By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Big media, especially the TV networks, seem to be going out of their way to diss the conservative-leaning Tea Party movement as they work overtime to cheer on the Obama administration whose Gallup job approval rating has dropped to 43 percent, say conservative media critics who today are issuing a report that they say confirms suspicions that the mainstream media have got it wrong in their political coverage.
In their report provided to Whispers, the Media Research Center charges that the networks and much of the non-Fox cable have limited their coverage of the growing Tea Party Movement. And when they did cover the protests, the stories were laced with charges of racism and hate. Among the highlights:
- Total coverage by the networks was miniscule. ABC, CBS, and NBC aired 61 stories or segments about the Tea Party over a 12-month period despite the movement's demonstrated political force.
- By comparison, more liberal protests in the past won far wider and more positive coverage. For example, the Nation of Islam's "Million Man March" in 1995 was featured in 21 evening news stories on just the night of the march–more than the Tea Party received in all of 2009; and the anti-gun "Million Mom March" in 2000 was preceded by 41 broadcast network reports heralding its message with a dozen positive pre-march interviews with organizers and participants.
- Some coverage suggested Tea Party racism and extremism.
- The make-up of the Tea Party movement has been wrongly reported as a collection of angry white men when credible polling has shown that women are a big part of the protests and a quarter are Democrats with another 10 percent Independents.
For a comparison, consider the coverage of the administration today in the Washington Post which included three front-page stories about the positives of the president's nuclear summit, his successful handling of the deficit, and a detailed story on the influence of spokesman Robert Gibbs. Sister publication Newsweek this week heralded on the cover that "America is Back," reporting how "How America pulled itself back from the brink—and why it's destined to stay on top."