Alisa Valdes on Tea Party vs immigration rights coverage: "the news media’s love of white country folk is bottomless"


Four years ago, when literally millions of Americans took to the streets to support the human and civil rights of immigrants and, by association in the public mind, Latinos, the news media scarcely covered the marches - even though they’d drawn larger crowds than any other marches in the history of the nation, including the oft-dramatized “halmark” culture-changing protests over the Vietnam War.

Fast forward four years, to the Tea Party Convention, which boasted all of 600 registrants and one “we-tahd” hand-scribbler from Wasila, and the contrast in news media coverage is astonishing. The news media - including progressive talk radio and blogs - have been crowing about the big Tea Party “movement” for days now. USA Today has taken a poll about a Tea Party candidate’s viability in presidential elections.

In short, what we are seeing is a mind-boggling double-standard, and a wholehearted swallowing of right-wing propaganda as fact, in an American news media whose mathematics deem 1 Tea Party member to be greater than 4000 human rights marchers.

I always appreciate analyses that attempt to look behind the headlines, ask and even explain why something is a headline in the first place. Alisa Valdes provides just such a thing and dares to challenge the notion that the Tea Party "movement" is a movement at all.

She does this by comparing it to the much larger demonstrations by Latinos across the nation who marched for immigrant rights in 2006. Valdes's post is full of some good zingers but more than that, she reminds us that the stories we hear aren't simply based on the events behind them, but they're made by the people who tell them and who so often choose not to tell something else.