One Nation, underdog

Jymn makes a good point when he wonders why the progressive-driven “One Nation” rally in Washington DC yesterday got such ho-hum media attention, while Glenn Beck’s rally back in August that drew similar numbers of teabaggers was covered wall-to-wall, minute-by-minute.   A fair question:  over the past year, the media standard seems to be “If it teas, it leads”.

Conservatives have always complained about being unfairly treated by the “liberal media” — have liberals now become the media underdogs?

When searching for an answer to this burning question, it doesn’t hurt to remember that there’s an entire TV news network that caters to the right in general and the tea party in particular.  Everyone else joins the conga line of wall to wall coverage, then follows it up with days of brow-furrowed ponderance and pontification, deep thought, debate and discussion about “What it all means for (fill in the blank:  “the midterms”, “the Democrats”, “the nation”, “the price of coffee”, “my cousin in North Tonawanda”, etc.).  Going back a few years, even the massive worldwide anti-Iraq War march in 2003, which drew millions, got nowhere near the kind of media coverage the teabaggers now routinely command.

But it’s not just liberals who get the cold media shoulder.  Every year around State of the Union day, fetus fetishists gather at the Mall to shriek and whine and faint and scream in numbers larger than both of Beck’s rallies and the One Nation march combined and get little or no coverage outside the religious media.  But they’re not that interesting, because everyone knows what they want: to overturn Roe v. Wade and give every fertilized egg a driver’s license.  This is not news, no matter how many sideshows Randall Terry puts on.

No, the media doesn’t hate libs — it’s just not that into them anymore.   Let’s take a short trip down Memory Lane:  I (vaguely) recall the media in the late 60s feverishly covering hippie culture and everything that went with it just as obsessively as they now cover the baggers.  What did hippies want?  What was their plan?  Would they overthrow the government? It was non-stop, and hippies didn’t even have their own news channel (although we did have the hippy-dippy weatherman).

The teapartiers get disproportionate media coverage because they’re the new kid in town and, beyond “Kick The Bums Out!” and “The Constitution something something”, they don’t seem to have any clear goals or plans. Like 60s hippies, their ideas are vague and hazy at best; unlike the hippies, they can’t blame it on drugs.  In any case, they’re still an evolving (heh) phenomenon, which may be what makes them more newsworthy than progressives in the media’s eyes.

(AP photo)

23 Responses to “One Nation, underdog”


  1. 1 Jymn Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Great post. The right wing in the States has been very vocal about the ‘liberal media’. They’ve joined together in a united front to push this meme into establishment media. It works. I don’t see why we can’t as progressive bloggers push just as hard and with as much cohesion as the rightbloggers have done. With G&M swerving to the right and the CBC under great pressure to do the same, we have to keep harping on the right-wing monopoly that is our media.

  2. 2 balbulican Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 11:58 am

    They get coverage because they’re new, weird, and extreme. They’re a story, like Obama was a story.

    The dimmer ones are going along the ride because they like the sonorous platitudes and being told they’re part of a great social movement (just like us in the 60s); the smarter ones are simply playing media with the shrewdness of marketers seeking attention for any commodity – toilet paper or Lady Gaga. It’s amusing to see them adhering so closely to the Alinsky playbook – Saul would get a kick out of that.

  3. 3 FFIB Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Great. I had to go and look up who Saul Alinsky was.

    I really should of done more than acid in the sixties.

  4. 4 Cornelius T. Zen Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    FFIB: If you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t there.
    Peace! Love! Woodstock! – CTZen

  5. 5 Peter Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Today’s left is about as exciting as a low-fat zucchini muffin.

    Also, I’ll bet a lot of the American press is becoming so addicted to the scary prospect of someone like Sarah Palin becoming President that they secretly want her to at least come close.

  6. 6 balbulican Monday, October 4, 2010 at 5:25 am

    Maybe it’s just me, but “exciting” is not something I actually seek out in political life.

