One of the advantages that control of the MSM and the major newspapers gives the media is the ability to convince people who do not regularly pay attention to current events beyond Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber of things that simply aren’t true.
Half of this battle is ignoring stories that they don’t want promoted (see “The News Hounds that didn’t bark” or this link at Big Government of yet ANOTHER assault on a tea party member by a union man“. The other half is manipulating the reporting on events that are covered. Today’s example is Move-on’s “50 state rally” attempt to rally non-union types.
By all accounts the rallies didn’t energize much of anyone:
Despite the best efforts of the state-run media and the far left, protesters failed to materialize today at the dozens of rallies in support of government employee unions. Maybe it’s because government employees make twice as much as the private sector?
Let’s face it. These were no tea party numbers despite their best astroturfing efforts.
In Jefferson City, Missouri about 200 and around 300 counter tea party protesters turned out at competing rallies. The tea party protesters, of course, showed more energy. In St. Louis only 40-50 protested. In Utah maybe a couple hundred turned out.
Possibly 300 in Virginia. Around 500 in Washington DC where a bunch of loosely-connected leftist groups took turns complaining about the usual suspects: corporations, the rich, Speaker Boehner, the Tea Party, and men. Los Angeles may have had one to two thousand in attendance – including self-avowed socialists.
Over all, it was a complete failure. But, don’t tell the state-run media.It doesn’t fit their agenda.
So how horrible was the turnout? There were more people at the Recall Wisconsin Senator Wirch rally today that there were at several of the MoveOn rallies.
As a reader at Instapundit writes:
‘It seems that unless government workers get a paid day off (from us) they’re not too interested in taking their unpaid days off to protest.’”
Meanwhile Professor Jacobson who has some harder numbers notes that the media had already decided that Move-on’s protests were successful:
Outside of Madison, there were no reports of sizable crowds. And if you read the news reports, almost all the protesters were other union members. Despite the efforts, the organizers failed to motivate significant numbers of non-union members to come out for protests.
The 50-state protest was a failure, plain and simple, although the images from Madison may create the false impression of massive nationwide protests.
Update: As predicted, the mainstream media is painting the nationwide protest as a success. The headlines talk about protests around the country, but the stories talk almost entirely about Madison, giving the false impression that there was widespread support around the country:
Why is this important? He explains
Since NYT and AP stories are run at thousands of local newspapers around the country who cannot create their own content, it is likely that most people in this country never will hear about the dismal turnout for these protests. This is your biased MSM in action.
The idea is to go into the fight with a pre-ordained template and to find a way to manipulate the available information to make it fit.
The target of this is not those who are involved but those who are not, who don’t check out the cable news (except for during a huge crisis or maybe just before an election) those who will catch only a glimmer of what is happening and then when in a position to make a decision will have only that glimmer as a reference, something that “everybody knows”. It’s playing on the nature of belief.
In the 3rd episode of the Doctor Who Serial Image of the Fendahl from 1977 there is an exchange between the elderly Mrs. Tyler and her grandson when she tries to give him a charm and he objects:
Jack Tyler: “You know that I don’t believe in all that.”
Mrs. Tyler: “Most around ‘ere do and when most believe that da make it true.”
Jack Tyler: “Most people used to believe that the earth was flat, but it was still round,”
Mrs. Tyler: “Ha ha but they behaved as it were flat!”
The exchange begins at 6:51
And that is, as always, the goal of the MSM. To make people behave “as it were flat!” so that when a person on a show says: “the Union protesters are peaceful or the Tea Party is violent” that it will be accepted as common knowledge.
Update: Here is a great example:
Thousands of people rallied in cities across the United States on Saturday against a Wisconsin plan to curb the power of public sector unions that has sparked similar government efforts in other states.
The headline Labor protests draw thousands across United States is telling, 50 states and “thousands” how many thousands? one thousands? two thousands? only when you go deep into the story do you see only one rally cited with even 1000 people outside of Madison.
Update: Thanks glenn. Just to give you an idea of how many Hits Instapundit gives. Glenn’s link to me was the 3rd update on a post put up 12 hours ago. that means the vast majority of his readers have already read that post, yet it has generated 100 hits in 2 hours on a Sunday morning.