On the Chase



One unforeseen result of the Tea Party movement is the ascension of Chase Whiteside, a 22-year-old student journalist from Ohio. Dressed in colorful shirts and ties when he’s on camera, Whiteside has become a new progressive media darling with his reports from conservative political events. His interviews at Tea Party gatherings, a Sarah Palin book signing, and Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally in Washington, D.C., have racked up over 4.9 million hits on YouTube as of mid September.

New Left Media—as Whiteside and filmmaking partner and Wright State University classmate Erick Stoll call their endeavor—began as a reaction to the fevered health care reform debate in the summer of 2009, when Fox News fed its audience talking points about death panels and a rationing of services. Covering a town-hall meeting on health care in Columbus, Whiteside and Stoll found attendees repeating the Fox News “Obamacare” positions. “It’s not like they all had the same ideas just out of the blue about the health care bill,” Whiteside says. “They were getting them from the same place. We were fascinated by this idea, the consistency of the media narratives.”

Unlike progressive talking heads, Whiteside is not doing all the pontificating in his videos, shot by Stoll. Microphone in hand, Whiteside asks attendees if they’ll answer a few questions, simply telling his would-be subjects he’s a journalist—a reporting method sometimes criticized on comment boards—and his interview subjects do all the work of hanging themselves by their own tongues.

New Left Media’s interviews—picked up by sites like Joe.My.God and The Huffington Post—highlight how effective right-wing media outlets have been in convincing people that President Obama is not American-born and that the government hopes to curtail freedom of religion and speech.

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