I was struck by how much coverage yesterday'srather small-looking Tea Party rally in Washington got in the national media. Slate's Dave Weigel has a piece(3/31/11) explaining that the event wasn't as "extreme asDemocrats would like it to be," as the subhead says.
But the movement'salso not nearly as popular as the media coverage would lead you to believe. As Weigel notes, this rally was rather sparsely attended–especially if you weren't counting reporters:
About 200 Tea Party activists trod over damp grass to hear their leaders respond to [House Speaker John] Boehner. There was at least one reporter for every three or four activists. They were there to hear conservatives rip into Republicans for statements like the one Boehner had just made. "I think there are more press than Tea Party Patriots here," joked freshman Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., in an aside to one of the organizers.