Suddenly this summer, as right-wing mini-mobs turn health care forums into free-for-alls, as unhinged political rage flows in the streets, and as the Nazi and Hitler rhetoric flies, anger is in. Suddenly anger is good. It's authentic. It's newsworthy. Reading and watching the mini-mob news coverage, the media message seems clear: Angry speaks to the masses.
Instead of being turned off by the displays of passion the way the press had been when liberal protesters took to the streets prior to the Iraq war, media elites have been touting the mini-mob trend as a "phenomenon" (USA Today) staffed by a "citizen army" (Bloomberg News).
And make no mistake, the health care mini-mobs have been showered with a massive amount of media coverage. During the week of August 10-16, the topic of health care, and specifically the politics and the protests of health care, accounted for a staggering 62 percent of all cable news coverage, according to the Pew Research Center's weekly survey. My guess is that you would be hard-pressed to find a single week during the run-up to the Iraq war when liberal anti-war protests accounted for just 6 percent of the cable news coverage.
Why the gaping disparity? How come liberal anti-war protesters were shunned by the press, but the mini-mobs are showered with incessant coverage? It's because apparently when angry -- and overwhelmingly white -- conservatives protest, they come attached with a direct line to the American psyche. Liberals, though, most certainly do not.
Bottom line: Liberal protesters don't tell us anything about the mood of America. But angry right-wingers do, according to the press.
Read the entire Media Matters column here.
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