Media Hacks Sandbag the Teabaggers
"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
— Saul Alinsky
OK, I get it. It's a very funny joke. "Tea party" and "teabagging" both have the word "tea" in them -- a witticism worthy of Oscar Wilde. Or at least worthy of our age's eminent wit, CNN's own Anderson Cooper. Maybe I'm the wrong guy to complain about this. After all, I made what little reputation I have by drinking while reading the news -- and being more than a little dirty-minded about it all.
That said, the sexual innuendo isn't -- for once -- what interests me. What is interesting is watching the teabagging meme take hold all across the left and even the mainstream media -- and why it has.
Ridicule has long been a powerful propaganda tool. Ayn Rand noted just that in The Fountainhead, when villain Ellsworth Toohey explains that he would "Kill by laughter. ... One doesn't reverence with a giggle." Professional rabble-rouser -- er, "community organizer" -- Saul Alinsky's rule five was: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." And that's exactly what we're seeing on display all across the left side of the blogosphere and the MSM.
The Cooper gaffe linked above -- if it was a gaffe -- is only the most obvious example. Others abound. Teabagging snark aside, a common complaint is that the tea parties are little more than an astroturf creation of Fox News and PJTV. And yet the Wall Street Journal noted:
The movement grew so fast that some bloggers at the Playboy website -- apparently unaware that we've entered the 21st century -- suggested that some secret organization must be behind all of this. But, in fact, today's technology means you don't need an organization, secret or otherwise, to get organized. After considerable ridicule, the claim was withdrawn, but that hasn't stopped other media outlets from echoing it.
Meanwhile, Fox News recorded near-record ratings simply by taking the tea party protesters seriously. Or at least at their word. Score one for fair, even if some people chose to quibble about the balance.