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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/21/11

Palin was shouted down in Madison, her fans outnumbered two to one, and yet the corporate media couldn't, wouldn't see i

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Message Mark Crispin Miller
When Sarah Palin took the stage in Madison, it looked like she was trying to shout  down a hurricane. That's how loud the booing was, from a crowd in which the people  come to tell her off outnumbered her supporters two to one.
That's what was happening, but the corporate press just couldn't, wouldn't see it---just  as they've never seen, or let us see, how  small----and, therefore, how unrepresentative--- the "Tea Party" really is. Unfailingly, the press either depicts that fringe as a bare majority  (when the latter have just "won" an election), or imagines a perfect "divide," 50/50, the  people split right down the middle, like a halved apple.
Case in point, and as a perfect illustration of Mark Karlin's argument below, is (below  that) the  New York Times's supercilious coverage of La Palin's storm-tossed aria in Madison.
There are many things to hate about that piece (note how the reporter, Monica Davey, uses  the word "tantalizing"), but what is most egregious is its groundless picture of the crowd
precisely riven into two equal-and-opposite (and equally  amusing) "throngs."

"Palin Was Practically Booed Back to Wasilla" By Pro-Union Protesters in Madison, Wisconsin

Why do Tea Party rallies get so much media attention, even when their gatherings appear to be shrinking in size?
That is because the corporate mainstream media has a bias toward covering protests from the right, but virtually ignores progressive crowds. This was recently evidenced by the scant national coverage given to the unprecedented anti-Scott Walker protests of up to 100,000 people in the relatively small city of Madison.

So, when Sarah Palin appeared in Madison on Saturday, April 16, it was not surprising that CNN described her as "energizing" the crowd, even though she could barely be heard much beyond the "feed" mike - the boos and chants of disapproval were that loud from the protesters.

Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive (which is located in Madison) attended the Palin event and estimated that the protesters were double the size of the Koch brothers' "Americans for Prosperity" crowd:

There were about 1,500 tea partiers, many bused in by Americans for Prosperity, the rightwing group funded by the Koch brothers.
The tea partiers were surrounded by about 3,000 or more pro-labor supporters, who let their presence be felt with raucous chants and boos and cries of "Shame, shame, shame!"
"Recall Walker," the protesters chanted over and over again, as well as, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Scott Walker has got to go."
In fact, Thom Hartmann points out in a television report that Andrew Breitbart (former Drudge protege and current right-wing "pundit" and provocateur) was so incensed by the chants of the protesters that he shouted, "Go to Hell!" (three times) at them from the podium.

And that was before Palin even spoke.
Hartmann also trenchantly dissects how the corporate media frames its reports to give an inaccurate account of events with a slant that favors the right wing and status quo.
The true story of Sarah Palin's appearance in Madison was that, according to Hartmann,
"Palin was practically booed back to Wasilla."
But you wouldn't know that from watching the cable or evening news.

Palin Speaks at Tea Party Rally in Madison

MADISON, Wis. - At first, the prospect drew mildly worried looks from people on
both sides of this state's giant political divide: Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate, was to appear on the steps of this state's Capitol, the very place that has become a stage for demonstration after demonstration against Wisconsin's Republican-led efforts to cut collective bargaining rights.

What sort of tumult might this bring?
But there she was on Saturday afternoon, a throng of Tea Party supporters cheering her on and a throng of union supporters trying to shout them (and her) down. And in a way, it looked like just another day in Madison, a place already so polarized that even with the presence of Ms. Palin, a figure beloved and detested, people here seemed to go right on with the debate they had been having for months.

That was one more reminder of all the ways that the division over public workers,
union rights and budget cuts has pervaded life here since February - splitting friendships, affecting a nonpartisan Supreme Court race, setting off an unprecedented flurry of legislative recall efforts of both Democrats and Republicans, and even seeping into discussions about a local bratwurst festival.

Still, Ms. Palin's appearance offered one early hint at Wisconsin's rising significance in the presidential race ahead. The place has long been a battleground, politically divided, but what seems clear here now is that voters are especially energized, and that offers tantalizing prospects - on both sides.

"Madison, these are the front lines in the battle for the future of our country," Ms. Palin told the crowd. "This is where the line has been drawn in the sand, and I am proud to stand with you today in solidarity."

Later she added, "The 2012 election begins here."

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Mark Crispin Miller Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Mark's new book, Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008, a collection 14 essays on Bush/Cheney's election fraud since (and including) 2000, is just out, from Ig Publishing. He is also the author of Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform, which is now out in paperback (more...)
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