The Tea Partiers’ dubious ties

This New York Times story on the Tea Party movement starts slowly but gradually gains momentum. In the first half, reporter David Barstow seems intent on showing that many of the new Tea Party activists are nice folks, if a bit misguided. In the second half, he really lets it rip, writing about the movement’s ties to far-right extremist militia groups that have been around for years.

As Barstow makes clear, there is no one single Tea Party organization. Tea Party activism was crucial to Scott Brown’s victory, and neither he nor they (with some exceptions) could be considered extreme.

But Barstow reports that a large segment of the movement is far-right, dedicated to Obama-hatred and conspiracy theories. There may come a time when the Republican Party and Fox News regret egging them on.

Gay-activist numbers match tea-party protesters

Last month, a crowd that the Washington fire department estimated at somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 turned out to protest against President Obama. (You may recall that Michelle Malkin passed along the fiction that 2 million people had showed up, and was forced to backtrack.)

By Washington standards, it was a decent turnout, but nothing remarkable. To judge by much of the coverage, though, you would have thought we were witnessing the final collapse of the Obama administration. Fox News covered it like a sporting event, with the tea-party protesters cast as the home team, and the self-loathing mainstream media struggled to follow suit.

Yesterday, a crowd at least that big marched in Washington on behalf of gay and lesbian rights. There has been no reported official estimate, but the New York Times reports that “tens of thousands” marched. So does the Washington Post. The organizers, Equality Across America, have reportedly placed the crowd at 150,000.

Yes, the gay activists got coverage. But even now, the march barely rates a mention on the home pages of CNN.com, MSNBC.com and FoxNews.com. How much do you think we’re going to hear about it in the days and weeks ahead?