As the late Yul Brynner mused in the movie “The King and I,” puzzlement confronts me. Mine lies in the media treatment of the “Occupy Wall Street” protestors compared to coverage of the Tea Party.
The Tea Party Movement was and is a genuine grassroots movement, despite claims to the contrary by those who would dismiss it out of hand. It grew and has flourished with a simple creed, essentially focused on a return to fiscal conservatism, curtailing government spending (inclusive of a balanced federal budget), and a reduction in the spread of government control and interference.
Not yet three years old, it has established a presence in America – and was clearly a factor in the November 2010 elections. This is so despite the names directed at its adherents – former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referring to them as “Astroturf,” and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calling them “Fear Mongers.” Pelosi and Reid were not alone in dispensing similar epithets, as they were joined by media representatives as well as other high-ranking Democrats and Liberals.
Tea Party supporters have been accused of all manner of racial misconduct, despite the fact that their meetings and gatherings have generally been devoid of inappropriate behavior and disorder. To be sure, there is an occasional miscreant at a Tea Party event, but this has been rare.
Of all accusations of racial impropriety leveled at the Tea Party, the most vivid example occurred on the day that the Health Care Bill (i.e., Obamacare) was passed. It was alleged that as a group of Congressional representatives paraded through a crowd, Tea Party participants shouted the “N” word, and/or expectorated at members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Convinced that this never happened, journalist Andrew Breitbart offered a $100,000 reward to any person who could prove it had. To this day, the reward has never been claimed – because, in plain fact, the incident never took place.
The venues at which Tea Party events have been held are invariably left in the same condition in which they were found, absent of any activity that was detrimental to the surroundings or environment.
On the other hand, there is the “Occupy Wall Street Movement,” which has risen in the last two months.
Happenings at the protests occurring in various cities have sprung up for every reason under the sun, totally without the single-mindedness of purpose that brings Tea Party people together.
Despite the impression created by the “Occupy” followers, it is hardly loosely organized. It enjoys the financial, moral and physical support of organized labor and such leftist organizations as “moveon.org.”
These protests against financial giants on Wall Street receive the support and encouragement of the President of the United States, various other political figures, and millionaire celebrities such as Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon (among others).
Behavior at the protest venues leaves much to be desired – and often includes criminal activity. In most cases, the quiet enjoyment of ordinary citizens in their home, business, and/or work environments is made subservient to protestors by local government officials who are too busy being politically correct to recognize right from wrong.
One wonders why the protestors do not march on the White House or Congress – the real sources of many of the ills that motivate “occupiers.”
It has been hard to find accuracy in reporting the size of Tea Party events -which are downplayed and given scant coverage. Yet, the Occupy movement – which has caused far more problems and lawlessness – has become the darling of the media.
Here in the Naples-Fort Myers area, local newspapers have paid scarce attention to large Tea Party turnouts – most often virtually defying readers to find the coverage buried in its pages. It was therefore surprising to note that an Occupying “crowd” between 200 and 300 people made the front page (with a large picture, no less) of this very newspaper.
In the final analysis, my puzzlement arises from the manner in which the mainstream media reports on the two movements. Then again, however, this is no doubt consistent with the manner in which the news has been colored to cover for the Obama Administration.