It was predictable that The New York Times would take one of two approaches to the nationwide Tax Day Tea Parties on April 15 — ignore them completely or downplay them. It chose the latter.
In a story yesterday, it tried to portray the phenomenon as a partisan project, driven by conservative personalities at FOX and CNBC.
In reality, it was grassroots groups like American Family Association that had more to do with the largest anti-tax protests in U.S. history.
The Times listed a few of the smaller rallies, to make the Tea Parties seem piddling — “200 rain-soaked participants” in Philadelphia, 500 in Pensacola, 1,000 in Austin, 2,000 in Houston and, in Boston, a crowd of “initially about 500 [that] grew throughout the day.” Actually, it grew to over 2,000.
To date, Americans for Tax Reform has verified attendance at 242 Tax Day Tea Parties (combined attendance, nearly 300,000), out of as many as 750. They include: Atlanta (15,000), Sacramento and Overland Park, Kansas (10,000 each), Dayton and Nashville (7,500 each), Birmingham, Dallas, Denver, Ft. Meyers, Ft. Worth, Lansing, Madison, Oklahoma City, Olympia, Phoenix, Portland and St. Louis (5,000 each). In another 80 cities, the turnout was anywhere from 4,000 to 1,000.
Besides leaving the impression that the Tea Parties were modest affairs, The Times chose the two silliest photos it could find to illustrate the article — one of a boy wearing an Indian war bonnet, holding a sign that said “Stay Out of My Piggy Bank” (another dressed like Uncle Sam was in the foreground) and a woman whose head appeared to be almost entirely covered in tea bags. The not-so-subtle message: these were freakish affairs with a carnival atmosphere.
The New York Times loves taxes. It worships at the shrine of big government. The paper actually believes ordinary people enjoy paying taxes, and tax protests consist of a few chronic malcontents and right-wing extremists.
We hope The New York Times continues to underestimate the rage boiling in Middle America — right through Election Day, 2010.