Time Magazine’s Swampland Latest to Miss the Boat on the Tea Party and Social Issues


With apologies to Jay Newton-Small, who we initially and incorrectly identified as a male, but is a woman.

I admit it.  I am mystified and increasingly irritated at how people can be reporting for well-resourced, leading news outlets and completely miss the reality of a story, time and again.

This has, as we reported yesterday, been happening over and over as large media outlets on line and in print continue to claim over and over that there is no connection between the Tea Party and social conservatism despite the evidence staring them in the face, often on the front pages of their own newspapers, magazines and websites.  O’Donnell, Angle, Miller, Toomey, Paul….every single one of them is a fundamentalist Christian conservative wet dream.

It seems that fantasy is reality, and reality is not worth reporting.  In one part of Wonderland the leadership of the Tea Party increasingly their grassroots are using virtual megaphones and jumbotrons to make themselves heard on their ultra-right and extremist positions on issues like abortion, contraception, and the rights of gay people to live free from harassment never mind get married.

And in another part of Wonderland appear to be members of the mainstream media , like Alice at a cookie, but this time instead of growing bigger or smaller, had their brains re-wired to repeat over and over the same thing no matter the evidence.

Today’s example is Jay Newton-Small at Time who writes:

Many of the Tea Party groups have been careful to steer clear of the social wedge issues  – abortion, gay marriage, Terry Schiavo — that so obsessed the last Republican Congress and drove away moderates and fiscal conservatives. At the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville earlier this year, at a panel entitled “How to Organize a Tea Party?” Colorado Tea Partier Lori Christenson talked about how her group avoided meeting in churches. “We are already identified that we are religious right and in our particular Tea Party this is not the identity we would seek to have,” she said. On the whole, the Tea Party movement has been more closely associated with fiscal issues than social ones.

Ms. Newton-Small, can you please advise as to which of the Tea Party candidates in this election has not made clear they are anti-choice, anti-equality and anti- just about everything not synonymous with the Christian Right?  Is your contention that the Public Religion Research Institute poll showing that an increasing share of the Tea Party grassroots (now nearly 50 percent) are made up of people who ally themselves with the Christian Right? 

What does it take these days to get the media to do their homework?

I want to say wake up and smell the coffee, but clearly there’s only hallucinogenic tea leaves being served.

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