CNN embedded some reporters to travel with the “Tea Party Express” recently. Reporter/Producer Shannon Travis had better be careful or he’s not going to be welcome at the MSM water cooler:
But here’s what you don’t often see in the coverage of Tea Party rallies: Patriotic signs professing a love for country; mothers and fathers with their children; African-Americans proudly participating; and senior citizens bopping to a hip-hop rapper.
Last week, I saw all of this during a five-city Western swing as the Tea Party Express national tour made its way across the country. CNN was along for the ride, and I was charged with planning CNN’s coverage for five stops in two states: St. George, Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah; and Grand Junction and Denver, Colorado.
The CNN Express traveled with the Tea Party Express buses for hundreds of miles, from rally to rally to rally.
Being at a Tea Party rally is not quite like seeing it on TV, in newspapers or online. That’s the reason CNN is covering this political movement — and doing so in ways few others can or choose to do.
It is important to show the colorful anger Americans might have against elected leaders and Washington. But people should also see the orange-vested Tea Party hospitality handlers who welcome you with colorful smiles.
There were a few signs that could be seen as offensive to African-Americans. But by and large, no one I spoke with or I heard from on stage said anything that was approaching racist.
Almost everyone I met was welcoming to this African-American television news producer.
And though speakers railed against the “lame-stream media,” activists and their leaders praised CNN, especially for being the only national media outlet riding along for the post-weekend stops. Some of them e-mailed me after my trip, thanking our crew for fairly giving them a voice.
Proof-positive that once a movement gets large enough, it becomes harder for people ignore the truth, and kudos to Shannon Travis for this honest report — not that Keith Olbermann will bother to read it because it goes against his pre-deranged notions.
I’ve been to two Tea Parties, both in Lansing, Michigan. The rapid growth of the movement is obvious when comparing pics from the first rally to pics from the second rally just a couple of months later.
I’ll be going back again this year on Tax Day, cell phone camera in tow, so I’ll be posting some pics from that in a few days. I’m guessing the crowd will far eclipse that of the first two — and be just as patriotic and polite.