A left-wing "bus tour" protest prowled the affluent neighborhoods of Fairfield, Conn. on Saturday afternoon, looking for AIG execs to harass. The protest, run by a group sponsored by unlabeled leftists ACORN, were railing against the bonuses paid out to employees of the struggling insurance giant. The New York Times found the stunt worthy of a full story in the national section of Sunday's paper: "Carrying a Populist Message Into A.I.G. Territory." (The online headline differs from the print version.) Reporter Manny Fernandez, while sounding supportive, remarked drily that more media than passengers were in attendance:
The bus pulled to a stop, and a pastor whose sister-in-law was facing foreclosure, a laid-off steelworker with a wife and five children, and a few of their colleagues nervously stepped out, like sightseers in some exotic land.
The exotic land was a residential neighborhood here in one of the wealthiest places in America, Fairfield County, where, at the end of a cul-de-sac a short walk away, an A.I.G. executive lived. The pastor, the steelworker and about 40 others slowly made their way up the street, past the house with the four-car garage, as an international press corps numbering about 50 chronicled every step.
The pastor, Mary Huguley, and the steelworker, Mark Dziubek, wanted to knock on the door belonging to the A.I.G. executive, Douglas L. Poling, and deliver a letter.
They got as far as the edge of the driveway.
A security guard wearing a dark blazer and sunglasses met the approaching crowd and told Ms. Huguley that she could leave the letter in the mailbox. She did, but not before Asaad Jackson, a community advocate, read every word of it aloud, standing outside Mr. Poling's clapboard colonial style home as Fairfield police officers and news crews looked on.
The Times didn't reveal the organizer, the Connecticut Working Families Party, until the middle of paragraph nine. Left unmentioned: CWFP itself is merely a front group for the controversial left-wing housing group ACORN.
Organizers called it "Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous" -- a bus tour of the Fairfield homes of two A.I.G. executives. It was organized by the Connecticut Working Families Party, a coalition of labor and community groups. For the participants, the tour was street theater or sorts, bringing the public outrage over the bonuses to the doorsteps of A.I.G. employees.
In the end, the outrage was left on the bus. Outside the executives' homes, there was only civility on display, and awkward but polite exchanges with stone-faced security guards. Ms. Huguley left her letter in the black mailbox at Mr. Poling's home, and Mr. Dziubek read his letter and slipped it into the mailbox outside the residence of James Haas, another A.I.G. executive who lives in Fairfield.
Perhaps Fernandez was a little embarrassed at his colleagues falling for the hype, for he later reiterated that there was more press than protestors.
The advocates were outnumbered by the media and, at times, overwhelmed by skeptical questioning on the tour and at a rally outside the offices of A.I.G.'s financial products division in Wilton.
A Nexis search indicates the Times has yet to devote a full story to any of the grassroots "tea parties" in opposition to Obama's big-spending package that have been held in various cities -- including one held in Connecticut on Saturday. Blogger Don Surber noted that "300 people in Ridgefield stag[ed] a Tea Party against the entire $700 billion bailout and the subsequent $787 billion stimulus," in a post focusing on the disparate coverage in the Connecticut Post. The New York Times had nothing on this tea party brewing in its own backyard.The Times has only mentioned the "tea parties" sporadically and dismissively, in stories on related topics.