  7. 7 Peter Monday, October 4, 2010 at 5:57 am

    Me neither, which is why we are both conservatives. Or getting on.

  8. 8 Cornelius T. Zen Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Good morrow, all!
    Maybe it’s not news because “the left” consists mostly of people who seek to make sense of where democracy and politics are going. Seeking progress, and making sense of it, is not news, therefore, progressives are not news.
    Would it be be inappropriate to remark that today’s “conservatives” are displaying the same characteristics that progressives have been showing all along? That is to say, making like the squeaky wheel, in order to get their “share” of the grease? And who provides the majority of support for these modern day “conservatives”? Those with a vested interest in attaining and maintaining a tight, authoritarian control of society, I suppose – those who just happen to be rich, white, straight, Christian, and male. Hmmm…nah, must be just a coincidence…
    Anybody else is supposed to know their roles and shut their mouths – because God don’t like uppity women / gays / people of color / Jews / ABSWMC’s (anybody but straight white male Christians)
    If this goes on – CTZen

  9. 9 JJ Monday, October 4, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Jymn

    With G&M swerving to the right and the CBC under great pressure to do the same, we have to keep harping on the right-wing monopoly that is our media.

    I bought a Globe yesterday, just because it was so weird-looking. Like a broadsheet-length tabloid 😯 But anyway…

    I’m not sure I’d characterize the media at large as “right wing” — I know from years of working with media of all kinds that it only reflects what’s already out there, and politically it just goes whatever way the strongest winds of the time are blowing. After 40 years, conservatism might well be in ascendance (for a variety of reasons, mostly economic), so it’s not surprising to see the media taking a more centrist tone. (This of course is a lot different from outright propaganda like Fox News.)

    “The left” probably needs to adjust to that new reality, or risk having no voice at all.

  10. 10 J. A. Baker Monday, October 4, 2010 at 8:14 am

    (This of course is a lot different from outright propaganda like Fox News.)

    I must confess that there have been many times when it’s been very hard to see any daylight between Fox Propaganda and the “MSM” (or as Saint Sarah the Blameless Martyr calls them, the “Lame-stream Media”).

  11. 11 JJ Monday, October 4, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Balb

    They get coverage because they’re new, weird, and extreme. They’re a story, like Obama was a story.

    New and different and extreme always makes for a good story. And so does the fact that they are having an actual impact on US politics. I bet the original corporate shills who started this thing had no idea how far it would move the overton window.

    The funniest thing for me is how jealous it makes some of our righties: “Us too! Us too!” They want their own tea party.

    But stranger things have happened in these strange times 😐

  12. 12 JJ Monday, October 4, 2010 at 8:20 am

    FFIB

    I really should of done more than acid in the sixties.

    Yes, and I should have done less, so it all evens out in the end.

  13. 13 JJ Monday, October 4, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Peter

    Today’s left is about as exciting as a low-fat zucchini muffin.

    😆 😆
    I wouldn’t generalize that it’s universal, but certainly there’s a Boring Old Fart streak running through the left that wasn’t there 30 years ago. Why is that, I wonder.

  14. 14 JJ Monday, October 4, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    CTZen

    Would it be be inappropriate to remark that today’s “conservatives” are displaying the same characteristics that progressives have been showing all along?

    Not at all inappropriate, and I agree. The teabaggers must be the first movement conservatives who’ve ever read “Rules for Radicals” 😯

    And who provides the majority of support for these modern day “conservatives”? Those with a vested interest in attaining and maintaining a tight, authoritarian control of society

    I think that’s how it started, but it’s become more than that. When GOP shill Dick Armey started this whole tea party thing, I doubt he imagined they’d be running their own candidates — and winning — against establishment Republicans. This is bound to cause a struggle for control of the GOP, once the midterms are over.

    Remember that expression “the New Left”? Whatever happened to that? Now we’ve got “the New Right”.

