Saturday, April 18, 2009

German Snark: With Tea

I made my weekly trip to Watching America a day early because I got home yesterday a couple of hours early and had some time to kill before starting supper and brooding about having to put some weekend hours in at the office. Actually, the trip was a real pick-me-up. I found some delicious humor from a new source: Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The op-ed piece by Moritz Koch had the kind of header that I couldn't resist: "Tea Parties: Somewhere Between Hysteria and Utter Foolishness."

Why, yes. I believe that summary nails it quite nicely.

The article itself presents a precis that supports the headline, from the mixed and therefore muddied message of the protest (something we liberals get accused of all the time, and with good reason), to who showed and who didn't (Newt Gingrich and John Boehner were present; Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin were not), to who covered the events and who didn't. It was the last which I especially appreciated, because I think those of us of the liberal persuasion who spend entirely too many of our waking hours on line might not have fully appreciated the fact that in terms of column inches and prime time minutes, most outlets had other news to cover.

Conservative strategists worked for weeks toward this day, spurred on by the producers of Fox News, the right-wing television channel that damns Obama as either a malicious socialist (when dealing with tax matters) or a political wuss (when dealing with rogue states).

Nothing could be left to chance, nobody should escape hearing the anguished cries of the upstanding, so Fox News dispatched its horde of reporters to snuffle out every tea party, regardless how small and insignificant. A U.S. map covered with red dots showed the locations of every protest from sea to shining sea, and Fox News moderators were near at hand, on the spot, whether in San Antonio, New York or Sacramento.

Protest TV is nothing new in the U.S. The Rupert Murdoch channels have been practicing it for years, but this time they were joined by liberal MSNBC, which mobilized nearly as many forces as Fox (but only to make Fox look silly, of course). The other networks mainly ignored the whole tea party tempest.

Mr. Moritz didn't count all the electrons spun by the right wing blogs or the left wing blogs (for that matter), but his summary of the MSM coverage was pretty accurate.

The coup de grace, however, was the Mr. Moritz's summary of the response of the DC villagers:

The powers that be in Washington don’t seem interested in paying much attention to the protest. And why should they? An opposition that alternates between hysteria and outright foolishness while engaged in trench warfare against itself is always welcome.

It is, I suppose, unfortunate that another instance of citizens' protest against what they perceive is an insensitive and uncaring government getting treated shabbily by our government and its minions gets ignored. However, I admit to an unseemly glee that the brethren to our right are getting a dose of the medicine mercilessly shoved down liberals' throats for decades.

If even the most generous estimates are correct, 250,000 people engaged in tea bagging on April 15th (sorry, I've restrained myself long enough). That's 0.5% of the American public. The main stream media couldn't be bothered with documenting the millions of Americans who protested the Iraq war, so why should they be bothered with this? Besides, the real power players weren't involved, at least by Villager estimation, and it's not an election year.



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Blogger Marcellina said...


We like the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

3:13 AM  

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