The organizers of the latest round of Tea Party protests must be wondering whether the Fourth of July is the right time for political activism.
On a day usually reserved for barbecues, family outings and fireworks displays, the Tea Parties held at some 600 locations across the country appear to have drawn considerably fewer participants than the much-ballyhooed Tax Freedom Day protests on April 15.
Preliminary news reports from Saturday’s Tea Parties suggest public participation fell far short of the April protests. In Morristown, NJ, attendance was down by a third compared to this spring’s event. In Fort Lauderdale, FL, the Sun-Sentinel reports a crowd of “hundreds,” compared to an estimated 5,000 in April.
And in Syracuse, NY — where protesters waved the American flag upside-down — organizers had expected 1,000 people to show, but only 200 did.
Yet warm weather and patio parties may only be a part of the explanation. Unlike with the April protests, the Republican party’s establishment didn’t throw its weight behind this latest round of rallies.
“The between the official Republican establishment and the Tea Parties has not lasted into June,” writes the Washington Independent. “The RNC has no plans to get involved with any Tea Parties. A spokesman for [House minority leader] John Boehner (R-OH) … said that [Boehner's] holiday plans were private but would probably not include Tea Parties. [Newt] Gingrich will not attend any of the Tea Parties, although he recorded video messages for events in Birmingham and Nashville “at the request of the respective organizers’.”
Part of the reason for the more subdued atmosphere this time around may have had to do with the negative coverage the Tea Parties received in the media — Fox News excepted.
“There was a novelty last time that isn’t there now,” media analyst Seton Motley told the Independent. “Also, if you’re talking about the networks that made light of the Tea Parties back in April, they might have realized that opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s indifference.”
But it may be Fox News’ muted coverage this time around that explains much of the disparity between April’s protests and Saturday’s. The Independent notes that, in April, Fox sent five of its highest-profile anchors and correspondents on the road to cover the protests, but this time around, “sources at Fox … confirmed that no anchors would be attending and that the attendance and news value of the events looked to be lower than that of the April rallies.”
Tea Party organizers are already planning the next protest: A large “unity” rally in Washington, DC, on September 12, the day after the eighth anniversary of 9/11.
Source: Raw Story
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