The Washington Times - April 17, 2009, 11:23AM


So the Tea Party protests seemed to have been a success despite some concerted efforts to attack them. With more than a quarter-million participants and a message sent so clearly to the Obama administration, President Obama couldn’t even bring himself to utter the words “tea party,” on Tax Day.

The true test of course will come in the “what’s next.” Determining just what has been accomplished and whether the outcry translates into action on the part of the government and constituents. In the meantime there will be much bantering about what did and didn’t work, do-overs and disasters. Much of that  is already taking place. In fact, one certain disaster that likely won’t get a do-over is how some in the mainstream media portrayed the protesters. In a word — shameful.

As someone who has spent the better part of my adult life, 14 years, as journalist — I was appalled at how one now infamous CNN correspondent ridiculed and antagonized the very people she was charged with “objectively” covering. I don’t care how you actually feel about who or what your assignment is, it’s not your job as a reporter to inject yourself and provide your own personal walking commentary. The point is to report and let the viewer decide. I learned that in Journalism 101 and adhered to it my entire career as a reporter. Now, speaking as a partisan commentator, I can say the whole ordeal was way too patronizing and partisan even for my taste.

And it’s actually kinda funny, if not ironic, since the whole violent window-breaking protesters of the G20 Summit were described by the same (and other) networks as “mostly peaceful.” The unruly were “truly concerned” about the state of the economy, just a few dissidents were making it look bad for the rest, they reported. Meanwhile, the very peaceful, non-violent tea party protesters — who vastly outnumbered the G20 crowd — were instantly met by hostile talk show hosts, reporters trying to push an agenda and overall ranting ridicule for being “right wing” (code for nutballs.) Yet, the majority of the Tea Party participants were simply everyday Americans fed up with the bailouts and massive government spending by both Republicans and Democrats. 

By the stretch of anyone’s imagination, that’s a news story, not spin. Like it or not. Leave the commentary to the commentators.

Tara Wall is a deputy editor at The Washington Times and editor of