In light of a recent poll showing America’s distrust of the national media, I thought I would pick a topic for a case study. What better topical study is there when exploring the media’s methods and concerns than with the tea party?
My approach was simple. I took data from 2010 and up to this point in 2011 based off key word searches in Google. For example, In 2010 I searched “tea party and racists” and pulled the number given from its search engine. On a positive side, as you can see from the chart, spending was a major keyword associated with the Tea Party in 2010. My, though, how the change a year makes.
In 2011, the tea party/racists word association climbed to over one million results, an increase from the year before.
The tea party/terrorists word association increased by over 10 million results from the year before.
As one would expect, tea party/spending word association dropped from over 17 million hits in 2010 to just over 300,00 heading into the tenth month of the year.
Some limitations to my approach
As I searched through the fist couple of pages of results, it became apparent that not every headline used “racism” or “terrorists” negatively. For example a writer at National Review Online
or Big Government
may use those two words in a headline, but it would be so to point out some ridiculous claim made by a blogger or media personality, etc. However, the fact that it must be done, that the words “racism” and “terrorists” are so commonly associated with the tea party around the web, and that point become moot. Because instead of laughing the assortment of yahoos who make these claims off the planet, conservatives and civic minded people busy themselves with defending the accusations.
The tea party has become victim to extreme media bias. A hostile media, though unpopular, can still help shape its public image. Throw in the fact that liberal members of Congress carefully select word usage for maximum effect, which guarantees a long shelf life in the news cycle, and the tea party’s detractors get free media to vent their disapproval.
Some of the tea party recent disapproval
can almost certainly be attributed to those facts.