The Short Memory of Rick Sanchez and His Tea Party Coverage
In an event most likely coordinated with help from the White House, more than 1,000 protesters supporting Obama's radical health care agenda demonstrated in D.C. on March 9, going so far as to attempt a citizen-arrests of health insurance executives holding a conference at a hotel in Dupont Circle.
Covering the story on "Rick's List," CNN's Rick "Down the Middle" Sanchez assured viewers he would "continue to follow this ... and in many ways treat this the same way we treated some of the tea party manifestations. Folks get together, we want to let you know who they are, what their cause is, and who's behind it all."
Well, if so, Sanchez had a lot to live up - or down - to. In covering the tea parties, he has: strongly hinted that Texas Governor Rick Perry could be painted as racist for using "states' rights" language in a tea party address in April '09; concluded there was a "disconcerting" infiltration of militia groups into tea party and town hall protests; allowed Fred Kaplan of Slate to downplay Tea Party events by grossly understating their numbers; accused Sarah Palin of forwarding "anti-intellectualism" at the Tea Party Convention; compared "American nativist" Tom Tancredo to a member of an infamous anti-immigrant New York City street thug; and labeled anti-Obamacare protests a "celebration of ignorance and misinformation"
Beyond the accusations of racism, Sanchez and his network literally glorified leftist protests; did its best to omit radical rhetoric from the left but found anti-Obama signs appalling; and characterized tea parties as unruly mobs or "a party for Obama bashers."
"You remember the tea-parties right?" Sanchez led off the story. "I mean that was essentially a protest that in many ways was against health care reform and in many ways was from the right. And suddenly, out of nowhere we get this scene outside the Ritz Carlton Hotel at Dupont Circle. Here are protests from HCAN. They're from the left - for the most part - and, you know what, I did a little digging."
And by "digging" Sanchez meant going to the websites of SEIU and HCAN for his information, sending a reporter on the scene who referred to the annual conference of health insurance executives as "the belly of the beast" and the "lion's den" (the same reporter who once referred to tea-partiers as "recession-raging conservatives"). He also interviewed the president of Health Care for America Now (HCAN), who predictably vilified the health insurance industry, saying "they make profits by hurting people."
Sanchez said that he "drilled down on the organizers of the protest," and named the major groups and individuals that involved - groups like the SEIU (an organization that specializes in beating up protestors), the secret-ballot killing AFL-CIO, Progress Now, and educational disaster-inducing teachers unions - as "organizations that are mostly to the left." As for Moveon.org, an organization known to produce negative ads like co-mingled images of George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler, Sanchez called them "progressive, if not left-leaning."
In regards to tactics used by the protestors such as entrance-blocking and an attempted citizens-arrest, Sanchez had this to say: "You can't fault them for that - that's what protests are all about."