Further to an earlier post comparing the opening paragraphs of BBC articles about the Tea Party and Purple People movements, here are two more examples of tone-setting openers. Both come from recent pieces by the BBC’s Madeleine Morris, one on the Tea Party convention in Nashville last month and the other on the first meetings of the new Coffee Party movement at the weekend.
For the Tea Party it’s a Don LaFontaine horror movie trailer:
They came from as far away as Hawaii, Maine, and Texas – an overwhelmingly white, middle-aged army of angry conservatives, furious with government spending and influence, and ready to do whatever they can to stop it.
The Coffee Party, on the other hand, gets a welcoming, jaunty little local radio ad:
Looking for a little bit of civil political discussion with your decaf latte? Well the newly formed Coffee Party movement may be for you.
I note also from the two articles that the Coffee Party’s grassroots cred is taken at face value (“A grassroots US political grouping”) but that of the Tea Party is not (“The Tea Party movement describes itself as a grassroots movement of conservatives.”) Those conservatives, they like to call themselves grassroots but can we really trust their claims?
David Preiser has commented on this in the open thread and, as it now seems impossible to link directly to comments, I’m reproducing his post here (with one small quibble – I don’t think it’s entirely fair to say the Coffee Parties are “all white”, but they’re certainly no more diverse than the Tea Parties, so David’s point about BBC double standards still stands):
As everyone here knows, the BBC refused to report on the Tea Party movement as it grew and grew until the reality of tens of thousands of people gathering across the US on April 15 forced them to acknowledge it. Then, Kevin Connolly grossly misrepresented and cast aspersions on the participants, hinting at dark forces and racist overtones behind the movement. He also insulted the participants with a sexual innuendo used for them only by the Left. Nearly every time Mark Mardell has deigned to mention the Tea Partiers, he makes sure to paint the participants as being exclusively white and middle class, as if that’s an automatic disqualifier. It wasn’t until Katty Kay’s quite reasonable report in December that the BBC even bothered to really talk to the participants in depth. And even there the title of the piece and overall message is one of “boiling anger”.
Now, there has been a new opposition movement starting up calling themselves the Coffee Party. It’s hardly anything more than the Tea Party movement was in its first weeks, even before people really started calling them Tea Parties. Yet, the BBC not only reports it, but goes to meet them and get their thoughts.
The only similarity between this and the BBC’s reporting on the Tea Parties is the gross misrepresentation of the participants. They promote the lies of the Left here too, only this time they claim that the participants are a real grass roots movement. Which is a lie. This thing is being run by Democrat Party hacks. Annabel Park, whom the BBC presents as part of a “silent majority” campaigned for The Obamessiah, and her own website is owned by a campaign group for Democrat Senator Jim Webb.
They’re also all white and middle class. But the BBC strangely fails to offer any such description of the participants.
In contrast to any BBC report on Tea Parties, this one takes the claims of motivation by the participants at face value. No suggestion that they’re extremist or angry or potentially violent, as Mardell likes to do with the Tea Partiers. Instead, the Coffee Party astroturf is portrayed as being lovely and wanting nothing more than for government to help people and for politicians to join hands in peace and harmony everlasting.
Don’t trust the BBC On US issues.