“There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site”
Yesterday, we commented on how the Tea Party has seen a 50% jump in favorability ratings from the American public since the partial government shut down last October, rebounding to its historical range.
This development is rather remarkable for a couple of reasons. First, as we pointed earlier, nary a peep was made in any headline doled out by the popular media of the impressive strides made by the Tea Party in recent months.
Second, that the Tea Party retains any favorability at all given the persistent onslaught of negative media bias ought to be a story in and of itself. Dan Gainor, writing for Fox News, gave an excellent recap of a few of the more notable occasions where the media revealed its disdain for the movement.
Both CNN and MSNBC made sport of the fact that “teabag” has a street sexual meaning.
On Tax Day 2009, CNN’s Anderson Cooper snarked about the GOP finding its voice: “It’s hard to talk when you’re teabagging.”
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and her guest, then-Air America radio contributor Ana Marie Cox, teamed up to use the word “teabag” at least 51 times in a 13-minute-long segment of bad “teabag” puns…
Gainor went on to note the litany of occasions in which the media wrongfully attributed brutal violence to the Tea Party movement.
Take, for example, ABC’s irresponsible attack on the Tea Party following the July 20, 2012, massacre in Aurora, Colo. Gunman James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 58, but ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross used the tragedy to score points against the Tea Party.
The very next day, “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos enticed viewers by saying Ross had “found something that might be significant.” According to Ross, a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colo., had joined the Tea Party. He added that “we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes.”
“Don’t know” was a horrific understatement. In his zeal to bash the right, it turned out Ross was completely wrong. ABC had to release an apology, but it never did so on air. And the Tea Party got blamed on national TV for mass murder.
Ross wasn’t alone. New York Times Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman had tried a similarly irresponsible tactic back in 2011, when he blamed the attack on Rep. Gabby Giffords on … the Tea Party.
“We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before,” Krugman wrote, adding that Giffords had been “on Sarah Palin’s infamous ‘crosshairs’ list.”
Krugman’s Nobel clearly wasn’t the Peace Prize.
Despite the systemic bias shown towards the Tea Party movement and its members by the media, statistics indicate that many in the country still identify with and support the causes it has championed for the last 5 years.
Where the next 5 years will take the Tea Party, one can only speculate. We can be sure, however, that the media will be there to mischaracterize and misinform.
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