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Fighting back against tea party 'scorn'

The Media Research Center finds its calling again and publishes a lengthy, anecdote-filled report on media coverage of tea party protests. The focus is on the coverage delivered by the big three networks, a decision that gives us data points like "the Nation of Islam’s 'Million Man March' in 1995 ... was featured in 21 evening news stories on just the night of that march — more than the Tea Party received in all of 2009." But leaving out Fox News, which didn't exist at the time, doesn't paint the full picture of how Americans have been sold on the tea parties; it merely takes whacks at ABC, NBC, and CBS. And on my first read, I don't see that the MRC has included coverage of all tea party-related incidents in its numbers. Tea party activists happily include the town hall rebellions against health-care reform and cap and trade as milestones. The report, when it includes those stories, makes hay out of the way protesters were portrayed as angry. The argument, basically, is that non-Fox stories were not deferential enough to activists, and that the incidence of stories increased after the tea parties showed that they had political heft. I guess you can call that bias. You could also call it careful.

By David Weigel  |  April 13, 2010; 8:25 AM ET
Categories:  Tea Party  
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