Saturday’s Tea Party Express event in the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was downplayed by much of the media — perhaps because the only incidents of violent behavior among the large crowd seemed to come from angry supporters of Mr. Reid. Following a week in which charges and countercharges about which side in the health care debate has engaged in more objectionable rhetoric, the media’s treatment of the Tea Party event in Searchlight, Nev. was curious.
There was virtually no reports of eggs being hurled at the Tea Party buses or the threat of physical violence against Breitbart. I agree Mr. Fund, that is curious.
CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield certainly didn’t think the crowd was worth much of a mention, estimating that only “hundreds of people, at least dozens of people,” turned out for it. By contrast, Politco.com concluded that the event drew “as estimated 20,000 Tea Partiers” to a windswept desert lot.
I can attest that “hundreds of people, at least dozens” was a real understatement. When I left, before Palin stopped speaking, I waded through a sea of people. No question, there were thousands. But it works so much better as part of their narrative to understate and underestimate the numbers. Tea party people must be marginalized to the few thousand viewers that CNN and MSNBC have.
Andrew Breitbart, the conservative Internet entrepreneur who was one of several speakers at the rally, says the crowd was large enough that it raised the ire of local Reid supporters. He noticed one man holding a sign directing Tea Parties in the wrong direction. When Mr. Breitbart approached to chat with the Reid supporters, he saw several throwing eggs at the Tea Party Express buses. The protesters, he says, quickly surrounded him, including one who declared: “I’m going to have to go to jail today if this guy [Breitbart] doesn’t leave.”
These people have taken on a mob mentality, one that tea partiers don’t have. It’s frightening to think what could happen if only one had taken some kind of action against Breitbart.
“It’s unsettling to see them use threats and provocation like this,” he told me. He was especially peeved at what he witnessed given what he said were the unconfirmed accusations hurled at Tea Party protestors last week in Washington, including that some had used ugly and violent language against members of the Congressional Black Caucus. On stage at the Searchlight event, Mr. Breitbart offered to donate $100,000 to charity if anyone could provide video evidence that racial epithets were used against CBC members. Mr. Breitbart says he suspects the accusations were just a cynical attempt by the left and elements of the media to “marginalize” the Tea Party movement.
These congressmen took the deliberate and provocative step of doing their own mini “march on Selma” in order to make it a civil rights issue. It was an unnecessary move to do nothing but be provocative and to do nothing more than incite the protesters further. And really, does any of this rise to the level of Kenneth Gladney being beaten up by men dressed in SEIU shirts and also called the n-word? No it does not but no one is covering that story or the one of the man who got his finger bitten off at a rally, either. Neither of those stories got any national coverage but allegedly spitting on a congressman has turned into a major national event. But you know what? Congressmen and senators are not any more important than I am. I really don’t care what they were allegedly called or whether one was spit on. I no longer have any reverence or respect for the office they have held and tainted.
If so, it doesn’t seem to be working. The stage at the Nevada event was crowded with notables, including Sarah Palin. She brought cheers from attendees when she proclaimed that voters in the November election would fire Harry Reid. She added: “There’s something not quite right when Fidel Castro comes out and says he likes ObamaCare when we don’t.”
Another speaker was Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons, who told the audience: “Voters don’t want to see the Constitution trampled. They are angry, they deserve to be listened to and this is going to be heard nationally.”
No, Governor Gibbons, we do not deserve to be listened to. We demand it.