Quick aside: I’ve been dealing with a fiasco that’s forced me to move out of my apartment and of late, I’ve been very sick, hence the reason for my lack of posts.
I took some heat the other week for a Twitter comment on the Tea Party meme—a comment in which I basically wondered publicly why anyone was covering the mass protests of taxes and government bailouts. (Note: If you’re interested in a debate about bias, please skip to the bottom and call me a communist now; I actually have another conversation in mind.) For the record, my exact words were:
I don’t think this Republican tea bagging thing is news, but at what point does it become so inflated that you have to cover it? Or do you?
I promised a clarification, so here: My point was that the news really wasn’t so much about the Tax Day protests (as many were reporting), but about the media storm that fueled the Tax Day protests. The AP had the most spot-on news piece that I saw all day—this is the lead: “Whipped up by conservative commentators and bloggers, tens of thousands of protesters staged “tea parties” around the country Wednesday….” Commentators and bloggers—in other words, the media.
For whatever reason, mass media outlets (or even small ones) have a problem admitting that they’re part of the national and international political machine. They think that since they’re supposed to be unbiased, they should keep themselves out of the picture as much as possible. In this case, the Tax Day protests were attributed to a “grassroots movement”—when in fact the root of the movement was CNBC’s Rick Santelli (with plenty of egging on after the fact from FoxNews).
So to further clarify: I never thought the tea parties should simply be ignored, I just didn’t think they were news in the purest sense of the word. When the media machine is creating movements and then reporting them, that goes beyond even bias—it’s literally an invention of news. And rather than let that invention trickle its way down the ranks, smaller news outlets ought to be calling B.S. on the big guys. Once a news source jumps on the bandwagon, it becomes part of the machine and its ability to tell an unbiased story is damaged, if not complely destroyed.