Media Mockery of Tea Party Candidates Will Backfire


One candidate, who talked of privatizing Social Security, also declared that pregnant rape victims should make the “lemon situation into lemonade.”

Another candidate says he has reservations about the 46-year-old Civil Rights Act.

Another candidate says unemployment benefits aren’t authorized by the Constitution.

And the latest tea party favorite, among other things, defaulted on her mortgage, didn’t take the college courses she claimed, and is on tape criticizing masturbation and blabbing about dabbling in witchcraft.

Much of the media are portraying the likes of Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Rand Paul and now Christine O’Donnell as wacky extremists. That may prove to be unduly dismissive.

To be sure, journalists have every right to unearth past statements about retirement benefits and civil rights by Republican nominees who are now trying to fudge their records. And it’s certainly fair to question, in O’Donnell’s case, why she made $6,000 over the last year, sued her former employer for gender discrimination and who once said that “homosexuals’ special rights groups can get away with so much more than nobody else can,” including “perversion.”

In a normal year, the accumulation of rhetoric and might be enough to send a candidate down to defeat. But this is not a normal year.

And here’s the thing: the slightly mocking tone with which some journalists are portraying these tea party conservatives is probably helping them with the broad swath of voters who don’t much trust the media. If some of these voters are fed up with the establishment, that would include the establishment press. O’Donnell, for one, has cleverly brushed aside questions about her checkered finances by saying that helps her identify with struggling workers.

Read More: By Howard Kurtz, Washington Post


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