Most of you have vivid memory of the tea party rallies of 2009, particularly that summer. What we all said back then, and what is still true, is that their various rallies were never large in size. The biggest ones ranged from 1000-3000 people at the Mall, and they were heavily, shall we say, subsidized. Nevertheless, it completely consumed the media to the point where newspapers started delegating people for the "Tea Party" beat. It was actually the media obsession with the Tea Party that spooked Blue Dogs, to the point where a single guy protesting you at a town hall became a headline for the nightly news and could influence your district. A truly surreal moment in our politics.
Now compare that to the growing movement to stop the Keystone Pipeline. Bill McKibben has been doing gods work traveling the country and organizing communities, and we saw the payoff when they successfully delayed the pipeline in 2011 by organizing the largest mass arrest outside the WH in history, literally completely surrounding the WH with thousands of people. That action obviously shook the administration and Obama immediately put a hold on the pipeline. But what was funny about this story was that it was completely ignored by the media until there was a backlash to Obama delaying the pipeline by republicans. So if all you did was watch the cable news channels, you would've thought the story was about Obama hurting jobs because he caved to environmentalists on a pipeline, without any mention of the Tar Sands, what they are, and why this pipeline is so significant. As far as any ordinary viewer is concerned Keystone is just a regular old pipeline but the hippies are so extreme they won't let it get built. At best, the sympathetic case against the pipeline was presented as it not being as big of a job booster as advertised. But the disaster to the climate?? Nah, not important.
So that bring us to yesterdays 45,000 sized rally, the biggest rally for a singular cause probably since the immigration rallies in 2006. A truly BFD, and a rally that raised my hopes a tiny bit, that maybe, just maybe, we can stop this thing. But is it even covered as a news headline on MSNBC today?? No. Not even that "liberal bastion" thought to even put it on the ticker, when it should obviously be the top story.
Of course John McCain was talked about, and the deficit, and Benghazi. But here was this huge rally at the WH, the center of the political universe, about a specific decision thats all in Obama's hands, and you would have had NO IDEA what was going on.
I'll make a prediction right here:
There's only ONE way Keystone becomes a major topic of discussion in the "mainstream" media. If Obama rejects it, and the faux backlash ensues. Then cable news will talk about it morning to night.