When Sarah Palin took the stage in Madison, it looked like she was trying to shout down a hurricane. That’s how loud the booing was, from a crowd in which the people come to tell her off outnumbered her supporters two to one.

That’s what was happening, but the corporate press just couldn’t, wouldn’t see it—just as they’ve never seen, or let us see, how small—-and, therefore, how unrepresentative—the “Tea Party” really is. Unfailingly, the press either depicts that fringe as a bare majority (when the latter have just “won” an election), or imagines a perfect “divide,” 50/50, the people split right down the middle, like a halved apple.

Case in point, and as a perfect illustration of Mark Karlin’s argument below, is (below that) the New York Times‘s supercilious coverage of La Palin’s storm-tossed aria in Madison. There are many things to hate about that piece (note how the reporter, Monica Davey, uses the word “tantalizing”), but what is most egregious is its groundless picture of the crowd precisely riven into two equal-and-opposite (and equally amusing) “throngs.”


“Palin Was Practically Booed Back to Wasilla” By Pro-Union Protesters in Madison, Wisconsin

Why do Tea Party rallies get so much media attention, even when their gatherings appear to be shrinking in size?

That is because the corporate mainstream media has a bias toward covering protests from the right, but virtually ignores progressive crowds. This was recently evidenced by the scant national coverage given to the unprecedented anti-Scott Walker protests of up to 100,000 people in the relatively small city of Madison.

So, when Sarah Palin appeared in Madison on Saturday, April 16, it was not surprising that CNN described her as “energizing” the crowd, even though she could barely be heard much beyond the “feed” mike – the boos and chants of disapproval were that loud from the protesters.

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