Teabaggers Get a Load of What a True Populist Phenomenon Looks Like: Susan Boyle
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One of the factors that frequently limits the value of demonstrations in the modern era is that no matter how many people you pull together, if the media decides it's not going to cover something, the impact is minimal. The teabagger demonstrations were rather small relative to the hype and free media time lavished on them -- Nate Silver estimates that across the country there were 250,000 people attending, with the largest being 7,000. By way of comparison, many demonstrations for immigration reform in the spring of 2006 had more than 300,000 people at a single event.
That probably wouldn't have been a problem for the teabaggers -- right-wing robber barons with professional PR outfits had a long reach into the media, and on an otherwise quiet day, there would have been significant coverage. But as Cillizza notes, nobody factored in the Susan Boyle effect -- a genuine populist phenomenon. I watch a lot of cable news, and it was in heavy rotation all day long. It was all anyone could talk about, and rightfully so. I must've watched it 5 or 6 times myself. How can you not? Despite the petty, mean putdowns by the narcissistic asshole judges (or perhaps because of them), it's impossible not to tear up as you watch her walk on to the stage and take her best shot at the unlikely dream she never gave up on. It's up to 12 million views now [click to watch Susan Boyle].
So bottom line -- nobody cares, Karl. Susan Boyle kicked your ass, too.