Tea Partiers 'Stormed' Congress, But Pro-ObamaCare 'Activists' Simply 'Staged a Sit-in'
Word choice can be a subtle but effective way in which the media colorfully editorialize on the news, skewing the perceptions of readers in one direction or another. Take Washington Post's Philip Rucker, who did masterful job in skewing his 19-paragaph-long page A4 story "Activists bring 'tea party' to Capitol Hill" in favor of ObamaCare proponents while smearing conservatives in a negative light.
Rucker's labeling bias was a thread woven through the entire piece, starting with the lead paragraph (emphasis mine):
With the stage set for a historic House vote on health-care reform this weekend, an estimated 10,000 conservative activists descended on Capitol Hill on Thursday for a campaign-style rally in a last-ditch effort to defeat a bill they demonized as "Pelosi-Care."
In other words, Rucker tells readers, the Democrats, poised to make history, are threatened by a "last-ditch" effort by conservatives driven to defeat a bill they've unfairly maligned.
But the starkest contrast was how Rucker described how "hundreds of activists stormed congressional offices in an attempt to turn wavering Democrats against the [Democratic health care] bill" yet found "nine pro-reform activists" who "had staged a sit-in the seventh-floor office of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman."
The tea partiers "unleashed their ire on Speaker Nancy Pelosi," while the Lieberman protesters simply came "demanding that he return campaign contributions from health insurers."
The message is clear: the Lieberman protesters, who were arrested with unlawful entry of the Connecticut independent's office, were civilly disobedient, while the tea partiers -- no arrests within their ranks reported -- were a seething mob.