NPR's Totenberg Dismisses Tea Parties as 'Cockamamie'

NPR's Nina Totenberg on Friday night was unsure as to whether the tea parties have “any legs are not” since “at almost any given time any cockamamie proposition in America will have at least 25 percent of those polled supporting it.” On Inside Washington she called the anti-tax and anti-spending rallies “a good stunt,” before declaring Americans “pay relatively small taxes” and then lecturing those unappreciative protesters about how taxes provide, as if they want taxes totally eliminated, “a civilized kind of social compact where you don't have massive civil eruptions. That is what taxes are for.”

To which, Newsweek's Evan Thomas chimed in: “I'm all for paying more taxes.”

From the April 17 Inside Washington:
NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: Well, you know, I don't know whether this really has any legs are not. You have to remember that at almost any given time any cockamamie proposition in America will have at least 25 percent of those polled supporting it. It was a good stunt. Whether the stunt really is more than a stunt remains to be seen. Obviously there are people who don't like paying taxes, among them, probably some people at this table and certainly a certain individual whom I share a bed with doesn't like paying taxes at all.

GORDON PETERSON, MODERATOR/WJLA-TV ANCHOR: Nobody does, but we pay, actually in comparison to other countries-

TOTENBERG: We pay relatively small taxes. And what you get for it, let us say, what you get for it, even though you don't like this program are this program for this war or that were, what you ostensibly get for it is a civilized kind of social compact where you don't have massive civil eruptions. That is what taxes are for.

EVAN THOMAS, NEWSWEEK: I'm all for paying more taxes, but you've got to get things for it. And it has to be part of a compact. You can't just pay more taxes, you also have to have less spending...
Inside Washington is a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate and its all-news cable channel, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station, WETA-TV.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center