There you have it:
I hear GOP folks and Tea Partiers bemoaning the fact that media and Democrats are using the extremes of their movement for ratings and to score points. This is like Drew Brees complaining that Dwight Freeney keeps trying to sack him. If that were Martin Luther King’s response to media coverage, the South might still be segregated. I exaggerate, but my point is that the whining reflects a basic misunderstanding of the rules of protest. When you lead a protest you lead it, you own it, and your opponents, and the media, will hold you responsible for whatever happens in the course of that protest. This isn’t left-wing bias, it’s the nature of the threat.There is of course a deeper question about the limits of strategy. It’s possible that if the Tea Partiers cleaned up their ranks–purged the birthers, publicly rebuked people like this guy, banned Hitler signs, loudly rejected any instances of racism–that they simply wouldn’t have much of a movement left. Martin Luther King was trying to lead a black community that was demonstrably patriotic, and had, in the main, rejected political violence as a strategy. He could afford to be picky. In the case of the Tea Parties, it’s possible that once you subtract the jackasses, you just don’t have enough energy left.
You cannot have the fervor and the strength of the message, without taking ownership of the fringe element and raucous lunacy. It is all you, and whether you like it or not, your message is diluted because of it. Stop whining about slanted coverage, and get rid of those nutters in your movement.