The battle in Madison, Wis., between new Gov. Scott Walker and the public-sector union hacks offers an amazing study in journalistic double standards. The same national media that have spent the last two years drawing devil's horns and Klan hoods on the tea party protesters have switched sides with lightning speed. In the Wisconsin protesters, they find sweetness and light, "hope and change."
From her Sunday soapbox, ABC host Christiane Amanpour snobbishly deplored the tea party as not conservative but as "extreme" last fall. In a special "town hall" episode of her show on the ground zero mosque debate, she accused an incredulous Gary Bauer of encouraging vandalism at a Tennessee mosque because somehow Christian rhetoric is offensive. The accusation itself was offensive because it was entirely baseless.
Yet in Wisconsin, the exact opposite happened. Amanpour took the extreme, vicious and wholly offensive signs comparing Gov. Walker to Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak and embraced them as geopolitically accurate: "People power making history: A revolt in the Midwest and a revolution sweeping across the Middle East." She touted how "populist frustration is boiling over this week."
This is politically perverse. Last November, Wisconsin registered one of the most dramatic rejections of the Democrats in the entire country. Sen. Russ Feingold, once considered a shoo-in for re-election, was not only defeated; he was crushed by 100,000 votes. Polls convinced Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle to avoid running for re-election, paving the way for Walker. And the GOP swept into both houses, defeating both state Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker and Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan at the polls. The Republican Party was so successful that Wisconsin GOP leader Reince Priebus was elected as the national party chairman.
What incredible gall for the national media to try to transform Wisconsin from conservative juggernaut to Egyptian dictatorship in a heartbeat. Their political imagination (or delusion) is just staggering, completely ignoring the election returns. Liberals were crushed by the voters, and now they dare to put themselves in the "people power" category? This is reality turned upside down.
But it isn't just electoral reality that's been mangled. Where, oh where, are the media lectures on civility now? The same media that roundly and repeatedly condemned Sarah Palin for daring to put cross hairs on a congressional district -- not on congressional faces, but on counties -- now have absolutely nothing to say as protester signs put Gov. Walker's face in cross hairs with the words: "Don't Retreat, Reload: Repeal Walker." Another held a sign saying, "Political Death to Tyrants."