Last Tuesday, a liberal advocacy group sent a "playbook" to its members with detailed instructions to counter "the 'tea-bagger' protesters and right-wing activists" showing up at town hall meetings from coast to coast.
According to its website: "Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is a national grassroots campaign of more than 1,000 organizations in 46 states representing 30 million people dedicated to winning quality, affordable health care we all can count on in 2009. Our organization and principles are supported by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and more than 190 Members of Congress."
Despite HCAN's size, scope, and apparent support from the current President, at the same time the media diligently castigated the dissent at recent political gatherings as being set up by outside conservative organizations, not one major press outlet thought this advocacy group's "Playbook For Thwarting Town Hall Protesters" was at all newsworthy.
Such a blackout seems virtually impossible for an organization whose members include:
ACORN, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, AFT, Americans United for Change, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Campaign for Community Change, Children’s Defense Fund Action Council, Communications Workers of America, International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), MoveOn.org, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, National Education Association, National Women’s Law Center, SEIU, UFCW, USAction, Women's Voices, Women's Vote and Working America.
Making more curious the media's silence concerning HCAN's memo, signs created by this group were prominent at an event attended by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) last week:
If media had shown some interest in this "playbook," they might have uncovered the following interesting instruction:
Bring more signs and leaflets, and whenever possible, post your signs all over the place so that you visually out-perform the other side. Make sure you have people holding signs in every place where a TV camera is likely to be and that next to every right wing sign, there's one of your signs with your message.
You mean like this?
Another thing the media might have found interesting was the following instruction inside the "playbook": "Their side will be smaller but noisier. You must bring enough people to drown them out..."
Somewhat ironic given what Pelosi and Steny Hoyer (D-Mary.) wrote in Monday's USA Today: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American."
If that's true, maybe Pelosi and Hoyer should speak out against this group that's actually instructing people to do exactly that.
More importantly, maybe so-called journalists should point out this obvious hypocrisy to their readers, listeners, and viewers.
Fortunately, news media members don't always ignore memos like this. As my colleague Brent Baker previously reported, ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" pointed out such a piece of correspondence last Tuesday:
JAKE TAPPER, ABC: Bob MacGuffie, a grass roots conservative activist wrote a widely circulated memo advising others at town hall meetings to put the Congressman quote, “on the defensive with your questions and follow up.” The Congressman “should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington. The goal is to rattle him. Get him off his prepared script and agenda.”
BOB MacGUFFIE, GRASS ROOTS CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: They need to hear the people's voice. That's what a democracy's about.
CNN also reported MacGuffie's memo, as did NPR, MSNBC, and several newspapers.
I guess such correspondence is newsworthy when it comes from a small conservative group in Connecticut with five members but NOT when published and disseminated by "a national grassroots campaign of more than 1,000 organizations in 46 states representing 30 million people" that's "supported by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and more than 190 Members of Congress."