Over at Reason.com, A. Barton Hinkle is the latest to notice an odd discrepancy between the media coverage of left-wing protests and that of right-wing protests:
Boy, those sure have been some mighty peaceful protests against government budget cuts in Greece, haven’t they? You bet they have—at least if you ignore the rock-throwing, fire-setting, window-smashing, and blood-spilling.
Which, it seems clear, a lot of major news organs would like to do. According to one story in The Wall Street Journal, the demonstrations “began peacefully.” According to another, last week Constitution Square in Athens “seethed with indignant, but peaceful, demonstrators.”
“The day began noisily but peacefully,” intoned The New York Times on Wednesday. The Washington Post likewise observed that “a peaceful protest . . . quickly degenerated into violence.” Reuters reported that, regardless of “clashes between stone-throwing masked youths and riot police . . . thousands of peaceful protesters demonstrated against the austerity plan.”
Sure, blood was spilled. But don’t blame the protesters.
Whereas if you go to a Tea Party and accidentally step on somebody’s foot, Brian Williams will lead off with it. It’s all “ugly mood” this and “angry mob” that, despite a distinct lack of broken windows, tear gas-scattered crowds, and all the other stuff that’s bad unless lefties are involved.
Hinkle has a theory about this:
It’s obvious what happened: big-government bias. To much of the establishment media, a preference for limited government is a dangerous idea. Ergo, its supporters must be dangerous, too. But liberals don’t find a preference for big government threatening, so they view its supporters as non-threatening as well.
The media speaks truth to power. Unless they like those in power, in which case they try to marginalize dissent against that power. They stand up for the little guy, unless the little guy would prefer to keep more of his own money and more of his own liberty. If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem, and they think they’re the ones who decide which is which.
If you agree with a group of protesters you’re reporting about, whatever they do is justified. If you disagree with them, nothing they do can be justified. File the story, cash the paycheck, watch your audience dwindle. Repeat.