Disingenuous Reporting at the Washington Post

The headline reads: “NAACP backs report that ties racist groups to tea party.“1 Say what? Is this implying that the Tea Party is tied to racists? Because that’s the conclusion I would draw from this headline if I were merely skimming the news this morning. Scandalous. Let’s read a little.

“A new report, backed by the NAACP, has found what it says are efforts by white nationalist groups and militias to link themselves to the tea party movement.“1 Oh, well that’s not quite the same is it? If this sentence is taken on it’s face it merely implicates the groups themselves, rather than the Tea Party. Except that in the next paragraph it states that the report claims “that tea party events have become a forum for extremists ‘hoping to push these (white) protesters toward a more self‐conscious and ideological white supremacy.’ ”1

A little further down you find out that the report isn’t necessarily concerned with the movement as a whole, rather it’s focused on the smaller county level groups that can be more easily infiltrated by these racist, nefarious groups. 2

It isn’t until you find yourself still sort of reading the article near the end of the first page that you get a Tea Party member defending themselves:

The national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, one of the groups mentioned in the report, said the report’s claims were not credible. “The Tea Party has only articulated three core values for the entire movement,” said Jenny Beth Martin. “They are limited government, fiscal responsibility and support for free markets. Everything we say and do is in support of these values. There is no credible method of making these values racist.“1

Plain and simple, that’s what motivates these guys. I call this disingenuous reporting because the headline and story structure make it easy for an individual to conclude that yes, yes indeed these Tea Partiers are associated with some racist scum. Not only that, but evidence pointing to a conclusion other than racist collusion is placed on the second page, almost the last paragraph:

Other analysts who have begun to study the burgeoning political force have come to the opposite conclusion. A report on political signs displayed at a tea party rally in Washington last month found that the vast majority of activists expressed narrow concerns about the government’s economic and spending policies and steered clear of the racially charged anti‐Obama messages that have helped define some media coverage of such events.

BAM! In your face (if you made it this far) defense of the movement.

It’s pretty clear that what motivates opposition to the Progressive Democrat agenda is purely related to disagreement over policy. I’m no Tea Partier, but I’ve been around enough of them to draw this conclusion without any hesitation.

I’m tired of Democrats painting these sorts of pictures of opposition to their ideas. And the media is happy to spin the same yarn. Good God am I tired of it.

  1. Thompson, Krissah. NAACP backs report that ties racist groups to tea party. Accessed 10/21/2010.
  2. One should probably note that the Tea Party has no official structure or organization. They are loosely related groups with a common set of principles. This Washington Post articles leans towards implicating the lot of them when that should not be the case