Scan the editorial pages of some of this country’s major dailies and you’ll come away with the impression that the most energetic political movement in the United States to have emerged since Obama took office is a bunch of angry racist red necks, lead by white men berating Barney Frank not for his big-government policies, but for his attraction to members of his own sex.
As Matt Carden, one of our readers put it, the media coverage of the Tea Parties is like social conservatives’ coverage of Gay Pride marches. They show us the freaks and call it the mainstream.
Well, today, via Glenn Reynolds, comes a piece of even-handed reporting on this movement which has galvanized hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of freedom-loving Americans. Those reporters who look at the Tea Party movement without prejudice find that instead of representing an amalgamation of angry right-wing freaks instead represents the mainstream of Americans.
In his piece for the Christian Science Monitor, Patrik Jonsson reminds us that, “polls show that the anger at big government exhibited by tea party protesters is shared by many, if not most, Americans“:
A Pew poll in early March found 71 percent of Americans “dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today,” while a CNN poll showed that 56 percent of Americans are more than just discontented with Washington. Instead, that majority of respondents agreed that the government is “so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.”
Moreover, Paul Krugman’s fulminations notwithstanding, the Tea Party agenda does not include rolling back the Civil or Voting Rights Acts, but focuses on holding the line on the growth of government and its regulatory sweep:
What’s more, the release this week of the top three planks of the “crowd-sourced” Contract From America project, to some activists, shows a maturation from sign-wielding protesters to a political reform movement grounded in ideas.
The top three vote-getters among 360,000 respondents on the Contract From America website: Calling for an enumerated powers act to force lawmakers to check the constitionality of new laws; requiring a two-thirds majority in Congress for any tax hike; and a legislative backstop to prevent the EPA from “backdoor regulating.”
Looks like they left out gay-bashing too.
One day we may have to psychoanalyze the Krugmans and other Tea Party bashers to understand their refusal to understand the ideas of their adversaries–or even recognize that their adversaries have ideas which do not play into their own stereotypes of right-wingers hating the other.
They just can’t let go of their prejudice of right-wing maleficence and malice. They’re not reporting on the Tea Party agenda, but instead describing that prejudice–what they presume opponents of Obama to be.
They should take a cue from Patrik Jonsson and actually report on the phenomenon rather than attempting to exorcize their animosities and project their prejudices.