On Monday, the Christian Science Monitor bucked its mainstream peers by reporting something truthful about the TEA party movement: police officials have begun to relax security requirements at conservative rallies because of the remarkable absence of violence.
Yes, you read that right: despite nonstop media warnings about hateful protests, violence from TEA party attendants is so nonexistent that police feel safe allowing them to bring large items and sometimes even guns.
The Monitor was compelled to check things out when a TEA party in Raleigh, North Carolina, persuaded officials to overturn a ban on flag poles. Such items are typically banned because a flag pole is really just a very big stick that could be used as a weapon. The Monitor's research led the paper to admit that conservative protests are far less threatening than many past demonstrations.
Patrik Jonsson's article drew a refreshing contrast between violent rallies of the Vietnam era versus the new model of peaceful civil uprising:To be sure, permitting rules and police preparedness are often developed based on past behavior at various kinds of protests. Many go back to the 1960s and 1970s when violent rallies erupted over the Vietnam War. Such protests sprung up again during the presidency of George W. Bush, when protesters clashed with police in New York City and elsewhere during large-scale demonstrations against the Middle East wars. With tea party rallies so far proving more orderly, police have given them more latitude.This flies directly in the face of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) comparing TEA parties to California in the 1970s - and that of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann comparing them to Selma during the fight for minority civil rights.
No matter how much prominent liberals talk about rampant violence, the facts on the ground tell a different story, and reporters end up leaving with rather dull footage - no police clashes, no tear gas, no images of people being carted away in handcuffs.
In fact, the narrative of violence was such a dud on Tax Day, the Huffington Post's coverage of the "most outrageous" images became a small collection of homemade signs.
Security officials in North Carolina were unconvinced by the left's hysteria, and on the morning of April 15, the state rescinded its ban on flag poles. Raleigh's News and Observer reported on the decision:The little-known restriction applied not just to flag poles, but to any posts attached to signs or banners and was out of a concern that the metal, plastic or woods posts could be used as weapons.But there had been no prior instances of violence, and was questioned this week in advance of a Tax Day tea party demonstration being held at 5 p.m. on the State Capitol grounds.So comfortable are various police departments with TEA party rallies that some are allowed to bring guns as an expression of Second Amendment rights. The Monitor relayed this to show how much leeway conservatives are given:Alarm around tea party protests cropped up last year when tea partiers began showing up armed. One much-publicized incident involved a man who carried a high-powered rifle to an anti-Obama rally close to where the president was speaking in Phoenix. The man was not breaking any laws, and the Secret Service said Obama was never in danger.Kudos to the Christian Science Monitor for reporting the truth - but will anyone else in the media follow its example?
It isn't looking likely. ...
Whatever you think about the Tea-Party protesters, whether you think their cause (or causes) is right or wrong, you cannot help but notice different standards applied to them and the demonstrations organized by the far left.
First, the matter of numbers. It’s strange how a protest of tens of thousands will make the first few pages of the NYT but a conservative protest with hundreds of thousands is back on page A-37. Moving further left, the various IMCs–the reporters of political rallies, protests, demonstrations, and the like–have been silent. Why is that?
Second, the organizations represented. When the NYT recently reported on an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. they noted the anti-war movement “consists of dozens of organizations representing pacifists, veterans, military families, labor unions and religious groups.” Nothing was mentioned about the groups on the radical left (communists and anarchists) who organize these anti-war protests. Nothing was mentioned about the black bloc and others who routinely destroy property and aggressively confront the police in these demos.
And, as Zombietime points out, nothing ever gets mentioned about the people who threatened violence against president Bush when he was in office.
Is there a double standard? Seems to be.
Every threat to Obama is now vigorously pursued, trumpeted and dissected by the media and the blogs, and roundly condemned. And I condemn such threats as well.
...(please read more)...But in the past, whenever someone threatened Bush at a protest, there was a deafening silence on the part of the media and the left-leaning blogs, and consequently very little (if any) follow-through on the part of the Secret Service. Which I find quite distressing. I was condemning those threats in the past (as best I could, by drawing attention to them on my blog) — but few people were joining me in my condemnation.
This is not a new development. The NYT regularly downplays the prevalence of extremists on the left, instead preferring to focus on the right. However, where were the racist skinheads, brownshirts and other neo-Nazis at this conservative demonstration? Where were the organizations representing the far-right? Nowhere to be seen or found.
Sure, you had some “birthers” and other kooks but nowhere near the prevalence of “truthers” and other crackpots one finds in left gatherings. Yes, there were nutty Paulistas and people who think Obama is a Muslim Marxist. Like this dude (see photo to the left).
But these people, and the people who compare Obama to Hitler, are far and away in the minority on the conservative right. Most conservatives find those comparisons offensive. Yet comparisons between Bush and Hitler were common on the progressive left during Bush’s two terms in office and few in the mainstream media or on the left were offended by that.
This brings me to the third double standard, the issue of motivation. What drives individuals to engage in collective action? In the case of left-wing protesters, they are pushed to participate due to a sense of great moral conviction. They protest because it is the right thing to do. What about conservatives who protest? What is their motivation?
The predictable response from the mainstream media is racism. Conservatives protest because our president is black. That is some sad commentary on the state of American politics in the 21st century.