They've been compared to the Taliban, terrorists, and hostage takers. They've been called teabaggers, racists and angry white men. The Tea Party is one of the most divisive groups in America, and given their reputation, you might expect them to have a miserable knowledge of basic facts and science, right?
That's what Yale professor Dan Kahan expected to find when he compared scientific literacy for people who identify as Tea Party with the rest of the population. To his great surprise, Tea Partiers actually proved to be more scientifically literate than the rest of the population.
Of course, this shouldn't be a surprise for anyone like me who gets their information outside the left-wing mainstream media (MSM). Indeed, a 2010 poll showed that Tea Partiers are more likely to be college-educated than the rest of the population.
The mainstream media gets Tea Parties (it's not a unified movement) completely wrong.
Tea partiers are usually portrayed as old white male who don't like the president because of the color of his skin. According to a 2010 Gallup poll, however, they are pretty mainstream: they represent all age groups, levels of employment and education, and male aren't overly dominant. Also, accusations of racism are mostly baseless.
But who's really extremist? The party that wants to stop a job-killing, deficit-digging health reform law whose website's costs are exploding? Or the party that wants to steal(... er, tax "the rich") even though they pay much more than their "fair" share already, and who absolutely refuse to comprise on anything, who accumulate nearly 40% of the actualized debt (and counting), and whose violate constitutional rights even worse than the preceding administration?
Finally, Tea Parties are also accused of violence. Although violence has happened, most protests have been very calm and civil. And if the Tea Parties are violent, how would the MSM describe the Occupy movement's actions? Or these union protests against their "rights"? Or these attacks against conservative associations? But the media has beenstrangely silent on this violence.
So even if you disagree with what the Tea Parties stand for (I don't belong to any), their portrayal in the media is grossly misinformed. They are much smarter and much less extreme than what we want you to believe.