Media bias rarely comes from some type of structured political system at a media company and more from the bias of the reporter himself.
It’s why so-called journalists (remember, I’m one of them) can, in one sentence legitimize the Occupy Wall Street movement, and de-legitimize the Tea Party by comparing the two and not realize how completely incoherent that is.
But because they believe in the Occupy movement and despise the Tea Party, many journalists apparently think it’s just fine to characterize the Tea Party as a band of activist nut jobs and do so as if this is simply a fact.
An article from early this month in the New York Times Magazine is an excellent example.
The story itself, about the fight between the “establishment” Republicans and the Tea Party smacks of liberal condescension and even not so covert sarcasm at times over the Tea Party movement.
Dismissive and smug is often an accurate way to describe the Times view toward anything, but is also a popular way of looking at the Tea Party.
When you read or hear someone compare OWS to the Tea Party, that is all the proof you need to understand that some people don’t understand what is really going on.
Occupy Wall Street is a group started by young, frustrated college graduates, languishing in debt and frustrated over wealth inequality.
They’re protesting greed and in its place hope to put…ummm something.
They don’t like capitalism and want to replace it with….something else (I think).
They don’t like government and want to replace it with…more government (No, seriously).
It’s a relatively hap-hazard, unfocused, disorganized group.
On the other hand, the Tea Party started as a grass roots movement of people frustrated with out of control spending and government involvement in the lives of every day people.
Matt Bai, the author of the NY Times article, talks about the “illogical extreme” of the Tea Party, as if this is a group of crazy people who don’t understand the world.
Government debt is at historic levels, millions in federal aid won’t be going to states this year because the money doesn’t exist anymore, billions are spent fighting wars that don’t make sense, all while government perpetually and habitually screws up, whether it’s getting involved in the private sector, or even just administering its own policies.
(You’ve heard, I’m sure, that Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid will be bankrupt by the time Obama’s graduate college, but don’t worry the government will forgive their debt).
Those are indisputable and seemingly intractable problems the Tea Party hopes to fight. There’s nothing “illogical” about seeing a failing entity and being insistent that the entity reduce it’s scope in order to be more efficient and less destructive.
The evangelical side of some Tea Partiers is not the basis of true Tea Party conservatism, but rather part and parcel of the culture where some prominent Tea Partiers originated.
Being strident in your beliefs does not make you a radical, it makes you consistent.
Furthermore, Tea Party support grew into a political movement, helped flipped the House of Representatives and has become a threat to established Republicans so much so that the ultra-left New York Times wrote an article about it.
Of course, the Times refers to the Tea Party as a “radical” group as if it were a simple fact, rather than a statement of bias on the reporter’s part.
(Suicide bombers are radicals, the Tea Party is not).
The Occupy protesters are hoping to create change out of chaos. Or maybe they just want chaos.
Tea Party politicians have real goals because they have real support. Tea Partiers are actually in office, helping to draft real legislation to battle real problems.
Maybe if some of these Occupy protesters had ever had a real job they’d understand the difference between their world and the real world.
And maybe if some of the journalists covering both groups did some real reporting they’d understand what real journalism is supposed to look like.
Spouting your own bias as fact is not reporting, it’s sloppy journalism at best and at worst its pandering to your perceived target audience.
Just because you think the Occupy movement has a point doesn’t mean they’re at all like the Tea Party who have affected real change and who hold legitimate political power.
500 people in lower Manhattan is not a political movement, it’s a health risk (Imagine taking your 10 year old to the World Trade memorial and having to worry about him/her getting a contact high)
But many people becomes journalists for the same reason people are bleeding heart liberals. It’s why the OWS has become a legitimate movement (the media has MADE them).
It’s why Herman Cain has to defend himself against partisan “news” groups reporting stories where absolutely zero proof has been offered to defend their side.
And it’s also why the Republicans, along with their Tea Party brethren have received so much support. Lower taxes, smaller government, they’re ideas that make sense to people. They’re desirable.
The NY Times admits that Obama is actually the biggest helping factor in the Republicans 2012 re-election campaign because people have become so disillusioned and disenchanted by his presidency.
In a way and for those same reasons, Occupy may actually be the perfect foil for the Tea Party: show the Tea Party’s biggest detractors on the news every night looking like idiots and people will naturally gravitate away from the loons.
In a sublimely ironic twist, the media bias toward the Occupy movement, may end up being its most dangerous political downfall.