Joyce L. Arnold: Liberal, lesbian, Independent, equality activist, writer.
At Media Matters, Will Bunch asks the “where’s the Tea Party” question in The Tea Party, Right-Wing Media, And The Dog That Didn’t Bark article.
You could make the argument that the Tea Party movement is the most potent force in American politics today. …
But here’s the weird thing – if the Tea Party is really such a powerhouse of political influence … where has it been recently?
Among other things, Bunch questions what happened to the thousands who attended the rally at the National Mall organized by Glenn Beck, and for that matter, what happened to Glenn Beck?
… there’s no question that the so-called Tea Party philosophy is fueling the discussion in Washington and in the media these days … . But the bizarre thing is that this ongoing influence seems to be playing out against a broad canvas that seems to be missing the existence of an actual Tea Party.
Did the Tea Party become, in that famous Sherlock Holmesian expression, the dog that did not bark?
For the most part, yes. So what was all that barking that woke America up in the middle of the night?
It was the right-wing media, and its echoes, that you heard.
Bunch argues that the “anger and fear among a segment of the middle class … decimated by the decline of the U.S. economy” was real, but was “hijacked” by
a band of high-def hucksters, starting with media stars and their bosses seeking ratings, attention, and cash … . The behind-the-scene billionaires eager to save their oligarchy, and the craven politicians that they own, piled on later. …
One reason that the Tea Party is fading is that Fox is no longer promoting it aggressively, especially not since Beck departed at the start of this summer. And more importantly, the Tea Party would not have burst onto the scene in the first place without Ailes’ Rupert Murdoch-owned network playing such a large part in creating it.
Now back to the Holmesian dog:
But here’s the funny — OK, actually not that funny — thing. The chaos unleashed by Fox and friends on the American political system during those two years of the Obama backlash is going to be with us for a long, long time. …
And now comes Roger Ailes to essentially tell us that the whole thing was a politically motivated ratings gimmick.
And yet the Beltway pundits and the politicians still can’t realize or admit that the Tea Party was at its brief peak just a 26 percent tail wagging the American dog … or that the dog stopped barking.
Well, politics – especially national politics – is all about marketing a brand. Who creates and designs the brand … there’s a question.