Selective interest in D.C. protests

SELECTIVE INTEREST IN D.C. PROTESTS…. By most estimates, the size of the right-wing protests in D.C. in mid-September was about as big as the march over the weekend in support of gay rights. But while the prior generated considerable media attention — and was even promoted heavily by a certain appendage of the Republican Party — the latter wasn’t taken especially seriously by the cable networks.

Last night, Jon Stewart took a closer look at the coverage. CNN, for example, sent a camera crew to the event, but didn’t bother to assign even one on-air journalist to cover the march. MSNBC, to its credit, sent a crew and a reporter. And Fox News, which just loves protests and large gatherings of angry Americans, did not send a camera or a reporter.

“Interesting,” Stewart said. “The gay rights march was roughly the same size as the Tea Party protest. How did Fox, by and large, miss a gigantic rally like that. You’d think 75,000 Americans, gathering to protest something, would be news. I mean, it had everything Fox loves — ordinary people, demanding their freedoms, homemade signs, flags, men in uniform.”

Yes, except Fox News really only “loves” its target audience.

To drive the point home, Stewart drew a fascinating comparison. The day after the gay rights rally, between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., Fox News devoted 3 minutes and 42 seconds to the story. The same day, Fox News sent a camera and a reporter to cover a relatively tiny protest in New Jersey outside a school where children sang a song about the president (in February). Over the same period of time, the Republican network devoted 8 minutes and 16 seconds to that “story.”

The network obviously has its priorities.