Many of you probably won’t know that on this past Saturday, labor unions, the NAACP and hundreds of other liberal-centrist and progressive groups rallied in Washington in support of liberal economic policies, President Obama and Democratic candidates in the November election.
The reason you may not have heard of this rally is that the news media didn’t cover it much. Remember that when Glen Beck held his so-called “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington in August, more than 5,300 stories appeared on Google News.
But the news media showed much less in this past Saturday’s rally of liberals. A search of Google News could only find about 930 stories about the rally. And the stories that did appear seemed to be smaller and less prominent. For example, the New York Times did not even put its story on the liberal rally on the first page of the national news section, but buried it at the bottom of the page deep in the paper. The Times gave front page and front of the national section coverage to the Beck rally.
Now let’s consider the issue of attendance. Most significantly, CBS News, which hired an independent consultant to estimate the Beck Rally at 87,000, made the decision ahead of time not to rehire the firm to do an estimate of the liberal rally. Perhaps the CBS news executives were frustrated that much of the media preferred to ignore its honest and scientific estimate for the outrageous overestimates of Beck (500,000) and Republican Congressional Representative Michelle Bachman (2 million, but she may have been counting fingers and toes, and maybes ears, too!). But I think not, seeing that CBS did not even file its own story about the liberal rally online, preferring to use the Associated Press’ version of events.
Most articles ignored attendance at the liberal rally, said it was around 100,000 or commented that it “appeared to be less” than the number at the Beck rally. A few media published the organizers’ estimate of 175,000. After looking at a few photos, my uneducated guess is that attendance at these two rallies was about the same.
With or without attendance numbers, the question remains: Why did the media give so much more coverage to Beck than it did to these 400 liberal, labor and progressive groups? I’m thinking that it’s for the same reason that throughout the 2010 primary season, most media focused on Republican races, almost to the exclusion of the Democratic races. I’m thinking it’s the same reason that this past week the national edition of the New York Times found room for four personality profiles of Republican candidates (Whitman, O’Donnell and Paladino twice) and none of Democratic candidates.
I’m thinking it’s because the mainstream news media wants the Republicans to win in November.