A future Republican president invites tea-party leaders to the White House. Some of them have themselves photographed standing in front of a portrait of President Barack Obama with their middle fingers extended. They then posted these photos on Facebook with the caption “F**k Obama.” (Needless to say, the F-word was spelled out.)
1. How much coverage do you think the national press would give to this?
2. How would Democratic — and Republican — leaders react?
3. How would tea-party activists react?
1. The mainstream media across America would widely report what had happened and repeatedly show these photos. The New York Times would editorialize about the racism of the Tea Party. Liberal columnists would be relentless in their condemnations of the Tea Party as a low-life movement of yahoos.
2. Democrats and Republicans alike would condemn these leaders and demand their resignation.
3. Tea-party activists would feel embarrassed by these people who represented them, and they would be deeply concerned that their movement’s good name had been permanently tarnished.
Now let’s explore a real-life situation from this past week.
President Barack Obama invited activists to the White House’s 2012 LGBT-pride reception. Two of them, Matthew “Marty” Hart, a director of the leftist organization Solutions for Progress, and an activist photographer, Zoe Strauss, posed for a photo in front of a portrait of President Ronald Reagan with both their middle fingers extended. They then posted the photo on Facebook with the caption “F**k Reagan” (the F-word was spelled out).
Now let’s answer our questions again:
First, the liberal, or “mainstream,” media never mentioned the incident. Not a word about it appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, or on NPR (which had given Zoe Strauss extensive and laudatory attention just a few weeks earlier). There was no coverage on ABC News, NBC News, or CBS News. The Huffington Post reported the incident in this way: “If several raised fingers are any indication, some LGBT activists who visited the White House last week are fully evolved on what they think of President Ronald Reagan.”
It was reported by Fox News, on conservative talk radio shows, by the Weekly Standard, by National Review, and by other conservative journals and websites.
Second, aside from one tepid rebuke from a man named Shin Inouye, the “Director of Specialty Media in the White House Office of Communications,” the Democratic party and other left-wing organizations said nothing.
And, of course, not a word of condemnation from the world of gay activism, other than the conservative gay organization, Log Cabin Republicans.