Blogs > HNN > The media and the teabaggers

Apr 16, 2009 5:30 pm

The media and the teabaggers

Today, as expected, right-wing pundits fumed at the coverage the teabag rallies received in the mainstream media. Television cameras allegedly focused on the fringes of those rallies, singling out the most extreme placards and garb. So what else is new? The camera shots of people on the two-minute-or-less segments on the rallies wearing Maobama tee shirts reminded me of the many Mao tees I used to see on television during the sixties and seventies when the “liberal” media covered antiwar rallies. Che and Ho tee shirts, Viet Cong flags, long-haired hippies, Dikes on Bikes and, especially, the violent activities at the fringes is what drew media attention during those heady days, as I pointed out in Covering Dissent (1994). This distortion was not necessarily a product of political bias—the reporters and camera people sought out the most telegenic colorful and exciting footage in order to sell their product.
And by the way, the most generous right-wing analyses today suggest a total crowd count as large as 200,000 in 800 cities. Lest we forget, without free advertising from Fox, the Moratorium on another Wednesday forty years ago, October 15, 1969, drew at least 2 million in 200 cities.

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mary lili jory - 8/16/2009

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Jonathan Dresner - 4/16/2009

I looked at a couple of flickr sets of pictures from protests -- one in Colorado, Baton Rouge and Georgia, I think -- as a quick way to get a look at what went on (couldn't make it to my local one).

Those "fringe elements" and provocative signs were present in all three sets that I looked at, and didn't seem to be unrepresentative of the crowd -- broad crowd shots showed a pretty good distribution of these signs and symbols.

There was some interesting repetition -- printed and handmade signs with identical messages at all the protests.