WASHINGTON – Driving in to the Tea Party rally on April 15, I was listening to CBS radio news, whose correspondent talked about “the 3,000 people” there and their quaint concerns. His tone was, at best, patronizing.
Perhaps he was talking about an earlier Tea Party Express rally at Freedom Plaza, because the one I saw near the Washington Monument across from the White House was far larger than 3,000, or even the 20,000 at the Capitol last November opposing the health care takeover. This crowd, replete with countless signs, Uncle Sam hats and hundreds of Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and T-shirts, was, I estimate, between 30,000 and 40,000 – on a weekday evening.
Too bad President Obama was out of town. He certainly came in for a lot of mentions, not all of them favorable. Okay, I can’t actually recall any favorable mentions.
The CBS reporter’s tone came home to me while listening to speaker and New Media mogul Andrew Breitbart explain how the media have smeared the Tea Party movement. First, they ignored them, he said. Then, they carried stories of alleged racist and anti-gay comments at congressmen who walked across the Capitol grounds with Nancy Pelosi and her giant gavel en route to passing the health care takeover.
Breitbart, who runs several Websites including breitbart.com, BigHollywood.com and BigGovernment.com, has offered $100,000 to anyone with video proof of the alleged remarks. “I started at $10,000, and then I realized – they don’t have it. They don’t have any tape,” he said. So he upped it to $20,000, and then to $100,000.
Breitbart noted that the Democrat lawmakers had marched unnecessarily close to the protesters, and that one of them flashed a defiant ‘V’ sign. He said this was a tactic out of the playbook of radical organizer Saul Alinsky, who counseled followers to provoke reactions that could be used to discredit opponents. But curiously, even with heavy media of all kinds and hundreds of cell phones that take video, no one has come up with proof of the alleged offenses.
Now that this ploy has failed, Breitbart said, the next tactic will be to patronize the movement. Instead of Nazi-like bigots, Tea Party folks will be portrayed as essentially harmless imbeciles – which is how the CBS report sounded.