The establishment media is usually fairly dismissive of protests unless those “activists” are funded by a multi-million dollar astroturf organization like FreedomWorks. Millions of people can turn out to protest a war, but such a tremendously popular cultural movement isn’t seen as “authentic” until its participants represent the “correct” agenda.
For example the authoritarian, bigoted, right-wing Tea Party agenda. Only when a movement adopts the pre-approved, right-wing message will the media turn out in droves to cover a few hundred octogenarians caked in teabags, buzzing around the Mall on their Rascals.
Otherwise, the media covers protest as a bizarre spectacle waged by shrill, usually left-wing, extremists. The latest example is how MSNBC has thus far covered the Pope protests in London. Thousands came out to join the protests, and their list of grievances seems very reasonable. They criticize the Vatican for:
- “opposing the distribution of condoms and so increasing large families in poor countries and the spread of Aids”
- “promoting segregated education”
- “denying abortion to even the most vulnerable women”
- “opposing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights, including universal decriminalisation of homosexuality”
- “failing to address the many cases of abuse of children within its own organisation
Being anti-AIDS and child rape hardly seem like the ideologies of extremists, right?
Well, not according to MSNBC, which chose to book a single guest to discuss the protests, George Weigel, frequent NRO contributor and author. Weigel has written several Vatican propaganda pamphlets masquerading as books, including one titled “The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II — The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy.” Apparently, “victory” and “freedom” come in the forms of gender and sexuality discrimination, and facilitating the spread of AIDS.
It’s hardly surprising that Weigel immediately leapt to criticize the protests, which he dismissed as being small, insignificant, and “poisonous” to the overall atmosphere. Perhaps a protest organizer would have pointed out the Pope’s documented cover-up of child rapists is actually poisonous for society, but we’ll never know because MSNBC chose not to invite a protest representative onto the show.
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– Allison Kilkenny