On April 15, I joined hundreds of thousands of everyday Americans across the nation at the tax day “tea party” protests. I wasn’t told to go there by Fox News or by billionaires or millionaires. But what if I had?
The mainstream media and the Democratic Party - one and the same these days - spent much of the last week furiously attacking the grass-roots tea party protest movement as somehow illegitimate - or worse.
Days before the uniformly peaceful and patriotic gatherings took place, Homeland Security czar Janet Napolitano conveniently issued a bizarre report slandering military veterans and assorted right-leaning groups as racist, homegrown terrorism threats.
News anchors resorted to prime-time “tea-bagging” jokes in frequent attempts to mock the participants’ grievances. On Keith Olbermann’s hate crime of a show on MSNBC, Janeane Garofalo fused two memes to declare tens of thousands of Americans as “tea-bagging rednecks.”
Multimillionaire House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed the rich. “This initiative is funded by the high end - we call it AstroTurf, it’s not really a grass-roots movement. It’s AstroTurf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class.” (Some dare call Madame Pelosi’s AstroTurf accusations projection - just no one in the traditional media.)
CNN reporter Susan Roesgen viciously interrogated a middle-aged man for attending a Chicago tea party with his 2-year-old child.
Norm, who wouldn’t give his full name for fear of media reprisal, cited President Lincoln when asked by Ms. Roesgen to describe why he attended the event.
Ms. Roesgen then tried to rebut: “Norm … do you realize that you’re eligible for a $400 credit?” she asked. “Did you know that the state of Lincoln gets $50 billion out of the stimulus? That’s $50 billion for this state, sir.”
Where but from the Democrat Party or the Obama administration could those arguments have come from? This was not journalism, it was politicking and intimidation. CNN has yet to reprimand its journalist and has attempted to scrub the Internet of the now-infamous video.
Think Norm was paranoid not to offer his full name? Not at all. Remember what happened to Joe the Plumber?
When Joe Wurzelbacher asked a question about taxes that candidate Barack Obama couldn’t answer, Democratic operatives attempted to destroy his reputation with the aid of their minions in the media.
During the last presidency, similar public expressions of citizen displeasure were enthusiastically promoted by the media and the Democrat Party. In fact, the Bush years were nothing short of an unprecedented, well-funded, permanent protest against a sitting wartime president.
“Dissent is patriotic” became the all-purpose rallying cry for an ascendant political left that learned it could take down a political party by publicly disagreeing with it over anything. Any suggestion of the illegitimacy of a single protest was met with cries of censorship and intimidation.
Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, in conjunction with the media and the organized left, codified this bizarre take on free speech when many of her fans decided to protest her complaints about President Bush in 2003.
“Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all,” Ms. Maines told a London concert crowd. “We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.”
When Dixie Chicks fans decided to stop buying her albums, Ms. Maines’ right to consumer support - not her right to dissent - was trampled.
Similarly, Tim Robbins warned, “A chill wind is blowing in this nation” - just as he and his common-law wife, Susan Sarandon, joined hundreds of thousands of Americans in free and open expressions of coordinated public dissent against the United States’ participation in the war on terrorism.
Never once did the media or the Democrat Party impugn the motives of anti-war-riors. In fact, white supremacist David Duke and much of the out-of-power white-power movement similarly rallied against the Iraq war. But the anti-war movement was not maligned, Napolitano-style, using guilt by association.
The freak show that was Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink was elevated by the media and elected Democratic officials despite their ties to well-heeled partisans and extremists.
George Soros took down currencies and countries in his pursuit of even more billions, but the media never called him on it. The radical left was given a pass for isolating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and small-money donors for public attack after Proposition 8 passed in California.
Norm and his fellow protesters and armed forces veterans join fellow everyday Americans like Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber in the Democratic playbook’s strategy of destruction by media. For years, this unholy alliance has gotten away with this and hurt our democracy.
I’m glad that the Democrat Media Complex took the tax day tea party protest personally. It should have. Its days are numbered.
• Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site www.breitbart.com and is co-author of “Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon - the Case Against Celebrity.”