Press coverage of the Tea Parties is unfair

Calls to kill President Bush were common in the war protests a few years ago, but they were rarely featured by the broadcast television networks or big-city newspapers. One collections of Bush death threats is on the blog Bin’s Corner. I searched the New York Times website and could not find a single archived article about leftists protesters making death threats against Bush. Searching for “tea party racism” on The Time site provided 4760 references in just the past thirty days. Let’s just say the reporting is uneven.

A protest march in San Francisco in 2003 was led by an infamous banner proclaiming “We support out troops when they shoot their officers.” The New York Times apparently missed that story, as their archive returns nothing. Leftist professor Ward Churchill called for the murder of American military officers.

Protest rallies as large as the Tea Party are sure to attract some nut cases. The Huffington Post did a round up of the most offensive protest signs at the tea party rallies. There were no n-word signs. They found a few signs of the “Obama = Hitler” sort. Those few are inexcusable, but what is astounding is how few they could find, and by comparison to the Bush death threats, how relatively mild. The Huffington Post ended up with proclaiming as deeply offensive pictures of children holding signs saying things like: “Got Liberty?” and “How will I pay for this?” That’s deeply offensive only to the far far left.

The market for “Kill Bush” merchandise has been thriving for years So hows the market doing for “Kill Obama” merchandise? There isn’t any. Instead, liberals have to invent threats to react to. Pundit Brent Budowsky cited Right Wing Death Threats: “When Rush Limbaugh uses language about wiping out political opponents, and language that could well incite acts of physical and criminal violence, he is taking this campaign to a whole new and darker level.” Sarah Palin was attacked for using the metaphor of Democratic congressional seats “in the cross hairs.” They have stooped to using metaphors!

It is reminiscent of a Monty Python skit. Notorious criminal brothers Doug and Dinsdale Piranha are recalled by the locals. “It’s true that Dinsdale nailed heads to the floor, but he was fair. It was Doug that people really feared. He used… sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire. He was vicious.” That summarizes the press coverage of the anti-Bush rallies versus the Tea Party rallies. The anti-Bush protests called explicitly for killing Bush and treason. But the press and the Left apparently viewed that as “fair,” so no big deal. But using metaphors against Democrats? That crosses the line.

I think a political science department at some university ought to provide us with metrics. There are videos of both the anti-war rallies and the tea party protests. What percentage of signs at each called for assassination of the President or administration officials? What percentage made Hitler comparisons? It shouldn’t be difficult to categorize protest signs and statements according to not only advocating violence, but various levels of expression of hatred short of advocating violence. Even metaphors can be counted, if one thinks that important.

With objective data on what occurred, a good political scientist could go on to objectively analyze the press coverage. Which media organizations overlooked calls for assassination of the President? How many swooned over metaphors?

The reason that an objective study would be useful is that it would counter the argument that “there are nut cases on both sides.” That’s sometimes said to dismiss the Leftist death threats as no more than parity. Yes, there are nut cases on both sides, but the numbers are not equal and they do not do the same things. Nancy Pelosi received death threats from some loon, and the guy was, quite properly, found and arrested. How many Bush death threats by protesters were prosecuted? Let’s keep score.

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