Patterico's Pontifications

12/29/2010

Cracked.com Sets the Record Straight on the Tea Party (And Eight Other Major Stories)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:35 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; please send any tips here.]

Cracked.com has an unusually harsh critique of how the media treated the Tea Party, contrasting how we heard the story in the media v. the reality:

The way we heard it:

“The Tea Party is just a swarm of redneck doofuses, not only unworthy of serious consideration from the rest of us but 100 percent deserving of scrotum-based epithets. Because they’re just that ridiculous.”

And Christine O’Donnell was the new Queen of the Crazies. It didn’t take long for us to find out that she was personally bankrupt, a dabbler in witchcraft and not all that knowledgeable about this holy document she swore she was building her candidacy around. Plus, everything that came out of her mouth was pure hilarious moonshine. Which was probably why she stopped giving her mouth a national platform six weeks before the election. But that didn’t stop the media from talking about her, because O’Donnell so perfectly represented everything else about the Tea Party.

There were blatant racists and blatant Obama-to-Hitler-comparison-makers. All year we saw misspelled signs and angry, red-faced Colonials. People like Anderson Cooper and President Obama showed how seriously they were taking the party by calling them “tea-baggers.” And nobody blamed them, because all year long, the media gave us a picture of the Tea Party that made it perfectly clear: This is a joke.

But the truth is …

It wasn’t a joke.

For all those wackjob birthers captured on film wearing frilly lady blouses and triangle hats, there were thousands of ordinary people just living their lives, being regular, and not liking how their Republican Party had turned out. And even though Tea Party members tend to skew toward older, middle-class white guys, their overall demographics aren’t that far from the rest of the country. Of course, regular people are about as riveting as dry toast, so they didn’t get much screen time. Which is why it came as such a shock to everyone when 32 percent of Tea Party-affiliated candidates won their elections.

By focusing in on the a–clowns the media painted a picture that not only wasn’t accurate, but pretty much made constructive political discourse impossible. They didn’t just fail to do their job — they did the opposite of their job, and they’ve been doing it for years….

So when we watched coverage of O’Donnell and the Tea Party this year, we were only getting the bonkers half of the picture. Now that CNN is teaming up with the Tea Party Express to host the Republican debates next year, we’ll probably see a lot fewer costumed revolutionaries. But everyone will just assume the Tea Party cleaned up its act, when in reality it will be CNN.

That is going to leave a mark.

As they say, read the whole thing.

But I will note that there is one major news outlet I can think of which got this story right.  You know, a certain outlet branded unfair for using accurate terms and allowing us to hear both sides of a debate.

And for my money, I don’t have a single problem with the guys who show up at Tea Party rallies dressed in faux colonial outfits.  They’re just having fun and the history geek in me smiles at the sight.  We should love the lovable parts of our past.

Still, nice job Cracked.  It almost makes up for this.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing]

11 Responses to “Cracked.com Sets the Record Straight on the Tea Party (And Eight Other Major Stories)”

  1. The tea party didn’t “tend to skew toward older, middle-class white guys.” The stories I have read noticed that more than half the people at tea party events were women and many of them were young with children.

    They were also better educated and higher income than the average, but of course that makes them evil.

    Mike K (568408)

  2. Reminds me of the woman who famously remarked when Bush 2 beat Kerry “…I don’t know a single person who voted for him (Bush).”

    vet66 (c27921)

  3. vet66

    i thought it was nixon in that story.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  4. O’Donnell was more thoroughly vetted by the press in her 4 month run for the senate than obama in his two year run for the presidency.

    I am sure it would have come out that he “dabbled” in marxism as a youth. We could have decided is that more serious than dabbling in witchcraft as a youth?

    But that would have required an honest press.

    Jim (844377)

  5. This post should be like catnip for the racist hilljack William Yelverton.

    JD (109425)

  6. i thought it was nixon in that story.

    I believe the origins of that comment comes from the late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, who remarked to one of her Upper East Side cohorts about Nixon’s astonishing victory (snicker).

    Dmac (498ece)

  7. They also missed that she was more correct on most issues that certainly her opponent, but oops is
    enough of the deal. So did Coons like Murkowski
    and Brown, vote for a bill that they clearly hadn’t read, the Food Security bill, which was so atrocious
    that voting for it subsequently, makes even less sense.

    narciso (6075d0)

  8. It was Pauline Kael, about Nixon, but her point was precisely that we don’t know people nearly as well as we think we do. As evidence, she pointed out that given Nixon’s margin of victory she must be constantly in the company of many who voted for him, and yet she didn’t know a single person who’d done so. Extrapolating from her own social circle she’d have guessed that at least her neighbourhood in Manhattan had gone 100% for McGovern, and yet it clearly hadn’t.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  9. Pauline needed to get out more and expand her circle of friends.
    But, the same could be said for most political denizens within The Beltway
    (and the general Boston-DC Corridor with its Left Coast enclaves of the West-Side of L.A. and The City).

    AD-RtR/OS! (2b454a)

  10. ‘By focusing in on the a–clowns the media painted a picture that not only wasn’t accurate, but pretty much made constructive political discourse impossible. They didn’t just fail to do their job — they did the opposite of their job, and they’ve been doing it for years….’

    That is their JOB! It keeps the tea party’s ideas from being accepted as mainstream by the democratic party.

    Doc Merlin (b75c5e)

  11. Well, they still have to make up for this:

    http://www.cracked.com/funny-6587-tea-party/

    That piece almost seems a parody of lefty complaints about the TPM.

    Chris (26c08f)


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