I’m Feeling…

Political, so feel free to not go past the cut, especially since, in true Rob style, it’s longish.

So a number of people have posted an article about the difference of reaction had the Tea Parties consisted primarily of African-Americans.

I find that article interesting because of its partisan nature and I am getting more and more irritated by the desire to demonize Tea Parties so I’m here to point out a few other differences.

One, imagine the outcry if a sexual slur such as Teabagging were used as a reference to a GLBT protest, an African-American protest, or a pro-abortion rally. Anyone who said that would rightly be castigated, and if they were in the professional media, should and might very well lose their job.

Rather than widely castigating any who use the term, I have heard it used in any number of places, including professional media such as Keith Olbermann. No one should get away with this sort of comment, even, actually especially, if we agree with their politics.

Two, the vast majority of incidents that occurred at any Tea Party were either created or over-emphasized in order to create headlines.

This is not to say that there are not people at the Tea Parties who don’t deserve to be castigated for their actions. There have been. I urge you, however, to double-check to see if the initial reports can be verified. A number of the “incidents” have not been verified, despite the huge number of cameras that is inherently at any protest these.

Please note that there are routinely people who deserve to be castigated for their actions at protests. I have personally witnessed anti-war ralliers refer to Bush as Hitler, throw stones at people who disagree, and in general act rudely to passers-by. We should not judge all people who protested our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan by these people, and neither should we judge all Tea Partiers by their lunatic fringe.

Three, as far as I have seen, there has not been an actual riot at any Tea Party. In fact, I’m not sure there’s been a positive, verified example of violence at a Tea Party from those supporting the rally, though if you know of such an instance, feel free to post the reference. Given the millions of people, at this point, who have participated in a Tea Party that seems pretty peaceful to me and hardly fitting the stereotype that permeates the professional media.

Yet, there has already been violence with throwing of a variety of things at police officers in Arizona in response to its new immigration law. I’ve seen three videos, and I suspect there are more. Nevertheless, have you heard about this incident yet in the national media? I guarantee you if there was anything like this at a Tea Party it would have been filmed and every news outlet would be talking about it.

This is not really to open up the discussion on the immigration law, merely to point out differences. I’m saying that the violence that is reported from a protest is directly related to whether the media approves of the protest or not.

The main point about Tea Parties is that media coverage of the Tea Parties has been extremely biased. The vast majority of people at Tea Parties have been those seeking a smaller government and worried about the future of the country, not because they are bigots. The demographics have included a much wider cross-section of America than has been reported, including a goodly number of African-Americans, various ethnic-Americans, and a large number of members of the GLBT community.

The real point of this rant is not to try and change your opinion of the politics here. I don’t really care if you’re Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, or anything else about your demographics or economic situation. What I care about is that there’s a disparity in how the media is filtering their coverage.

What I want is for everyone to be more aware of their sources and their inherent biases.

This is not something I worry about with most blogs, because nearly every writer on a blog explains their preferences and biases. Very few claim to be fully objective so we can shade our understanding of what they say. However, professional journalists are theoretically supposed to be above the fray, and they have sunk almost entirely into the pigsty of yellow journalism to shape our opinions to fit their own agendas while claiming to be objective.

And thus what we have shaping our political opinions can be characterized by the frightening acronym GIGO: Garbage In Garbage Out.

25 thoughts on “I’m Feeling…”

  1. See… I don’t care if the teabaggers protest. That is what the first ammendment was designed for. I Care when their protests break laws though, and they throw a fit about paying their fines…

    Wichita had a protest recently. The tea baggers parked in private parkinglots, that were Clearly posted as being private parking for the government employees of the building the lot served. They were TOLD it was private parking, but parked there anyway.

    They did not have the grace to pay their ticket. They threw a large fuss, blackmailing the city politically into waiving their tickets.

    I may not agree with their politics, I don’t have to. I CAN disagree with things like this however.

    1. I get your point, but I’m sorry that you’ve chosen to phrase your response as you have.

      I’m very disappointed in you for using the term teabagger. I said no one should use such terms, and even though I am your friend and I like you, I really am disappointed in you.

      Whatever wrongs they may or may not have done in regards to parking, that still does not justify you calling them by such a derogatory term.

      1. Um… THEY used the term! They used the term Tea Party Protest. A tea party is made up of tea bags, filled with tea. Quite frankly, They lost all respect I had for their idealogy today when I saw in the paper that the city caved on their parking tickets.

        I HATE bullies, and that is all this (local?) group has turned out to be. They are bullies with an agenda, which I cannot stomache any more.

        I have enough trouble with some of the far right things I have been reading, thanks to a good friend who is a very devoted concervative (when it suits her) Republican.

        I won’t claim the far left democrats are right, but remember, two wrongs don’t make right. When a group BREAKS LAWS then they have no ground any more to claim moral high ground. Not even if their opponents do so too.

