After Rep. Paul Ryan faced a handful of boos at a largely calm town hall meeting the other day, Rep. Nancy Pelosi released a statement crowing, “Chairman Ryan, the people, including your constituents, are talking. Are you listening?”
Pelosi might want to take her own advice and listen to the standing ovation Ryan received for his budget plan at a town hall in Greenfield, Wisconsin, earlier today. The Weekly Standard’s John McCormick caught the video:
“Ryan faced a larger number of hecklers at this event than previous ones,” McCormick says, “but they were just a sliver of the max capacity crowd. The vast majority of those present stood and applauded Ryan after one constituent rose to thank the congressman for producing his plan to rein in the federal budget.”
That there is opposition to Ryan’s budget at town hall meetings is hardly surprising—Americans aren’t politically monolithic. It would be suspicious if all of Ryan’s constituents supported his plan. But the media’s attempt to depict this mild opposition as a major news story shows to what extent reporters rely upon predetermined narratives. Comparing the current atmospheres at town hall meetings to the atmosphere in 2009 may be a great way to frame a news story, but it doesn’t mesh with reality.