Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea parties ignored by media? Nope. Didn't happen

Every movement needs an enemy and everybody hates the media. Simple recipe. Only, the recipe didn't bake yesterday when tax protesters gathered around the country. Egged on by Fox moneymakers, they proclaimed in advance their protests would be underestimated and undercovered, perhaps not covered at all in the "mainstream" press, which means everybody but Fox. They were simply wrong.

That doesn't mean they won't say the mainstream media ignored them. But all you have to do is look at the front page of today's Kansas City Star to see they got plenty of respect. No locker room bulletin board material there.

And by the way, no "outside agitators" showed up to disrupt the protests, either.

Their real problem isn't the mainstream media. It's their message. They must find a way to sharpen their point. They're against big government? OK, what part of big government are you against? Military spending? Welfare spending? Spending on education? School lunch programs? Student loans and grants? Medicare or Medicaid? Road building? Police protection? FDA inspections? USDA research grants? Farm subsidies? Bulky item pickup?

When they were interviewed on cable news shows -- both left and right -- they were tongue-tied about what they were actually protesting. Mostly, it seemed, they were against bailouts. Or Congress. Or Obama. Or, just them. They were worried for the children. They had jobs and they didn't want to pay to help those who didn't. They make their mortgages and they didn't want to help those who can't. It was more like a Celestial Seasonings Sampler than a box on Liptons black.

To make a movement, you need a better idea about what you're against and a more clear definition of it than a bunch of tea bags dangling from your garden hat.

-- Lofflin, that's not to say their sense of fun wasn't refreshing, because it was...

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