John Berman Recalls: Tea Partiers Were Called 'Fringe,' Forgets When He Dismissed 'Fringe' Tea Partiers
ABC's John Berman on Wednesday sarcastically narrated a brief history of Tea Party movement. Interestingly, the Nightline reporter (see file photo at right) skipped the media's role in suggesting that the Tea Party movement is filled with racists. He only vaguely recounted, "Tea Party called fringe, called racist, called a fad."
Hinting these protesters are extreme should be familiar to Berman. On the February 5, 2010 World News, he chided the first Tea Party convention: "But barely scratch the surface, and there’s a tone of anger and confrontation."
Berman added, "One of the goals of this convention is to turn this movement into a political force. The question is, does the harsh rhetoric keep them on the fringe?"
The ABC reporter on Wednesday also played a clip of CNBC anchor Rick Santelli's 2009 speech on the floor the New York Stock Exchange and sarcastically derided it as an example of "big, objective journalism."
Berman held Fox News up as responsible for building up the Tea Party movement. After playing up a clip of Glenn Beck he mocked, "They report, you decide."
For more on biased Tea Party coverage, see this MRC study: TV's Tea Party Travesty.
A transcript of the September 22 segment, which aired at 11:57pm EDT, follows:
BILL WEIR: Like any successful party, it has everyone talking. What seemed like a fad at the beginning has become a powerful national movement capable of upsetting conventional wisdom. But how did the hub bub really get started? As we bear down on the vital midterm elections, John Berman brings us the very brief history of the Tea Party.
JOHN BERMAN: This is a tea party.
CHILD [Video of a little girl]: How do you like your tea?
BERMAN: [Painting of the Boston Tea Party and then a modern day tea party]: This is a tea party. And this is a pea party. So, how did we get from this to this to this? [Montage of little girls, then Boston Tea Party, then modern Tea Party.] It starts here, Boston, Massachusetts, 1773. Pesky colonists decide the British have more than just bad teeth, but also, bad taxes. Destruction of a good drink leads to creation of a great revolution. Fast forward 236 years. Economy in the toilet. National mood in the sewer. Welcome to your new job, Mr. President.
BARACK OBAMA: So help me, God.
BERMAN: Government enacts big stimulus, big auto bailout, big housing relief. It all costs big money. Enter big journalism.
RICK SANTELLI: This is America.
BERMAN: [Sarcastically] Big, objective journalism.
SANTELLI: How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills, raise their hand? How about we all- President Obama, are you listening?
BERMAN: Meet Rick Santelli, on-air editor for CNBC.
SANTELLI: We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan-
BERMAN: He orders up Tea Party. Not this kind [video of children's tea party and then modern Tea Party.]- but this kind. Strikes a chord with outsiders and insiders.
NEWT GINGRICH: But, you vote against America's future, we're going to fire you.
BERMAN: FreedomWorks posts guide for how to organize your own tea party. Grassroots gets busy. April 15th, 2009, tea parties go national.
WOMAN: We are spending way too much money and we're making our poor grandchildren pay for bills that are being accumulated now.
BERMAN: Fox News goes wall to wall.
GLENN BECK: Celebrate with Fox News.
BERMAN: [Sarcastically] They report, you decide. Summer of 2009. Obama health care push.
OBAMA: This is a serious problem for America.
BERMAN: Tea Party push back. No, not this kind [video of children's tea party and then modern Tea Party.]- but this kind. Town meetings gone wild. [Video of angry protesters]
SECOND WOMAN: I want to know if it's coming out of my paycheck.
BERMAN: Tea Party called fringe, called racist, called a fad. Tea Party starts calling the shots. Backs Scott Brown in Massachusetts. He's running for Ted Kennedy's seat, or, rather-
SCOTT BROWN: It's not the Kennedys seat and it's not the Democrats' seat. It's the people's seat.
BERMAN: Brown wins. Tea party rolls. Tea Party, actually lots of Tea Parties. Tea Party Nation. Tea Party Patriots. Tea Party Express. New American Tea Party. Tax Day Tea Party. Tea Party Revolution. They hold a convention. And invite a sensation.
SARAH PALIN: God bless you, tea partiers, and God bless the USA.
BERMAN: Tea party loves Palin. You wrote a song about her?
MAN: Yes. [Singing] Sarah, American woman! Sarah!
BERMAN: Tea Party goes big time. Glenn Beck takes Washington. Incumbents, beware. Even Republicans. Down goes Bennett. Down goes Murkowski. Down goes Castle. Tea Party favorites roll. Rubio, Angle, Paul, Miller, O'Donnell. Table is set for November. Set for a Tea Party. No, not this kind, but this kind [video of children's tea party and then modern Tea Party.] I'm John Berman for Nightline in New York.