Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More clueless journalists in action

Huma Khan at ABC News authored this piece yesterday, which asks the rather lame question: "Is South Carolina the Last Gasp for the Tea Party" in the nominating process? She then goes on to talk about the "failure" of the movement to get behind a single candidate, apparently unaware that such a goal is not one shared by all sympathizers to the movement.

As is usually the case for members of the media elite, Ms. Khan can't help but apply her own pre-conceived notions, with regard to what a political movement is and how it should behave. For this piece, she interviews Judson Phillips--founder of the Tea Party Nation--and ostensibly treats him as the spokesman for the entire movement, which he clearly is not, has never been, and will never be:
“Romney is not a moderate. He is a liberal. He is almost as far to the left as Barack Obama,” Phillips, who organized the first tea party convention in February 2010, said. “Had Obama been governor of a state, his policies would’ve looked identical to what Romney’s looked like when he was governor of Massachusetts.”
Phillips' opinion is his own, not that of the entire movement, of those who profess membership in or sympathy towards it. He certainly doesn't speak for me or for anyone I know. I don't begrudge him his point of view, at all. But that's all it is: his point of view.

Ms. Khan compounds her mistake by displaying a very weak grasp of numbers. She notes that Mr. Phillips did a poll of tea party supporters and that he claimed 40% of them would not vote for Romney, period. But she also notes that in South Carolina, the tea party is very, very popular, with--according to a Clemson poll--only 4% opposing it. Currently, Romney leads all candidates in South Carolina with 30% favoring him.

The results of Mr. Phillips' poll don't mesh well with the other data, at all. Because it's only common sense--with Romney out in front by as much as he is--that he must be getting a fair amount of tea party support in the tea-centric State.

This is not to say Romney is the best candidate out there, that he has no flaws, or that people should even support him. The point is, journalists like Ms. Khan don't know what they're talking about, when it comes to this stuff. She continues to defer to Mr. Phillips in the rest of the piece, dismissing Nikki Haley's endorsement of  Romney with a wave of her--or was it Phillips'--hand. It's laughable.

And if that's not enough, Ms. Khan also offers the unsubstantiated opinion--though expressed as fact--that the tea party movement has been "overshadowed by the leftist Occupy Wall Street movement." Excuse me, Ms. Khan, but what candidates have ridden the Occupy wave into office? What policies have been implemented because of the Occupy movement?

The problem is, of course, that Ms. Khan thinks everyone else thinks in the same way that she does. Bernie Goldberg made this argument---all the way back in 2001--before, that there's a built-in bias in the media, and it's still true.

Cheers, all.

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