Last week (sorry for not getting to this sooner), one of the big stories was the many “tea party protests” around the nation. These were held, mostly by financial conservatives, on April 15 (“Tax Day”) to “voice their opposition to out of control spending at all levels of government.” The protests were in large part promulgated by grassroots, online efforts, including several blogs.
As tends to be the case when large groups of people gather in coordinated events around the nation, this was covered by most mainstream media outlets. One of those outlets, CNN, sent reporter Susan Rosen to cover one of the rallies in Chicago.
Rosen’s report from the scene was, regardless of one’s views of the rally, disappointing at best. Her tone sounded condescending, she was argumentative with a person she was interviewing and insinuated that the rallies were being driven by conservative cable news network Fox News.
Needless to say, this did not sit well with many of the Tea Party supporters. One of them confronted Rosen after the segment and began to excoriate her. A video camera from conservative blog Founding Bloggers was on hand to capture the exchange.
As you can tell, the people on the ground did not appreciate what they perceived to be a hit job of sorts. The woman on the right tries to (loudly) explain to Rosen the purpose of the rallies and excoriates her for, in the protester’s mind, misrepresenting the proceedings.
What is interesting to me and germane to the point of this project is how the blogosphere policed the mainstream media. The major network account was both blatantly opinionated and, in some cases, misrepresented the facts of the event (its purpose, how it was promoted, etc.). But a blogger (or associate of a blogger) with a
camera was able to look deeper into the situation and provide a bigger picture, one where we see the reaction from the people on the ground, and we are given a context that suggests that perhaps what was reported was not ENTIRELY accurate.
Obviously, it should be taken into account that these conservative blogs all wrote about the incident, reflecting on it through their red-colored-glasses. But what can’t be denied is how one blog with a camera was able to at least partially, in the eyes of some, undermine an established media report with some hard work on their own part.
Just in case you were curious, liberal blog Huffington Post’s reporting and commentary was decidedly opinionated. (Give the headlines a glimpse. From “descent to madness” to “kooks,” it’s quite clear how the story was played there.) This includes people who are bylined as “Reporting from DC.”