Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Makes A Protest Newsworthy?

The Burning House has often wondered why Tea Party protesters are so much more newsworthy and "important" than, say, the anti-war movement. We're pleased that Steve Benen and other bloggers have picked up on this double-standard: October 2002, when more than 100,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C., to oppose the war, The Washington Post put the story not on the front page, but in the Metro section with, as the paper's ombudsman later lamented, "a couple of ho-hum photographs that captured the protest's fringe elements."

Not that crowd size is the be-all, end-all of an event's significance, but it's worth remembering that no credible count of yesterday's right-wing protest puts it in the 100,000 range. (And the anti-war protestors didn't have the advantage of a highly-rated cable network promoting their event every day for months.)

So, 70,000 far-right activists protesting a general sense of anger with progressive government are a major story, 100,000 liberal activists protesting a specific war policy are an afterthought.


Pam said...

I heard a reporter say today that he interviewed many people at the rally. He said from the people he talked to it was less about party or conservative vs. liberal than about the fears and questions many people have about the direction of the government.

Seems the health care debate has had all sorts of other issues bubble up to the surface.

I can't say why one gets more coverage than another.

Algernon said...

Right, but you don't really believe that, do you? Look at pictures and footage of the rallies. Do you see a single sign faulting the previous administration for deficit spending, federal bailouts of private industry, or the direction government took under its watch?

Of course you don't. This was an anti-Obama rally and an anti-Democrat really, promoted heavily by a partisan cable network, stoked by corporate-funded astroturf groups.

To what political party belonged the elected officials who addressed the crowd, rousing them against the President's agenda (both real and imagined)?

Right. They were Republicans.

Of course this was partisan. Of course this was "conservative vs liberal." People who think this wasn't a partisan rally are sheep.