the world that drew tens of millions of people. And, in addition to these huge rallies, there was a huge amount of local organizing and activism that took place. Yet despite the fact that this movement drew far more people than the tea party, and despite the fact that the protesters' skepticism about Bush's rationale for war was completely vindicated, the anti-war movement received nowhere near the same level of media coverage as the recent tea parties.

But more to the point, I'd be willing to bet money that there were very few "media panels" that invited members of the peace movement to come coach journalists in how they are supposed to cover the movement. Yet, according to the tweets of Loesch, this is exactly what we have in the case of the tea party. As with most issues, a cursory glance at the facts completely undermines the ridiculous claims of a "liberal media." And note that even while being invited to come tell journalists how they should cover the tea party movement, Dana Loesch is still whining about how unfairly they are treated.

So why does the Right still whine about a "liberal media" and why do journalists continually bend over backwards to pander to the Right? The reason for the whining is obvious: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. By continuously complaining, no matter how favorable the coverage, the Right has successfully gamed the system such that their ideology is consistently expressed better in the mainstream media than that of the Left. As for the media, it's true of most of them that they're "socially liberal," meaning that they're not bigots against the LGBT community, that they're not religious fanatics, and that they probably don't think that science and/or higher education are evil liberal conspiracies. But because most of the media outlets are ultimately owned by wealthy Republicans, and because many of the journalists overcompensate in trying to make up for their social liberalism, we have a system where the media goes out of their way to provide positive coverage to the Right but not to the Left. Fringe views from the Right are accepted into the mainstream discourse: views to the Left of center are regularly excluded from discourse.

1 comment:

  1. Of course the media has to be coached on how to cover the Teajadhists. Forget that the media covers every rally they have. Never mind that they have their own local and national cable media promoting every step they take. They live by the claim that they are a "grass roots" movement, but the liberal media never reports on the backing by the Koch brothers or other groups behind the scenes. They have a daily presence in the national media by the Becks, Limbaughs, Malkins, and others.

    They want a return to "what the founding fathers intended" but scream "activist judges" whenever a legal decision is rendered and they disagree with the outcome. They want the Constitution to be strictly adhered to, but want parts of it repealed.

    They decry a government report on militias taking it as a personal insult. They remain silent when one of their own is arrested for planning a murder spree and cites Glenn Beck as a hero. They lionize a fake journalist who edits videotapes to bring down an organization.

    After all of this and even more, I can understand why they want to "coach" the media on coverage. It's easier when the media is in bed with your agenda.