Fox & Friends Saturday Highlights Media Bias Toward Tea Party

Near the end of the Saturday edition of Fox & Friends on Fox News, co-host Clayton Morris introduced a segment on the media's double standard when it comes to covering the tea party movement versus left-wing protestors: "Mainstream media casting tea party protesters as violent and racist, the same media that characterized leftist protests against President Bush as patriotic."

Morris brought on a tea party activist to discuss the topic: "Well, our next guest is someone who's not afraid to stand up to biased coverage. Check out this heated exchange with a CNN reporter at a tea party rally last year." A clip was played of tea partier Kathy Barkulis berating former CNN reporter Susan Roesgen: "You are not talking to regular, mainstream people. You picked people to talk to." Roesgen was later fired from CNN in July of 2009, in the wake of her slanted reporting on the tea party.

After the clip, Morris asked Barkulis: "So what do you say here? That the mainstream media's casting tea party protests as violent, dangerous, extremist? Is there a double standard, as you see it?" Barkulis replied: "Oh, of course there is, there's always been a double standard and it's just getting worse.... they're misrepresenting us and I really don't even think they've ever been to a tea party rally and they don't really know what we're all about. They're just repeating what other left-wing sources have told them."

Next week, the Media Research Center will be releasing a special report documenting media coverage of the tea party movement over the past year.

Co-host David Briggs asked Barkulis about reported racial slurs used during a Capitol Hill rally on the day ObamaCare was passed: "The day that Congress went to vote on the health care bill, there were some racist things said, there were some, to say the least, inappropriate things said. Do you feel it's your duty to stand out and speak against some of the things that were said that Sunday afternoon on Capitol Hill?" Barkulis replied: "I don't have any evidence that there was anything racist that was said. However, if there was, if there were people that said anything racist or if anybody spit on anyone that is deplorable and that is not what the tea party movement stands for."

Barkulis also pointed out: "You know, the Lyndon LaRouche people come at every single tea party protest I've been at. They have signs that show Obama as Hitler....they are not tea party people. And then the mainstream media puts a camera on them and tries to make off that they are tea party people." Morris replied: "And that's where the disparity goes and the double standard we're talking about." NewsBusters' Seton Motley documented the media's focus on Lyndon LaRouche signs at tea party rallies.

Morris went on to conclude: "it's what then the mainstream media did with that information and cast the entire tea party movement with that light and it's radically different than it was during the George W. Bush protests during the war." Barkulis replied: "they choose to call the people who protested and called Bush so many names, they choose to say that, you know, these are patriotic dissenters, they never made them out to be terrorists, or you know, violent, and the problem is, is that you can see the truth. [The police are]  not fearful that we're going to do anything that is going to cause harm to anyone."

Here is a full transcript of the segment:
9:43AM

CLAYTON MORRIS: Mainstream media casting tea party protesters as violent and racist, the same media that characterized leftist protests against President Bush as patriotic.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Media Double Standard Coverage; Tea Party Protests VS Anti-Bush Rallies]

MORRIS: Well, our next guest is someone who's not afraid to stand up to biased coverage. Check out this heated exchange with a CNN reporter at a tea party rally last year.

[CLIP OF EXCHANGE]

KATHY BARKULIS: You are not talking to regular, mainstream people. You picked people to talk to-

SUSAN ROESGEN: Most people here [inaudible] have a sign.

BARKULIS: I don't have a sign. You're not talking to – you didn't talk to him, he doesn't have a sign.         

ROESGEN: Why don't you tell me why you're here?

BARKULIS: We're here because we are sick and tired of the government taking our money and spending it in ways that we have no say in.

[END OF CLIP]

MORRIS: Alright. Here she is, we are joined this morning by tea party activist Kathy Barkulis. Thanks so much for joining us this morning, Kathy.

BARKULIS: Thank you.    

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Media Bias: Then & Now; Tea Party Protests VS Anti-Bush Rallies]

MORRIS: So what do you say here? That the mainstream media's casting tea party protests as violent, dangerous, extremist? Is there a double standard, as you see it?

BARKULIS: Oh, of course there is, there's always been a double standard and it's just getting worse. They absolutely have – the reporters have obviously never gone to a tea party rally and put themselves right in the center of the crowd, because if they did, they would see that we're not anarchists and we're not violent and we're normal everyday mainstream people just exercising our freedom of speech. So, they're misrepresenting us and I really don't even think they've ever been to a tea party rally and they don't really know what we're all about. They're just repeating what other left-wing sources have told them.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Mainstream Media Coverage; Tea Party Protests Depicted as Racist, Violent]

DAVID BRIGGS: Kathy, I'd assume you agree some protesters have taken liberties with that freedom of speech. The day that Congress went to vote on the health care bill, there were some racist things said, there were some, to say the least, inappropriate things said. Do you feel it's your duty to stand out and speak against some of the things that were said that Sunday afternoon on Capitol Hill?


BARKULIS: Well, first of all, I don't – I don't have any evidence that there was anything racist that was said. However, if there was, if there were people that said anything racist or if anybody spit on anyone that is deplorable and that is not what the tea party movement stands for.

MORRIS: And just to-
                                
BARKULIS: There are always going to be people – there's always going to be people that show up at rallies. You know, the Lyndon LaRouche people come at every single tea party protest I've been at. They have signs that show Obama as Hitler, they actually have at the bottom of their signs saying the Lyndon LaRouche, you know, LaRouche organization. So they come, and they used to come to Bush rallies. They go to every single rally and they put up their disgusting signs and they try to meld in with the majority of the protesters that are there, but they are not tea party people.

MORRIS: Right.

BARKULIS: And then the mainstream media puts a camera on them and tries to make off that they are tea party people.

MORRIS: Right.

BARKULIS: They're not.

CLAYTON MORRIS: And that's where the disparity goes and the double standard we're talking about.

BARKULIS: Correct.

MORRIS: Because Fox News did confirm that stuff did happen that morning on the vote. But it's the – it's what then the mainstream media did with that information and cast the entire tea party movement with that light and it's radically different than it was during the George W. Bush protests during the war.

BARKULIS: Right. They – you know, they choose to call the people who protested and called Bush so many names, they choose to say that, you know, these are patriotic dissenters, they never made them out to be terrorists, or you know, violent, and the problem is, is that you can see the truth. When you look at, for example, G8 protests, they have police with riot gear, tear gas, shields walking up and down through the crowd. When you have a tea party protest, you have policemen sitting on horses, filing their nails. They're not really upset and they don't have riot gear on, so, obviously, they're not fearful that we're going to do anything that is going to cause harm to anyone.

BRIGGS: Well, Kathy Barkulis, you make a very passionate and informed argument this morning. Have a great Easter, thanks for being here.

BARKULIS: Thank you.

MORRIS: Thanks, Kathy.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC