Tea party groups criticize media coverage of ‘Occupy Wall Street’

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Activists affiliated with the tea party movement say they’re witnessing a double standard in the way the media is covering the “Occupy Wall Street” protests compared to the tea party.

“It’s almost laughable,” said Sal Russo, a strategist with the California-based group Tea Party Express, in an interview.

While reporters at first didn’t always cover tea party rallies, Russo said, a California newspaper has recently been putting stories about the Occupy Wall Street on its front page.

“The Sacramento Bee actually had a front-page story before the rally, telling people where it was and what time it was,” Russo said.

An official at FreedomWorks, the Washington, D.C.-based group that has organized tea party rallies since the movement burst onto the scene in 2009, said the media has been ignoring negative features of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests while it played up dubious charges against conservative activists last year.

“I think it’s kind of funny that the media talked about alleged things that the tea party guys did that were never proven,” spokesman Adam Brandon told The Daily Caller. “Then you have pictures of these guys getting arrested and confronting officers and now they’re being celebrated.” (RELATED: TheDC’s Jamie Weinstein: Unlike the tea party, ‘Occupy Wall Street’ will fail)

Mark Meckler, the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, struck a similar note, saying that when the tea party protests first began, “we were ignored, mocked, and then attacked by the media” and “called ‘Astroturf,’ ‘fringe,’ ‘racists’ and ‘Nazis.’”

“Yet today, the leftist media seemingly cheers for a group of lawbreaking miscreants who have openly committed a variety of illegal acts,” Meckler said.

Said Brandon: “Of course, you hear about the guy who got arrested throwing a shoe at the White House. I heard they were pepper-spraying people down at the Smithsonian. I have yet to hear a story about a tea partier ever doing that.”

And Judson Phillips, the leader of the Tennessee-based group Tea Party Nation, said the “media’s coverage of Occupy Wall Street has been almost totally positive to the point of glossing over some serious issues.”

While there have been news stories about some of the more negative attributes of the Occupy Wall Street protests, these conservative activists say it’s nothing in comparison to the scrutiny the media applied to tea partiers.

“While a number of people have been arrested and there is even a photo of a protester defecating on a police car, there still is no really negative coverage from the mainstream media,” Phillips said.

“Meanwhile, protesters in New York had a photoshopped image of the decapitated head of the chairman of Goldman Sachs on a pike and no one seems to be talking about that,” he said.

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