  15. 15 JJ Monday, October 4, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    JAB

    I must confess that there have been many times when it’s been very hard to see any daylight between Fox Propaganda and the “MSM”

    Maybe I’m being naive, but I don’t think the MSM has quite gotten to the point yet where they actually make up the news, a line Fox crossed long ago. But by letting Fox call the tune of what gets covered and what doesn’t, they’re getting there.

  16. 16 J. A. Baker Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Maybe I’m being naive, but I don’t think the MSM has quite gotten to the point yet where they actually make up the news, a line Fox crossed long ago. But by letting Fox call the tune of what gets covered and what doesn’t, they’re getting there.

    Well, sure. I was a little inexact in what I wrote. I meant to say that there have been many times when I felt that it was hard to see daylight between Fox and the rest of the MSM. The whole swiftboating of Shirley Sherrod is a prime example. It seemed to me that the rest of the media was almost as enthusiastic as Fox in cheerleading what was done to her. At best, they were too busy wondering if it was Good News For Republicans™ to do any actual journalism, and by the time they got around to do any basic fact checking (You know, their JOBS!), the damage was already done.

    It didn’t help that the Obama administration did the standard thing for co-dependent Democrats when confronted with the perception of a scandalous association — throw the controversial figure under the bus, but that’s another story.

    Long story short, if the MSM isn’t nakedly as bad as Fox, they’re damn close, proving that the “liberal media” canard is a cruel hoax.

  17. 17 Bleatmop Monday, October 4, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    JJ – “I wouldn’t generalize that it’s universal, but certainly there’s a Boring Old Fart streak running through the left that wasn’t there 30 years ago. Why is that, I wonder.”

    Probably because most of them haven’t got over Trudeau, not to mention Chretien, Martin, or Dion. Something about living is the past seems to make people boring.

  18. 18 JJ Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 6:37 am

    JAB – I get your drift. There have been many times when the MSM has acted shamefully — as well as the Sherrod situation, the lead up to the Iraq War comes to mind, and ACORN.

    It might be a good start if the Democrats would lead by example, and just tell the raging right to fuck off once in awhile, instead of trying to do damage control on things that don’t require damage control.

  19. 19 J. A. Baker Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 7:11 am

    It might be a good start if the Democrats would lead by example, and just tell the raging right to fuck off once in awhile, instead of trying to do damage control on things that don’t require damage control.

    Yeah, but that would require the Democrats to stop acting like battered spouses, and not pee their pants every time a Republican frowns at them.

  20. 20 JJ Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Bleatmop

    Something about living is the past seems to make people boring.

    That’s it in a nutshell, progressives need a new Trudeau (and not Justin, he seems like a nice kid but not nearly as bright as his father was).

    Plus 1968 was a different time than 2010 — liberals can’t keep coasting on victories won back then. 40 years ago there wasn’t the kind of economic hardship we have now, and peoples’ concerns are much different. This is where the conservatives get their edge, I think… everyone associates them with fiscal responsibility 😯 Hard to believe, considering how violently they spend.

  21. 21 JJ Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 8:42 am

    JAB 😆
    I’m laughing, but it’s sad… they remind me of a little puppy I had who used to roll over and pee herself whenever anyone in the vicinity raised their voice.

    Maybe they need to watch this Bill Maher video again

  22. 22 Bleatmop Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    JJ – I think you just found their new winning strategy. Seriously. They need to start calling the conservatives tax and spending panderers to special interests. They wouldn’t even have to lie. They could paint themselves as being the fiscally responsible party that handed Harper a massive surplus and he fucked it up and increased spending at rates unheard of ever before in Canadian history and landed us in this quagmire that we sit in now.

    I mean, other than plugging their ears and screaming “just visiting” (they’ll do that anyway), what could the CPC bots do about it?

  23. 23 JJ Friday, October 8, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Bleatmop – 😆 Somehow I can’t believe their strategists haven’t thought about that one — there must be a reason why they’re avoiding it.

    Maybe they’re worried they might alienate their left wing if they start making noises that sound even vaguely fiscally conservative. Too bad. Harper is a soft target that way.


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