Ed Driscoll

The Worst Media Double Standard in Recent History

In 2009 and 2010, the media trashed the Tea Party, using the crazied, hyperbolic language possible — and yet were envious of their success at the polls last November, and wanted a Tea Party of their own. Hence, Occupy Wall Street. Richard Fernandez asks a great question at the Belmont Club. Did the MSM’s intensely negative reporting cause them (directly or indirectly) to amp up the craziness at OWS to waaaay past 11 on Nigel Tufnel’s Marshall stack, or is that simply what happens when a mass of people with an ill-defined cause co-habituate in an urban Burning Man festival for months on end?

But regarding the MSM’s coverage, since so much of what passes for “liberalism” boils down to “It’s Different When We Do It,” the amount of double-standards in the MSM is bottomless. But given what we all just witnessed in 2009 and 2010 during the media’s coverage of the Tea Party, their see-no-evil United Colors of Benetton tone when it comes to OWS is that much plainer to see. Or as Allahpundit notes:

This can’t be repeated enough: With a few exceptions, foremost among them the New York Post, the coverage of OWS protests compared to the coverage of tea-party protests is the worst media double standard in recent history. Nothing compares, because nothing else involves this much distortion on both ends of the coverage. It’s not just that most press outlets (like the protesters themselves) look the other way at depravity happening inside Obamaville, it’s that for years they treated the tea-party movement as some sort of feral mob that was forever on the brink of rampaging through the streets — like, say, Occupy Oakland just did. If you missed it when I posted it last week, go watch the ad the DNC ran in August 2009 when tea partiers first started showing up to town halls on ObamaCare. That set the tone. We began the year with tea-party pols being smeared as killers over a shooting they had nothing to do with and we end it with actual rapes being shrugged off by the press because they’re bad PR for a movement they support. Disgrace.

On the other hand, perhaps it’s for the best, Glenn Reynolds writes at the Washington Examiner today:

In this, interestingly, the Occupy movement may have unwittingly lent a hand to the Tea Party. Everyone who has followed the wall-to-wall news coverage has seen the sad stories of protesters who went deeply in debt for college degrees (admittedly, often degrees in things like Peace Studies, but nonetheless, still college degrees) and who now say they are unable to find work.

Faced with those stories, voters may understandably have concluded that more spending on colleges and schools was unlikely to do much to promote employment, regardless of what the political ads from the teachers’ unions and higher-education folks claimed.

If education is so great, after all, why are so many educated people unemployed and camping out in public parks?

This is a good question, and similar ones might profitably be asked with regard to other public programs whose spending climbs faster than inflation but whose results remain unimpressive — which is to say, most public programs.

It’s not that the education system is our only public-spending failure, it’s just that the Occupy movement has done such a persuasive job of illustrating the particular failures of the education system.

Or course, the Occupy movement has helped the Tea Party in another way: By keeping lefties busy. While the occupiers have been holding their drum circles, the Tea Party movement — now long past the mass-rally stage — has been going about the less conspicuous work of registering voters and organizing.

As I wrote back in 2010, “Rallies without follow-through are just rallies. And the Tea Party movement is now following through with the grunt work of politics: Organizing precincts, waging primary battles, registering voters, and compiling mailing lists.”

Rallies don’t win elections. Neither do drum circles. Organizing does. Let Occupiers and Tea Partiers alike take note.

The Tea Partiers will be working hard next year to maintain the GOP’s control over the Congressional House, and to extend it to the Senate. Even if Mitt Romney (whom Tea Partiers by and large loathe as the definitive Northeast Establishment RINO) wins the GOP’s nomination, they’ll likely hold their noses and support him — which, if he can survive the coming onslaught of the Obama-MSM-Journolist smear machine, just might be enough for his victory next year, if the economy remains flatlined and enough undecided voters want to finally see some Hope and Change (to coin a phrase).

As the temperature keeps dropping and as the blood pressure of besieged residents and small business owners in lower Manhattan towards their would-be Occupiers keeps skyrocketing, presumably, sometime in the next couple of months or so, the OWS crowd will go home.

Since Obama is the system and OWS will likely support maintaining the status-quo at the top of the Democrats’ presidential ticket (certainly, nobody appears to be in any rush to do the 2012 equivalent of getting “clean for Gene”), how will they channel their Rage Towards the Machine?

Update: Related thoughts from Daniel Blatt.

Update: From Ace, “‘Non-Violent Protesters:’ Occupy DC Pushes 78-Year-Old Woman To the Ground.” And from Peter Wehner of Commentary, “The Double Standard of the Press When it Comes to OWS vs. the Tea Party.”