Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What a Difference a Protest Makes

Conservatives Oblivious to Activism's Importance
By Michael P. Tremoglie
Tea Time Blog

Every time an anti-abortion protester disrupted the confirmation hearings of Sonia Sotomayor they were removed immediately from the chambers. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D – Vt., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, which is conducting the hearing, is very efficient in keeping order.

Then again, maybe efficiency and the maintenance of order is not what this is all about.

After all, when antiwar protesters disrupted a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the Iraq war in 2007, the committee chairman Russ Feingold, D. - Wisc., empathized with the protesters who were from an organization whose members wear pink costumes ( I know the name of the group I just do not want to mention them).

Feingold said, “I strongly support your First Amendment right to free speech.”

Although the police were nearby, the protesters were never removed from the chambers. They repeatedly applauded Feingold’s vitriolic criticism of the Bush administration. Despite repeated “warnings,” they never stopped disrupting the hearing and they were never removed.

Ironically, the only antiwar protesters who were arrested that day were those who staged one outside of Hillary Clinton’s office. Apparently, protesting Democratic Party legislators is not considered an exercise of the First Amendment.

Even protesters who vandalized the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building were never arrested. This prompted at least one Republican to write to the Capitol Police chief expressing his dismay.

Nothing was done.

The coordination between these alleged “grassroots protesters” or “community activist” groups and the Democratic Party is a well known “secret.” The coordination between them and the media should be well known, however, it is not. This is primarily because of the lack of an opposing political party in the United States.

Last March 30, when I broke the news that the New York Times spiked information they had about the coordination between ACORN and the Obama campaign, the story went national that evening.

(The Times did not use the information they received from an ACORN whistleblower because they thought it would be a “game changer.” Here is the link:

Fox News Channel ran with it. The network featured it on its banner all evening. I was that Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity mentioned it on their shows.

I was amazed at the excitement my article generated.

A few months earlier I reported, after watching a Fox News broadcast, about members of the New Black Panther Party of Philadelphia intimidating voters at a polling place in North Philadelphia.

I later interviewed the McCain campaign lawyer, Lovida Coleman, about the incident. She told me one of the New Black Panthers was credentialed by the Democratic Party as a poll watcher. She also said he told her he was a Democratic Party committeeman.

During the press conference she held after my interview, I mentioned to her that the New Black Panther Party was considered a hate group by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center.

She was unaware of this.

This is the problem with the Republican Party as an opposition group. They are totally clueless. They only seem to get motivated about taxes. Other than that, Republican politicians are fairly dormant.

This is why the Democrats can permit protesters to disrupt hearings, the mainstream media can continue to provide admiring reportage of these protesters and there are no consequences to them. The Republicans are either apathetic or oblivious.

Conservatives need to become cognizant of what is occurring and take countermeasures. There are some things they can do immediately.

First, conservative politicians and activists need to patronize and promote conservative media outlets.

As a journalist, I would make every effort to report about conservative groups. I felt they were not receiving the same media attention the liberal groups did. I wanted to provide some balance.

Occasionally, I received cooperation from these groups. Occasionally!

The same cannot be said about Republican politicians. The Republican Party was worse. I received little or no cooperation from them.

Like conservative groups, I wanted to give Republican politicians the access I felt they were not getting from the mainstream established media. The only outlet they had was talk radio. I wanted them to tell their side of the story.

When I approached them, they acted as if they had stage fright. When they did consent to be interviewed, they displayed very little knowledge of the subject matter. For example, when I asked the ranking Republican on the committee that heard the testimony about ACORN and the NY Times, he seemed as if he did not know about it.

Finally, conservatives need to promote conservative media. They like to complain about the liberal mainstream media, yet they do nothing to promote conservative media.

For example, when Rick Santorum was guest hosting for Bill Bennett several weeks ago, he complained that the liberals controlled the media. Yet, not once did Mr. Santorum mention my paper – even though he was well aware of its existence.

Liberal groups and Democrat politicians are much more cooperative than their conservative/Republican counterparts. They are, as a whole, much more media savvy.

Republicans should recall the words of their party’s icon, President Abraham Lincoln. He knew the importance of public relations.
He once said, “Public opinion in this country is everything.”

His ideological descendants have obviously forgotten this. The Democrats have not.

Mike can be contacted at

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