March 19, 2009
Thousands of Americans in dozens of cities large and small, coast to coast have assembled recently to protest President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus spending, proposed budget deficits and tax hikes on small business and other entrepreneurs.
But odds are that the vast majority of people who depend solely on the mainstream media’s print and broadcast giants for their news know little or nothing about the protests.
Why? Because the MSMers regularly miss significant political news when it is happening right in front of them, thanks to the ideological blinders that make so many otherwise intelligent people in those newsrooms think the only real news happens in Washington or New York. (And occasionally in Boston or Los Angeles).
By contrast, folks who depend on bloggers like Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com for their news have known about the Tea Party Protests since day one. They’ve seen lots of photographs and video of the rallies and they’ve even read lots of commentaries from multiple perspectives about the events, who is participating in them, why they are spreading and what ought to be the goals of what appears to be a budding political movement.
Here’s a partial list from Instapundit of the cities that have seen Tea Party Protests rallies: Cincinnati, Nebraska, Tampa, Lexington, Ridgefield, Conn., Raleigh, Orlando, D.C., Staten Island, Pasadena, Boston, Rochester, N.Y., Jacksonville, Minnesota, Cleveland, Columbus, Mo., Little Rock, Ark., Philadelphia, Kansas City, Harrisburg, Green Bay, Salt Lake City, Fullertown, Lafayette, Boise, Monterey, Maui, Yonkers, Utah, Tucson, Phoenix, Hoboken and Chicago.
Do a search on Instapundit for “Tea Party Protests” and the result includes 24 discrete links, mostly to bloggers reporting on the events they attended. And last time I checked YouTube to see how many times the video of CNBC’s Rick Santelli doing his Tea Party rant last month that is incorrectly credited with sparking the movement, the total was just this side of a million.
[efoods]Is it really such a big deal that The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CBS, NBC and ABC are blowing it big-time by not covering the Tea Party Protest movement?
Well, consider that there are at last count at least 150 more such protests presently scheduled, according to WorldNetDaily.com, with many of those set to happen on April 15. Odds are, too, that there are many more such protests that WND missed. Such is the nature of suddenly developing movements.
This movement coincides with Obama’s pulling the curtain back on his main proposals and his coming back to earth in the approval ratings, so anyone who cares about current events and the likely course of things in coming days probably ought to know about the Tea Party Protests.
I offer one further observation here about the Tea Party Protests. Their size and rapid spread across the country are a measure of the intense convictions behind them. Most important, though, is that they are fruit of the digital age, with email, Twitter, cell phones and social networking sites on the Internet enabling their dramatic appearance.
These protests are in part “flash crowds” – the Internet phenomenon of demonstrations assembled virally as a result of events in the news. But they may also be something more permanent – a solution to what political philosopher Willmoore Kendall called “the Intensity Problem” of democracy.
Simply put, that’s the reality that a minority is often more passionate, better organized and more highly motivated about their causes than are the majority, who by definition are more diffused, less passionate and represent broader interests.
The classic illustration is the productive majority who pay taxes are less well-organized and vocal about their broad interests than are the minority that consume taxes through corporate subsidies, social welfare grants, tax credits, and earmarks. It’s the “Silent Majority” versus “Special Interests.”
But it appears that the Internet’s incredible ability to circulate vast quantities of information, accurate and otherwise, instantly across the nation empowers a nascent majority to recognize its own existence and respond far more quickly than ever before to threats to its interests.
If that is so, it points to the certain folly of Obama reaching too far, too fast, with a narrow, intensely partisan ideological agenda likely to antagonize and invigorate a flash majority to find itself.
No wonder the first 100 days were over in about 50.
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