Who are you going to believe when it comes to the lack of racist signs at tea party rallies? The liberal media or someone who scoured "the crowd, row by row and hour by hour, and taking a picture of every sign she passed...?"
A UCLA grad student did an in depth study at last month's tea party rally on 9/12 and cataloged each individual sign. She found that only 5% mentioned the president's race or religion and only 1% questioned his birthplace. Most of the signs reflected what tea partiers have been saying all along they were about; limited government and opposition to Obama's spending schemes:
Ekins's conclusion is not that the racially charged messages are unimportant but that media coverage of tea party rallies over the past year have focused so heavily on the more controversial signs that it has contributed to the perception that such content dominates the tea party movement more than it actually does.
"Really this is an issue of salience," Ekins said. "Just because a couple of percentage points of signs have those messages doesn't mean the other people don't share those views, but it doesn't mean they do, either. But when 25 percent of the coverage is devoted to those signs, it suggests that this is the issue that 25 percent of people think is so important that they're going to put it on a sign, when it's actually only a couple of people."
Ekins spent the summer researching the tea party movement and also as an intern at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington. The survey was for her UCLA graduate studies.
The manipulation of images in this case was startling. One would think watching the coverage that the majority of tea partiers were expressing race hatred at Obama in the way the media dwelt on the most problematic signs. This turns out not to be the case which begs the question; will we see any retractions or corrections from those who were pushing this meme?
Hat Tip: Ed: Ed Lasky