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Tea Party — A Case in Unproportional News Coverage

February 7th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Seriously, 600 people showed up at the first-ever National Tea Party Convention at the Opryland complete in Nashville and this makes page A1 of the New York Times?  Four times as many paying people (2,435) attended my journalism educators convention in Boston last year, and I can tell you we didn’t get any mention in the New York Times.

But, props to the Times for pointing out that “the convention was losing sponsors and participants right up to its opening day because of accusations from other Tea Party groups that Tea Party Nation, which is unapologetically for-profit, was profiteering.”

The Tea Partiers (I’m not sure if that’s what they call themselves, but it’s an improvement on tea-baggers) have certainly lost their Fox-boosted mojo.  The group built itself on made-for-media hype disrupting town hall meetings on healthcare. But interrupt their own meeting with some genuine dissent, and you’re out on your ear in Nashville. Here is their special note for ticket buyers at the Tea Party Convention website:

Please be aware that any disruptive behavior will result in the immediate removal from the convention site and all ticket purchases will be forfeited.  There will be no exceptions!

Town hall meetings are free, but tickets to official assemblies of Tea Partiers are expensive, and perhaps that will keep out the disruptive riff-raff.  At $549 for the Feb. 4-6 convention, plus fees and hotel accommodations (seeing only banquet speaker Sarah Palin, who will earn a reported $100,000 for the keynote gig, costs only  $349 per ticket), this is definitely an event for the common people who don’t want to waste their hard earned money on ugly government mandates.  Instead, conventioneers can hang out with regular folk like Palin, conservative Internet publicist Andrew Breitbart (who sponsored the anti-ACORN videos of James O’Keefe, who one can now say is the subject of federal charges and investigations — just like the conservative press loved to say about ACORN {although those charges against ACORN were politically motivated and never amounted to anything}), and former Chief Justice of Alabama, Roy Moore, who was sworn to uphold the Constitution, but insisted not observing the religion clause of the First Amendment. He was removed from office in 2003.  (As a group, the Tea Partiers are selective in constitutional observance.  Their web site says: “We believe in Limited Government, Free Speech, the 2nd Amendment, our Military, Secure Borders and our Country!”  I say, hey friends, there are 10 amendments in that Bill of Rights, plus the rest of the Constitution!)

Tea Partiers in general don’t like academic types.  Too much education can be a bad thing, and people with graduate degrees are notoriously lefty.  So one would be a little suspicious of Dr. B. Leland Baker on the speaker list, particularly when you find out he’s not a medical doctor but a guy with a Ph.D. in Management.  Scary!  But, it’s OK, because he’s the author of Tea Party Revival: The Conscience of a Conservative Reborn – The Tea Party Revolt Against Unconstrained Spending and Growth of the Federal Government, a seminal work in Tea Party-ism. Plus, although Baker worked for the U.S. military for many years, he’s not on the public dole now. His bio says he’s “a Professor of Management and Homeland Security at a private university.”  Good thing, because those public universities are sponges of public handouts.  His university, I found out, is Colorado Technical University (CTU), which, again, is private, although it does help students gain the often-needed access to federal loans and grants, and participates in the Veterans Program and Military Tuition Assistance.  These programs must not be on Dr. B’s hit list for making a “smaller, more limited government, which will result in lower spending, lower taxes, and greater political and economic freedom for American citizens.” But, that lower-tax policy has been a real boon for higher education affordability.  Just ask any public university student in California.  Or just ask me about Iowa.

CTU is one of those modern universities that delivers its programs via the Internet, a government-created network which probably wouldn’t have been created in Dr. B’s world, because he hates “big government schemes that only fleece the taxpayer.”  But, who needs the government when you can fleece willing citizens directly at events like this?

Tags: ACORN · Politics · Television News

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