If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? It's a philosophical conundrum that progressives activists agonize over daily. Since the overreaches of the Bush administration, conscientious
April 19, 2011

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

It's a philosophical conundrum that progressives activists agonize over daily. Since the overreaches of the Bush administration, conscientious progressives have protested, marched, signed petitions, called representatives and fought constantly against the rightward push of politics in the country.

But the media coverage of this true grassroots activism has always been somewhat tepid, if acknowledged at all.

Not so the case of tea party rallies. Its origins--purportedly over Rick Santelli's rant on the floor of the Stock Exchange--have never been truly grassroots, the corporate underwriters just hidden under folksy-named 501 (c)(4)s. Their message and issues have always been muddled (Taxed Enough Already? Didn't the middle class all just get a tax cut? What are they bitching about then?) and laced with an uncomfortable undercurrent of racism. Despite the ignorance of the protestors (Get the Government Out Of My Medicare!) and openly violent rhetoric and racist aspects, the media LOVED the tea party rallies, covering them exhaustively.

One would think that there was only one side of this equation. But as Rachel points out in the video above, the progressive protests never stopped, they just were discounted, dismissed and ignored. I hope at least in small part to the realization that the tea baggers they put in office are pushing legislation that will really hurt them in long run, tea party support is dwindling:

A listing of events on the umbrella group Trea Party Patriots’ website for Monday and Friday showed a total of 145 events — the same listing shows 638 events on tax day 2010. Notably, there was also no tax day tea party rally in Washington, D.C. this year, unlike in years past.

And in dozens of state capitals and major cities across the country, turnout at rallies on Monday and Friday (the typical tax day of April 15) was down precipitously from last year, as a small sampling from ThinkProgress’ analysis shows:

– Albuquerque, NM: From “thousands” in 2010 to “dozens” in 2011.

– Boston, MA: From “several thousand” in 2010 to 300 in 2011. While last year’s rally featured Sarah Palin, this year’s featured Tim Pawlenty.

– Chicago, IL: From “at least 1,500” in 2010 to “[s]everal hundred” in 2011.

– Columbia, SC: From “more than 1,000” in 2010 to “a paltry 300” in 2011, even though this year’s rally featured Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) while last year’s featured disgraced former governor Mark Sanford.

– Denver, CO: From 2,000 in 2010 to “hundreds” in 2011. Friday’s rally was “nothing like the thousands who mobbed the Capitol lawn in previous years,” the AP noted.

– Des Moines, IA: From 700 in 2010 to 340 in 2011. 2009′s rally drew 3,000.

– Hartford, CT: From 1,200 in 2010 to 700 in 2011, even though Hartford was the only city hosting rallies this year, while there were rallies in three Connecticut cities last year.

– Indianapolis, IN: From 2,000 in 2010 to “hundreds” in 2011.

– Lansing, MI: From “more than 1,000” in 2010 to 300 in 2011 in front of Michigan’s Capitol. In 2009, a rally at the same spot drew 4,000.

– Pittsburgh, PA: From 2,000 in 2010 to 500 in 2011.

– Sacramento, CA: From “2,000 to 3,000” in 2010 to a “light turnout” of several dozen. 2009′s tax day rally at the Capitol brought out 5,000.

– St. Paul, MN: From “more than 500” in 2010 to “dozens” in 2011.

Tulsa, OK: From “several thousand” in 2010 to “less than 30” in 2011. “The turnout was a far cry from the 5,000 who showed up to a similar event on April 15 two years ago outside the Capitol,” the Tulsa World notes.

ThinkProgress could also find no media reports of Tea Party rallies this year in several cities which hosted large rallies last year, such as Houston, TX and Atlanta, GA, which saw rallies of 6,000 and 3,000, respectively, in 2010.

Yet one only needed to tune in to Fox or CNN last weekend to see lavish attention paid to the teabaggers, with little to no acknowledgment of the reality that counter-protesters outnumbered teabaggers.

The good news is that Americans by and large are ignoring the narratives being driven by the corporate media. Attendance at progressive rallies have not diminished at all...even when called thugs in the media .

The bad news is that the media doesn't want you or anyone else to know it.

What will it take for the media to stop paying such disproportionate attention to the teabaggers and start listening to the rest of us?

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.