        1. I’m not defending them in terms of the ticketing issue, I’m saying that the term teabagger is derogatory.

          Just because they used the term Tea Party to refer to the Boston Tea Party does not allow one to then extend that to a term that revolves around crude sexual humor.

          1. How is it sexual? I am obviously behind the times in slang, or ahead of them (based on having a teen) but I am not familiar with that as a sexual thing.

          2. Ah, well, then that makes a difference here 🙂

            Go type teabagging into the Urban Dictionary, and I think you’ll understand why it’s derogatory 🙂

          3. But really, many of the middle aged (aka not young) folks in this country (Like me) likely haven’t any clue about the meaning, and probably that’s originally why it started being used, and why many equally clueless folks keep using it.

            The media outlets likely DO know the sexual reference, and are doing it to make a subtle (or not so subtle) dig at the participants of the rallies.

          4. The term “tea-bagging” has been around since the late 1980’s.
            First heard it then from comedians (and I use that term loosely) like Pauly Shore, Sam Kinison and Andrew Dice Clay.

          5. I only heard it used after I went into the military.
            ‘Couse, I heard a lot of terms that don’t come into general use there as well.

          6. And I was obviously already too old and un-hip to have run across it. I still don’t know what it means, because I haven’t bothered to check urbandictionary.com, but it was news to me that it was a sexual term.

          7. Trust him.

            Teabagging is a particular sexual act.

            I thought it was hysterically funny when the initial Tea Party Folks used the term for themselves.

            Then they found out…

  2. I agree. There was a time when networks did not have to advertise that they’re “Fair and Balanced.” Whatever happened to that?

    (Even when I was taking my pre-journalism classes, they never pressured us to be fair and balanced in our reporting. I was not amused.)

      1. At one point, journalism was just the facts, without hardly any spin. There’s been a marked change in journalism of fifty years ago and today. Yes, you’re right with the networks leaning one way or the other, and the same is also true of the printed page, however, there are journalists who were held up as bastions of balance.

        And that’s the way it [was].

          1. That’s the root of my post. The spin is getting worse and we have a need to double-check the media because they have jumped the shark.

          2. I think by this point they may have jumped the shark, done a quad somersault, hit the jukebox, and landed back on the waterskis. Thrown in an “aaaay!” for good measure.

  3. “Professional” media has stopped doing their job – some time ago.
    Citizen journalists, at least, have a venue to make up the difference. Yet, they lack the credentials, and often enough the professionalism exemplified by great journalists like Edward R Murrow and Walter Cronkite. Welcome to the flux.

    On other points, I caught a ‘news’ program last evening that referred to a certain word used in a Congressional Hearing yesterday as “the S-bomb”. The immaturity and foolishness inherent by using that description just made me shake my head. Just lame. And this ‘news’ program type is what big television is following for its style and content.

  4. As for the term teabaggers… didn’t one of the early tea party people use that term for themselves? I’m getting ready for work so I don’t have the time to look it up at the moment but I’m pretty sure that was the first time *I* saw it (in relation to the Tea Party).

    At least The Daily Show doesn’t bill itself as a serious news outlet, they are a comedy show. The sad thing is that Fox tries to bill itself as “fair and balanced” which is an outright lie.

    The 24 hour news cycle is what killed the news media in this Country, back before CNN and the other 24 hour news shows, news was NEWS… I don’t remember the news back then being 5 stories that ran over and over and over… I don’t remember stupid shit like breaking in for a “special announcement” that consisted of “We don’t know anything new yet” followed by the same info they gave me 5 minutes ago and will give me again in another 5 minutes.

  5. un-related G20 concerns

    hmm..Your post has me thinking, not to tea baging, but more specifically towards the protesting that will ensue when the G20 comes to Toronto in June. My office is south of the site for the summit and I may have to cross thru the G20 security to get to work….I’m not looking forward to that.

  6. Negative reviews of the Tea Party movement don’t have to be partisan.

    It’s a largely incoherent rabble, angry and dissatisfied. Largely cynically exploiting itself for money, by overcharging for events.

    That some fringe associates misbehave around it is NOT illuminating.

    What I find most bothersome about it, is that many of its more successful panderers are encouraging random anger and increasing disrespect for law and legal process. I don’t care if people with common cause gather and babble incoherently, whether they babble about guns or baby whales.

    But if tea parties are the Munich beer halls of this century, I want to know.

    “News Coverage” is no longer about news. Nothing feeds cynicism like television “news”.

  7. You know I love you, right?
    I was listening to the coverage of the AZ protests yesterday and found myself thinking the same things that you posted.
    But then, according to a majority of people I know, I am an old-fashioned hate-mongering neo-con who doesn’t think for themselves, so I figured that my opinion on the matter was inherently wrong in some way.

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