CNN.com has an article on its website extolling the virtues of the Coffee Party. The glowing language the piece uses to describe the movement stands in stark contrast to the cable network's treatment of Tea Party groups over the past year.
CNN doesn't like the Tea Party movement, that much is clear. The cable network's on-air staff and guests have proclaimed it an "anti-government" group of "recession-raging conservatives" and "wimpy, whiny, weasels who don't love their country." The movement has a "dark undercurrent" and a "racial tinge" and is occasionally lumped in with domestic terrorists and neo-Nazis.
It is plain now that CNN harbors no such ill will towards the Coffee Party, which reporter Jessica Ravitch described as just a bunch of everyday Americans gathering to express their dissatisfaction with the political status quo (gee, that sounds a lot like the Tea Party movement, but I digress).
Eric at Vocal Minority notes that CNN's political slant was evident just in the pictures they decided to use:
Unlike CNN footage of the Tea Parties, which featured red-faced angry yelling white people carrying signs that “provoked violence” and even caused people to worry about President Hope&Change’s physical safety [example], the photos of the Coffee Party members are all rosy and smiley. Message: These people may not be greedy corporate CEO’s, or gun- and Bible-clingers who are pissed off there’s a black man in the White House. They’re just simple Americans and they caaaare.
So begins CNN's puff piece:
Meet these members of the Coffee Party Movement, an organically grown, freshly brewed push that's marking its official kickoff Saturday. Across the country, even around the globe, they and other Americans in at least several hundred communities are expected to gather in coffeehouses to raise their mugs of java to something new.
Please, please stop with the coffee metaphors. It's was cute in the headline, but CNN has succeeded, in only the second paragraph, in turning "Coffee Party" in into an overwrought cliche.
But at least the CNN pun machine stopped short of sexual innuendo. The Tea Party was not so lucky.
They're professionals, musicians and housewives. They're frustrated liberal activists, disheartened conservatives and political newborns. They're young and old, rich and poor, black, white and all shades of other.
Of course anyone who has ever been to a Tea Party is now yelling at his or her computer screen. As they surely know, Tea Parties are chock-full of frustrated conservative activists and disheartened liberals, and protesters of all demographics. The vast majoity have never been as active politically as they are now.
Born on Facebook just six weeks ago, the group boasts more than 110,000 fans, as of Friday morning. The Coffee Party is billed by many as an answer to the Tea Party (more than 1,000 fewer fans), a year-old protest movement that's steeped in fiscal conservatism and boiling-hot, anti-tax rhetoric.
Really? Facebook fans? Since when is that a measure of a (non-digital) group's popularity? CNN didn't see fit to mention here that Tea Party groups have staged rallies with hundreds of thousands of attendees, influenced the outcomes of major elections, and hosted prominent public figures at their events. Might that be a more meaningful indicator of the group's prominence than the number of people who have clicked "Like" on a Facebook page?
And of course the rhetoric is "boiling hot," since, you know, boiling water is bad. It can burn you. The language Tea Partyers use is not "spirited" or "determined" or "enthusiastic". Those terms would all imply that they are civilized people with meaningful objections, and of course CNN wouldn't want to give readers that impression.
This new group calls for civility, objects to obstructionism and demands that politicians be held accountable to the people who put them in office.
At this point in the article, readers are probably wondering which White House press release the author plagiarized.
Then come the profiles of the Coffee Party organizers. They are pretty much what you'd expect, complete with attempts to link the Coffee Party to the civil rights movement and to distress with evil Wall Street banks.
But more telling than the people that are mentioned is one person who is not: Annabel Park, the founder of the Coffee Party movement (I really hate calling it a movement since so far all it is is a Facebook group). Park is a former United for Obama organizer and operative.
This isn't the first time that CNN has ignored the liberal Democratic roots of the Coffee Party "movement." Doing so allows CNN to trumpet the group around as a non-partisan, non-ideological answer to the evil, racist Tea Partyers.
But at least last time CNN mentioned Park. In the most recent piece on the Coffee Party, she is completely absent.
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