A sparsely attended Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C., on March 31 in support of federal spending cuts received generous media attention. One report (Slate, 3/31/11) suggested there was “at least one reporter for every three or four activists,” and a Republican politician joked that there might be more journalists than activists at the event.
An antiwar rally in New York City on April 9 was in some respects very similar. Protesters were speaking out on an equally timely issue (wars in Afghanistan and Libya), and connecting them to the budget and near-government shutdown in Washington.
The difference? The ratio of activists to journalists. The antiwar protest had thousands of attendees–and received almost zero corporate media coverage.
The ongoing construction of the Tea Party as a massive movement of so-called Real Americans continues apace, as does the disappearing of dissent from the left. The media here is not only filtering but using information to create a narrative, absorbing uncertainty and transforming it into what “they say” and “everybody knows.” Luhmann meets Simon & March… (to be continued after finals)
h/t Mytwords at Correntewire