Having attended the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference (better known as CPAC) this past week, I can tell you how amusing it was to go back into the hotel room each night and watch MSNBC’s coverage of the event. As in this clip of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” the broadcasters would routinely take excerpts of speeches out of context in order to portray CPAC’s attendees and speakers as racist, bigoted lunatics – or, in Olbermann’s words, a “core of extremists.”
Case in point: in this episode of “Countdown,” Olbermann reads off some dumb comment by the infamous “Joe the Plumber” and suggests that these remarks are somehow indicative of everyone at CPAC, or even conservatives in general, and that Joe the Plumber was a central figure at the conference. In reality, Joe was relegated to a lonely table in the corner of a room of over a hundred others and attracted little attention.
Furthermore, Olbermann calls Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina a “CPAC contender for the ‘most out-there award.'” His offense? Senator Demint, a staunch economic conservative, had the audacity to call President Obama “the world’s best salesman of socialism” and suggested that conservatives may need to “take to the streets to stop America’s slide into socialism.”
These comments, incidentally, are supplemented with on-screen headlines like “C-Packing Heat” and “Right Off the Deep End.” This sloppy, foolish, and dishonest commentary on the part of the mainstream media is exactly what stifles honest, intellectual political dialogue.
CPAC is an important and historically significant gathering of grassroots conservatives, and for this reason has seen an increasingly strong showing of Ron Paul supporters. In fact, in this year’s presidential straw poll, Ron Paul finished an impressive third, ahead of popular conservatives like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee. The Campaign for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty must continue their effective political activism at CPAC, and reject this portrayal of CPAC participants as “nuts” or members of the political “fringe” – a charge to which, as we know, Congressman Paul and his supporters have been routinely subjected.