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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Posted April 16, 2009 | 02:39 PM (EST)

Susan Boyle: Teabaggers Get a Load of What a True Populist Phenomenon Looks Like


One of the problems with demonstrations in the modern era is that no matter how many people show up, if the media decides it's not going to cover something, the impact is minimal.

The teabagger demonstrations were rather small relative to the hype and free media time lavished on them by Fox News -- across the country there were an estimated 260,000 people in attendance, with the largest event around 7,000. By way of comparison, many demonstrations for immigration reform in the spring of 2006 had more than 300,000 people at a single event.

That probably wouldn't have been a problem for the teabaggers -- right-wing robber barons with professional PR outfits had a long reach into the media, and on an otherwise quiet day, there would have been significant coverage. But as Chris Cillizza notes, nobody factored in the Susan Boyle effect -- a genuine populist phenomenon.

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The Scottish singer was in heavy rotation all day long on cable news, which couldn't have been less interested in cutting away to the teabaggers. Her incredibly moving performance was all anyone could talk about, and rightfully so. I must've watched the video 5 or 6 times myself. How can you not? Despite the petty, mean putdowns by the narcissistic judges (or perhaps because of them), it's impossible not to tear up as you watch her walk on to the stage and take her best shot at the unlikely dream she never gave up on. It's up to 12 million views now on YouTube, and not showing any signs of slowing down.

So bottom line -- nobody cares, Karl. For all your money and machinations, Susan Boyle left you sputtering in the dust, too. What she's got, right wing astrofurf operatives like Eric Odom, Brendan Steinhauser and Phil Kerpen abjectly failed to compete with.

Jane Hamsher is at firedoglake.com and on Twitter