After Bashing Palin for 'Dem Hit List,' MSNBC's Shuster Highlights Liberal PAC 'Targeting' Tea Party Candidates

In the 10AM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, anchor David Shuster talked with Democratic strategist Craig Varoga, founder of the Patriot Majority political action committee, about efforts to "fight against tea-party-backed candidates." Moments later, a headline on screen read: "Tea Party Targets; PAC Launching Counter-Attack of Tea Party."

During the same hour on Monday, Shuster described how in a speech on Sunday, "[Sarah] Palin also took aim at Democrats in the media after she was criticized for posting a map of targeted House Democrats with using rifle cross-hairs." An on-screen graphic showed a picture of the map featured on Palin's website with the headline,"Sarah Palin's Dem Hit List," suggesting Palin was inciting violence against members of Congress.

Meanwhile, during the Tuesday segment with Varoga, the word "target" was used frequently. The headline "Tea Party Targets" remained on screen throughout the segment, as several secondary headlines appeared next to it, including: "Group Targeting Tea Party-Backed Candidates," "PAC Targeting 12 to 15 Conservative Races," "PAC's Mission: To Ensure Congress Tea Party-Free," and "PAC: Americans Need to Confront Tea Party." At one point, Shuster himself used the word: "What are the specific races, specific campaigns that you're going to be targeting?"

Shuster began the interview by wondering: "Why create this sort of PAC? What's – what is it that makes you afraid?" Varoga explained: "The reason why we're opposed to the tea party and the reason why we will be opposing candidates, is one, they're distracting us from actually dealing with the real problems we confront as a nation." Shuster failed to point out that rather than being a genuine grassroots effort, the Patriot Majority PAC is largely a union-backed slush fund for Democrats.

Varoga went on to offer another reason to oppose the tea party: "their extremism, they're, you know, I mean, either looking the other way or encouraging harassment and violence is actually not only coarsening American life, it's putting people in danger." He added: "We believe that a majority of Americans oppose those actions by the tea party. And we think it's everybody's patriotic duty to rise to the occasion and oppose them."

In addition, Varoga spoke about his own "hit list": "we're not going to put the list together by ourselves....We're calling on Americans across the country to report and to suggest races where they want to oppose tea party candidates." Shuster suggested a Republican to put on that list: "Would that include, for example, a sitting members of Congress like Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota?" Varoga replied: "I mean, absolutely. Anybody's on the table at this point, in terms of opposing them, if they're ideas are dangerous and if they're actually participating and making America weaker by preventing us from rising to the occasion."

As the segment concluded, Varoga expressed his gratitude to Shuster for acting as a Democratic shill: "Thank you so much for doing this." Shuster replied: "You're welcome."

Just imagine how Shuster and MSNBC would react to a conservative being part of an organization called the "Patriot Majority," who thought Democratic congressional candidates were "dangerous," and was compiling a "list" of them to "target."

Here is a full transcript of the segment:
10:25AM

DAVID SHUSTER: Is the tea party movement skating on thin ice? Tea party favorite Sarah Palin has just endorsed three conservative republicans running for Congress. Palin is supporting Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Vaughn Ward of Idaho, and Allen West of Florida. Democratic strategist Craig Varoga created the Patriot Majority PAC to fight against tea-party-backed candidates. And Craig joins us now. Craig, first of all, why create this sort of PAC? What's – what is it that makes you afraid?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tea Party Targets; Palin Endorses Three Tea Party Candidates]

CRAIG VAROGA: Well, let me say what Patriot Majority is. We believe that America is stronger if we take care of our economy, if we create jobs, if we keep our schools strong, provide affordable health care, but also face the challenges that are confronting us around the world.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tea Party Targets; PAC Launching Counter-Attack of Tea Party]

The reason why we're opposed to the tea party and the reason why we will be opposing candidates, is one, they're distracting us from actually dealing with the real problems we confront as a nation.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Anti-Tea Party Movement; Craig Varoga, Democratic Strategist; Founder, Patriot Majority Action Committee; Group Targeting Tea Party-Backed Candidates]

But two, their extremism, they're, you know, I mean, either looking the other way or encouraging harassment and violence is actually not only coarsening American life, it's putting people in danger. We saw that, you know, about a dozen members of congress were threatened simply because they had voted for health care. That's unacceptable. We don't believe in it. We believe that a majority of Americans oppose those actions by the tea party. And we think it's everybody's patriotic duty to rise to the occasion and oppose them.    

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tea Party Targets; PAC Targeting 12 to 15 Conservative Races]

SHUSTER: What are the specific races, specific campaigns that you're going to be targeting?

VAROGA: Well, we're actually doing this in a very interesting way. It's – you know, we're not going to put the list together by ourselves.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tea Party Targets; PAC's Mission: To Ensure Congress Tea Party-Free]

We're calling on Americans across the country to report and to suggest races where they want to oppose tea party candidates. I mean, there are a lot of people out there, you know, who have been affiliating with the tea party, at least on the Republican side, and who are saying that they're tea party candidates.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tea Party Targets; PAC: Americans Need to Confront Tea Party]

So we're basically going to ask the American people to make the suggestion in terms of who the tea party candidates are, who should be opposed. We think-

SHUSTER: Well, would that include, for example – would that include, for example, a sitting members of Congress like Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tea Party Targets; PAC: Citizens Across U.S. to Monitor Violence]

VAROGA: I mean, absolutely. Anybody's on the table at this point, in terms of opposing them, if they're ideas are dangerous and if they're actually participating and making America weaker by preventing us from rising to the occasion. So, you know, I'm not going to put her on the table, I'm not going to take her off. We're going to listen to people who are out there at the grassroots who support Patriot Majority in order to decide who those 12 or 15 are going to be.

SHUSTER: Craig Varoga, the founder and president of the Patriot PAC – Patriot Majority PAC. Criag, thanks for joining us this morning.

VAROGA: Okay, thank you so much for doing this.

SHUSTER: You're welcome.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC