What CNN saw at the Tea Party

posted at 2:20 pm on April 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The media meme of the “Tea Party is nothing more than angry white men” continues to disintegrate under close scrutiny.  After two pollsters (one Gallup) revealed that the demographics of the Tea Party movement closely parallels that of Americans in general, CNN decided to embed itself in the long series of events taking place in April.  Shannon Travis reports that the Tea Party does indeed look like America — and the only bigotry he encountered was over his rental-car choice:

But here’s what you don’t often see in the coverage of Tea Party rallies: Patriotic signs professing a love for country; mothers and fathers with their children; African-Americans proudly participating; and senior citizens bopping to a hip-hop rapper.

Last week, I saw all of this during a five-city Western swing as the Tea Party Express national tour made its way across the country. CNN was along for the ride, and I was charged with planning CNN’s coverage for five stops in two states: St. George, Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah; and Grand Junction and Denver, Colorado. …

Together, we beamed out images of the anger and the optimism, profiled African-Americans who are proud to be in the Tea Party’s minority and showed activists stirred by “God Bless America” or amused by a young rapper who strung together rhymes against the president and Democrats. …

Being at a Tea Party rally is not quite like seeing it on TV, in newspapers or online. That’s the reason CNN is covering this political movement — and doing so in ways few others can or choose to do.

It is important to show the colorful anger Americans might have against elected leaders and Washington. But people should also see the orange-vested Tea Party hospitality handlers who welcome you with colorful smiles.

Travis, an African-American producer from a high-profile mainstream media outlet (one that routinely disparaged attendees as “teabaggers,” a sexual slur), might have been expected to encounter a double dose of hostility from Tea Partiers, if previous media coverage of the movement is to be believed.  Instead, as he writes, he was warmly welcomed — even if he did arrive in a Volvo:

Speaking of stereotypes, I did get a few curious stares as I pulled up to the rallies. But not because of my skin color. It was because of my car rental: a Volvo.

I hadn’t intended to rent a Volvo, a car stereotyped as the favorite of liberal elites. But upon arriving at the Las Vegas airport, the rental company was out of American-made cars with a GPS system and satellite radio. I had nearly a thousand miles of driving ahead, through desert, mountains and cities. Since it had GPS and satellite radio, the Volvo fit the bill.

Dave Weigel, who just started covering conservative activism for the Washington Post in his new blog Right Now, points out the change in CNN’s coverage that comes with actual reporting rather than counter-activism:

It’s been almost a year since CNN’s Susan Roesgen became tea party public enemy No. 1 for a combative segment she filmed at an event in Chicago. This is how coverage of the tea party has evolved.

When media outlets send reporters, they can discover the truth on their own.  When they send hacks, their viewers get the kind of distorted coverage that has typified the Tea Party reporting until now.  There’s a lesson in there somewhere for media outlets, and kudos to CNN for making the effort to do their jobs correctly.

Update: Meanwhile, Accuracy in Media points out what the media didn’t see at a left-wing rally last week.


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CNN is racist!

jukin on April 7, 2010 at 2:24 PM

CNN is just trying to stay in the good graces of the Independents. It ain’t gonna work, too little too late.

Johnnyreb on April 7, 2010 at 2:25 PM

I wonder why Tea Party folks would look funny at a Volvo, up until last week it was owned by Ford.

Cindy Munford on April 7, 2010 at 2:26 PM

I can’t belive I am saying this. “Good job, CNN.”

mwdiver on April 7, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Can the blinders finally be coming off?

PoodleSkirt on April 7, 2010 at 2:26 PM

There’s a lesson in there somewhere for media outlets, and kudos to CNN for making the effort to do their jobs correctly.

The lesson is, if you do nothing but report news through a Liberal point-of-view, your ratings are going to tank and that will force to to start throwing some semi-objective reporting in, or cease to exist.

kingsjester on April 7, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Being at a Tea Party rally is not quite like seeing it on TV… That’s the reason CNN is covering this political movement

Uhhh, isn’t CNN and “TV” network?

MassVictim on April 7, 2010 at 2:27 PM

kudos to CNN for making the effort to do their jobs correctly

2nd that…

it’s a shame when the news is that media is actually reporting the news

cmsinaz on April 7, 2010 at 2:28 PM

I will trash CNN when they are bad, and give them credit when it is due.

