Friday, April 23, 2010

Something Fishy in This Tea

The other night on Rachel Maddow, Gov. Ed Rendell of PA made an important point about media coverage of the Tea Party:

"...the conservatives have won this argument and they‘ve certainly won it over the last 16, 17 months—in the fact that the tea party gets tremendous—the tea parties get tremendous coverage. And think about it—week before the health care vote, they had a rally in Washington, got 1,000 people, maybe not even that. The tax day rally, the big rally to protest federal taxes got less than 1,500 people showing up, according to their own organizer. Other people thought it was in the 400 or 500 range.

Gosh, if I had a rally in Washington to have stronger laws to protect puppies, we‘d have 100,000 people without blinking. And yet, the media, including the so-called liberal and progressive media, have given the tea party-ites elevation in terms of the impact they‘re having on the national debate and discussion—way above what they deserve."

Earlier in the program, Rachel highlighted some other rallies, involving thousands of people protesting cuts in government services. Rendell added that it would be hard to find any coverage of those, let alone the kind of major coverage the Tea Partiers get.

It's even worse than that. There have been several major demos in Washington which involved many times the numbers the T.P.s get, that were completely ignored.

This Sunday there's going to be a major Earth Day event in Washington. There will be stars like Sting singing, so that part will probably pop up on the cable stations. But will it be taken seriously politically? As a statement about national and international priorities? Especially when there's this report that the climate and energy bill is going to drop off the Democrat's agenda.

On the other hand, if this report is true, and the Senate "bill would remove the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act, and the states’ authority to set tougher emissions standards than the federal government," then it isn't a bill worth passing.

If this event falls flat, it's partly the fault of enviro groups, who have kept this event a virtual secret, except for the Earth Day committee that is running it. And part of it is the familiarity--nobody is really wondering, what are these people so angry about? But a lot of it is the media refusing to cover anything that is politically to the left of the Tea Party in a politically significant way. We'll see what they do with this event on Sunday.

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