Americans need only to open the daily newspaper or turn on the nightly news in order to see the media’s double standard. Each day we continue to hear that the Occupy Wall Street movement’s hijacked the slogan of “the 99%” which has been forced it into our lexicon and the media’s daily lingo. And almost comically, Time Magazine has decided that “The Protester” is to be “The Person of the Year.”
Mary Katharine Ham, writer and editor at the Daily Caller, Weekly Standard and Townhall, reminds us to travel back in time to appreciate the media double standard as she points out that:
“Obamacare critics flooding town halls to make their dissent known had been called ‘extremist mobs’ by the Democratic National Committee, pawns of the insurance industry by Senator Dick Durbin, ‘un-American’ by Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, ‘brownshirts’ by Representative Brian Baird of Washington, ‘manufactured’ and ‘Astroturf’ by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, ‘evilmongers’ by Senator Harry Reid, accused of ‘fear-mongering’ by the president, and been deemed ‘political terrorists’ by Representative Baron Hill of Indiana.”
During the Tea Party’s peak, the media seemed to inflame the rhetoric and acted as if the Tea Party movement was about to toss America into revolutionary violence. Despite the denigrating rhetoric and descriptions of the Tea Party movement in the media, there were few arrests or acts of violence. While many commentaries have expressed that both movements were birthed from anger over the nation’s bailouts and perceived unfairness, each group has used vastly different tactics in pushing forward their agendas.
Why have the mainstream media vilified the peaceful Tea Party all the while praising and celebrating Occupy Wall Street despite violence, clashes with police, and general lawlessness. Tea Party organizations and rallies were initially ignored by the press and then dismissed as radical zealots as the Occupy Wall Street crowd was immediately recognized as leading the voice of “the 99%.”
Our national media should be held accountable for their performance, just like any other institution. We need to remind the media of their profound obligation to provide the American people with the facts, rather than tell them what to think.
The Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements may both have legitimate grievances with our country, but distorting their images does not move us towards positive solutions. We can work together to increase awareness of bias in the media and encourage Americans to confront it and demand fair reporting.