They was a good report.

portlandon on April 7, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Leave Volvos alone!

Diane on April 7, 2010 at 2:29 PM

So is the reporter still employed there?

tarpon on April 7, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Meanwhile, check out the dreadlock college student Tea Partier (found through PJM). The Tea Party needs to do a “diverse faces of” ad to counteract the smears.

John the Libertarian on April 7, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Probably not the day for Little Green Ret 0bama Supporter to lead off with an old pic of the KKK, labeling it “Tea Party.”

Timing is everything…

MNHawk on April 7, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Props to CNN. It was a good report, aside from the reference to the alleged racial slurs as if it’s widely accepted by all that they actually occurred. Then again, even FoxNews has been guilty at times of discussing those allegations without any skepticism.

Doughboy on April 7, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Once in awhile Cnn might have a fair story. But that doesn’t negate the years of bias they tried to hide and then went full force behind Obama in the election.

No I don’t trust CNN. At first it made me sad that I had to turn the channel after a few minutes of lies… now I don’t care.

I wish they would go off the air. They do more harm than good.

They are like child molesters, we would be a fool to trust them with our children no matter how nice they appear.

petunia on April 7, 2010 at 2:32 PM

From the article:

During the health care debate last month, opponents shouted racial slurs at civil rights icon Georgia Rep. John Lewis and one person spit on Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.

But then again, there is no proof of this part, so far. Merely Liberal spin.

mwdiver on April 7, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Right. Because we all know Tea Partiers are guilty until proven innocent by CNN. Oh, Thank you, suh, for telling everyone we’re not racists.

DaydreamBeliever on April 7, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Do not be fooled. This is not objective journalism; this is desperate schmoozing for viewership. This is Lucy with the football.

Hark! The baritone… and the whisper:

This is CNN; and we still think your dumbass rednecks.

Doorgunner on April 7, 2010 at 2:34 PM

I love the comments in that article. The average IQ of your typical liberal democrat is that of a gerbil. I’m sorry if any gerbils are insulted.

rollthedice on April 7, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Too bad no one watches CNN anymore…

… Critics will say this report is just more of the same when they refused to cover what Saddam Hussein was actually doing just to be able to keep their Baghdad bureau open.

Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on April 7, 2010 at 2:36 PM

The has decided that Obama is just Bush with a small start towards socialized medicine. Which means they are done with him now.

pedestrian on April 7, 2010 at 2:36 PM

your = you’re dang it

Doorgunner on April 7, 2010 at 2:37 PM

We will not allow a corrupt political machine to dictate our future!
Gods of Government a WOW video

deedtrader on April 7, 2010 at 2:38 PM

That’s nice. There’s no way any of the MSM can redeem themselves, imo. They have done too much damage over the years.

Make them beg and scrape. No kudos from me for the occasional “fair” story.

Cody1991 on April 7, 2010 at 2:38 PM

At Tea Party rallies as reported by CNN: Flag waving
At left-wing rally as reported by no one: Flag burning
Hmmmm…

Abby Adams on April 7, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Sounds like CNN is feeling weight of its crappy ratings latly and has decided to get back to basics and report the actual news for a change, instead of just making stuff up that suits thier agenda, like they have been doing for the last several years.

Hellrider on April 7, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Will wonders never cease!

(BTW it won’t last.)

rebuzz on April 7, 2010 at 2:40 PM

I don’t know,,,being it’s the network that coined the Slur “tea bagging”… it’s hard to trust or care about anything they report.

SHARPTOOTH on April 7, 2010 at 2:41 PM

love the comments in that article. The average IQ of your typical liberal democrat is that of a gerbil. I’m sorry if any gerbils are insulted.

rollthedice on April 7, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Some of them are gems! Most are unreadable though.

Johnnyreb on April 7, 2010 at 2:41 PM

I hope your resume is up to date, Shannon.

AaronGuzman on April 7, 2010 at 2:42 PM

HF Shannon Travis!

Midas on April 7, 2010 at 2:43 PM

I have a feeling Shannon Travis is about to become a BFD.

Abby Adams on April 7, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Speaking of stereotypes, I did get a few curious stares as I pulled up to the rallies. But not because of my skin color. It was because of my car rental: a Volvo.

I don’t buy for one second that anyone stared just because the reporter showed up in a Volvo. Most conservatives don’t give a rat’s @$$ what kind of car you drive. Just don’t tell us what we’re supposed to drive.

CurtZHP on April 7, 2010 at 2:44 PM

I think CNN is tired of two things
1. Getting walloped by Fox every day
2. obama

ConservativePartyNow on April 7, 2010 at 2:44 PM

What CNN fails to recognize if is they get outside of their elitist world most people dont even notice race, much less care.Does anybody really think if Bush was black CNN would have been claiming the lefties who hate him were racists. I think not. Btw Travis good job, I hope it doesn’t cost him his job but if it does maybe you can find work at a real news network.

historian on April 7, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Thanks, deedtrader — keep up the good work, Joe Dan!

From Human Events:

Why Martin Luther King Was Republican
by Frances Rice
08/16/2006

It should come as no surprise that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. In that era, almost all black Americans were Republicans. Why? From its founding in 1854 as the anti-slavery party until today, the Republican Party has championed freedom and civil rights for blacks. And as one pundit so succinctly stated, the Democrat Party is as it always has been, the party of the four S’s: slavery, secession, segregation and now socialism.

It was the Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery and passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan to lynch and terrorize blacks. The Democrats fought to prevent the passage of every civil rights law beginning with the civil rights laws of the 1860s, and continuing with the civil rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s.

During the civil rights era of the 1960s, Dr. King was fighting the Democrats who stood in the school house doors, turned skin-burning fire hoses on blacks and let loose vicious dogs. It was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who pushed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and sent troops to Arkansas to desegregate schools. President Eisenhower also appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ending school segregation.

John the Libertarian on April 7, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Who wants to bet that the flag burning PUNK in the video never spent a single day in the miltary? Wait till he finds out what the new media is capable of.

The lady with him said her son served 3 tours in the war on terror. They then lit the flag. Was he her son? That was the impression I got.

AnthonyK on April 7, 2010 at 2:48 PM

CNN is tired of getting scooped by the Onion so they’re edging closer to reality.

Mojave Mark on April 7, 2010 at 2:49 PM

I don’t buy for one second that anyone stared just because the reporter showed up in a Volvo. Most conservatives don’t give a rat’s @$$ what kind of car you drive. Just don’t tell us what we’re supposed to drive.

CurtZHP on April 7, 2010 at 2:44 PM

The reporter didn’t have the Volvo, Travis, the African-American producer did.

Travis, an African-American producer from a high-profile mainstream media outlet (one that routinely disparaged attendees as “teabaggers,” a sexual slur), might have been expected to encounter a double dose of hostility from Tea Partiers, if previous media coverage of the movement is to be believed. Instead, as he writes, he was warmly welcomed — even if he did arrive in a Volvo:

OmahaConservative on April 7, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Sorry. I don’t trust any of the LSM. Of Travis can find one thing…however insignificant and/or untrue…that backs up the bogus claims CNN and other libtards have made about the Tea Party since last year, she’ll be all over it like white on rice. (Yeah, I know…racist comment.)

GrannyDee on April 7, 2010 at 2:52 PM

ooops “if” not “of”

The preview button is my new best friend.

GrannyDee on April 7, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Seven Percent Solution on April 7, 2010 at 2:36 PM

lol

cmsinaz on April 7, 2010 at 2:57 PM

I was actually in CNN’s corner…until the very end.

Outside of the occasional stare, none of the real cowboys at the rallies came up to the Volvo and asked me, “Hey buddy — where’s your cashmere sweater and arugula?” If they had, I might have pointed out that until just recently, Volvo was owned by Ford Motor Co., an American icon.

Translation: “I totally know this whole thing is a sham, and I’m ready with my witty retort!”

Just couldn’t resist, could ya?

flyawaybird on April 7, 2010 at 2:57 PM

kudos to CNN for making the effort to do their jobs correctly.

Today’s forecast for Hell: Cold, lows in the mid 20s.

UltimateBob on April 7, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Do not be fooled. This is not objective journalism; this is desperate schmoozing for viewership. This is Lucy with the football.

Doorgunner on April 7, 2010 at 2:34 PM

+1,000..also, you want to see what CNN and the MSM omit from their coverage of demonstrations by the left? Check out Ed’s link here or the root You Tube video here.

VoyskaPVO on April 7, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Sorry. I don’t trust any of the LSM. Of Travis can find one thing…however insignificant and/or untrue…that backs up the bogus claims CNN and other libtards have made about the Tea Party since last year, she’ll he’ll be all over it like white on rice. (Yeah, I know…racist comment.)

GrannyDee on April 7, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Good grief.

GrannyDee on April 7, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Today’s forecast for Hell: Cold, lows in the mid 20s.

UltimateBob on April 7, 2010 at 2:58 PM

So that’s where the cool weather went, because here at the Jersey shore it friggin’ hot !!

Jerome Horwitz on April 7, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Here is what I don’t understand, maybe some idiot in the government media can help me :

1. Is it a crime for people with similar ‘looks’ to assemble peacefully ?

2. Just because most of those assembling are ‘similar looking ‘, is the issue they are raising less important ?

3. What is the government approved ‘quota’ of ‘diverse looks’ that has to be established by any group of people, before their grievances are taken seriously and addressed ?

macncheez on April 7, 2010 at 3:05 PM

So that’s where the cool weather went, because here at the Jersey shore it friggin’ hot !!

Jerome Horwitz on April 7, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Yeah, it’s hot here in Delaware too. I sat in line for inspection today at motor vehicle for an hour, on a motorcycle, under the blazing sun at high noon. I would have killed somebody for a drink of water.

UltimateBob on April 7, 2010 at 3:08 PM

If he wanted spit and racial epithets, he should have carried a giant gavel.

Cicero43 on April 7, 2010 at 3:09 PM

CNN decided to embed itself in the long series of events taking place in April. Shannon Travis reports that the Tea Party does indeed look like America —

And in other news, earlier today CNN reporter Shannon Travis seen at the employment office in Atlanta filling out unemployment insurance forms.

BobMbx on April 7, 2010 at 3:11 PM

CNN: Day Late, Buck Short.

Bruno Strozek on April 7, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Listen up, CNN.

For starts, I demand an on-air protracted and extensive apology and ritual self-condemnation from Anderson Cooper.

I won’t watch you after that, but I won’t turn my back on you in lobbies, gyms and airport lounges.

perries on April 7, 2010 at 3:16 PM

CNN: So desperate for viewers that they have to start reporting the truth?
A couple of upticks in viewership, and the will be back reporting the same ol’ cr*p.

right2bright on April 7, 2010 at 3:22 PM

CNN needs a ratings boost….. bad!

PrincipledPilgrim on April 7, 2010 at 3:32 PM

CNN’s trying to save their bacon ever since their numbers have plummeted into near obscurity. WOW! They are actually trying to do their job? Like real journalists? Can you imagine how well they would do if they reported the news, instead of trying to fabricate it? Just because of their base they could really make a real difference in this country…. for the better. But I don’t see that happening.
(sigh)

Deckard on April 7, 2010 at 3:36 PM

I wonder why Tea Party folks would look funny at a Volvo, up until last week it was owned by Ford.

Cindy Munford on April 7, 2010 at 2:26 PM

They are built in that bastion of Socialism…Sweden.

uknowmorethanme on April 7, 2010 at 3:37 PM

I wonder why Tea Party folks would look funny at a Volvo, up until last week it was owned by Ford.
Cindy Munford on April 7, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Think of a car that would represent the “Nanny State” or “People for a Perfect Society” right or wrong the Volvo heads the list.

DSchoen on April 7, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Hey! The left can’t claim the Volvo! Old volvos are awesome conservative vehicles.

I own one for my college kid. It was cheap to buy. It is built like a tank with a little 4 cylinder which is easy to fix (no computers and crazy O2 sensors) and gets good mileage. It can’t go much above 60 mph, so low risk of speeding tix. Cheap insurance on the thing and it only has 95K miles, whereas they are known to go 200K and beyond.

The kid is an art student (i know! ::cringe::) so the grungy-retro vibe matches his style.

kooly on April 7, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Check out American Thinker Graph of the day. It shows that the Tea Party people are an almost 100% reflection of America.

So the Tea Party looks exactly like America.

At least that explains why the Marxists hate the Tea Party so much.

Daggett on April 7, 2010 at 3:55 PM

As many here have said,
It’s all about the $$$$$$$$$
CNN’s journalistic ethics preceded their ratings, right down the toilet. I wouldn’t believe them if they said day was bright and night was dark.

gordo on April 7, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Fascinating that we’ve been called the angry white mob, racists, tea baggers, unpatriotic, angry and violent, sore losers, etc. and yet as the Tea Party finally makes a bit of news (remember, only a few thousand supposedly showed up on 9/12 in DC), Pelosi and CNN (two of the sources who have worked hard to paint us as everything evil) – they are suddenly part of us and we are all so American!

katablog.com on April 7, 2010 at 4:17 PM

kooly on April 7, 2010 at 3:49 PM: We also purchased a Volvo for our high school daughter years back. A sherman tank was her only other option available.

katablog.com on April 7, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Somebody’s about to get fired.

faol on April 7, 2010 at 4:23 PM

This reporter sounds like he is honest and objective, CNN would do well to hold on to him. They have a lot of work to do but he is a start.

Daemonocracy on April 7, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Related, satirical man-on-the-street poll on the Tea Party: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_RZxlYx1u9Jc/S7tD_o-N4QI/AAAAAAAABS4/uRho73id1-Q/s1600/What+Do+YOU+Think+%28Tea+Party+Movement%29.jpg

Mervis Winter on April 7, 2010 at 4:36 PM

I bet “alleged” veteran and mommy have a sick little oedipus thing going.

peacenprosperity on April 7, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Sorry–one factual report doesn’t an honest news outlet make. Let’s see what happens over a period of months or until CNN’s hierarchy goes to its next cocktail party. Then we’ll see if this is BS or real the day after.

chickasaw42 on April 7, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Aw, CNN finally decides it wants ratings. Good for them.

I wish CNN would always want ratings. It would be great to have another fair news channel in addition to Fox. Give Fox some competition and they would benefit.

-Aslan’s Girl, who is taking off her pollyanna hat now/

Aslans Girl on April 7, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Think of a car that would represent the “Nanny State” or “People for a Perfect Society” right or wrong the Volvo heads the list.

DSchoen on April 7, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Now it’s all Prius, Prius, Prius.

John the Libertarian on April 7, 2010 at 5:03 PM

During the health care debate last month, opponents shouted racial slurs at civil rights icon Georgia Rep. John Lewis and one person spit on Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.

In the absence of ANY proof, where’s the “allegedly”? Everyone’s entitled to the benefit of the doubt except those demonized by the left.

ddrintn on April 7, 2010 at 5:14 PM

I believe Ford owns Volvo.

MechEng5by5 on April 7, 2010 at 5:15 PM

At least CNN is making the effort.
Hey, they’re hiring David Shuster, aren’t they?

mrt721 on April 7, 2010 at 6:37 PM

Can the blinders finally be coming off?
PoodleSkirt on April 7, 2010 at 2:26 PM

If so we have a turning point. This would be The White House’s worst possible nightmare. I expect Valerie, Rahm and the WH Chicago gang to push MSNBC, NYT, Wash Post, Politico, Reuters, AP, their media arm to get some more regime friendly embeds at these rallies.

I pray our Tea Party patriots continue the journey at all costs.

FireBlogger on April 7, 2010 at 7:10 PM

Too late, CNN. Nothing but contempt for you. Go under. The sooner the better.

ROCnPhilly on April 7, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Can the blinders finally be coming off?

PoodleSkirt on April 7, 2010 at 2:26 PM

No. As someone said above, this is just an effort to appear “balanced” and attract desperately-needed viewers. They’ve known all along that tea partiers aren’t a bunch of drooling racist McVeighs.

ddrintn on April 7, 2010 at 8:58 PM

CNN grasping for straws.Sorry,they won’t save you.Buh-bye Commie News.

DDT on April 8, 2010 at 3:19 AM

Kudos to CNN for an unexpectedly open mind on at least some of their staff.

{^_^}

herself on April 8, 2010 at 5:00 PM