This was the first line from the Vermont Press Bureau’s Capital Beat column:

Anyone looking for hints of violence or racism at the Tea Party protest outside of the Statehouse last week would have been disappointed.

via Let the party begin: Rutland Herald Online.

No hint of bias there, right?  Oh, I get how the word rally and protest can be interchangeable but, as Bill Clinton recently opined, words have meaning and we ought to be cautious about how we use them.  The word protest has a negative connotation for many people (especially conservatives) and they would not likely affiliate themselves with such an event.  Rally is the word, and the attitude, that I believe most Tea Party organizers prefer to use to capture a sense of positive engagement rather than G-20 summit protesters who tend to wield rocks instead of words.

And if you needed more proof that there is an attitude of condescension in the press toward conservatives and their quaint ideas of governance, the Capitol Beat gives column space to a counter demonstration, of sorts.  I don’t know the numbers, but I would be willing to bet that reports of protests against conservative government ideas (pick an issue during the Bush years) did not give equal space to any counter protests.

Of course, that could be because people who supported those conservative ideas are not likely to engage in that sort of behavior, as I suggested above.  Which side is more likely to protest but call it a rally and which side is more likely to rally and be called a protester?

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