Washington Post humorist Gene Weingarten is working in his hatred for conservatives in his Sunday Post Magazine column. The column is mostly a whimsical review of a George Bernard Shaw play and how Britain in Victorian times had a very uptight morality, and characters like pimps could only be portrayed as "loathsome deviants who would roast in Hell." Then he veered into this digression:
This sort of unwritten literary convention may seem quaint today, but such subtle rules are still practiced. For example, American journalists know they can write about the Tea Party, but only if it is presented as a serious ideological movement instead of as a posse of ignoramuses carrying signs such as the one in the second photo on this page [above].
The best that can be said of the Travel Channel's Anthony Bourdain when he had No Reservations about making a fool of himself on Friday's Anderson Cooper 360 is that perhaps it was really one or more of the various substances he has abused over the years that was really talking. Here is the Travel Channel host spouting off in reply to a question from Anderson Cooper about if he ever attended a Tea Party:
You know, I was just reading "Hellhound on His Trail," a book about the -- about the assassination of Dr. King and about -- particularly about the Wallace-for-president campaign in California back then. And you're looking at, I think, at basically the same demographic: a lot of marginal, very angry white people.
I'm pretty happy about the Tea Party, because I think they're ensuring that no reasonable electable Republican will be -- will be president. They're taking over the party in a way that makes them look more or less crazy. If I were a conspiratorially-minded person, I think that Michele Bachmann, for instance, was a creation of some evil Democratic group to make them all look like loony tunes and dumb as a sack full of hammers.
John Fund on Friday smacked down Bill Maher for calling Tea Partiers "teabaggers."
As the panel discussion of HBO's "Real Time" convened, the host said, "The teabaggers I guess think they had a big win Tuesday."
He then asked the American Spectator's Fund, "Why are they so silent on financial reform?"
After Fund answered the question, he said, "I think people should be called by the term that they use themselves...Using 'teabaggers' is equivalent to, I have atheist friends. They don't like to be called 'Christian haters.' They prefer to be called atheists (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
In Missouri, a high school student was assigned Michael Moore's documentary "Sicko" to analyze for 50% of her grade in her senior Literature and Composition class. Perhaps more shocking is that the teacher who assigned the movie also denounced the same student in front of the class as a "teabagger".
NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd seemed astonished by how a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll confirmed solid agreement with Arizona's immigration enforcement law – “a whopping 64 percent support the law,” Todd marveled, “and we read them the law verbatim exactly as it's been written” and still, he repeated, “64 percent approve of it.” NBC also treated as surprising the majority backing for racial profiling to prevent terrorism, while Todd didn't mention what NBC's polling partner, the Wall Street Journal, found most newsworthy. Lead of the WSJ.com post:
Republicans have solidified support among voters who had drifted from the party in recent elections, putting the GOP in position for a strong comeback in November's elections, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
In his limited air time, Todd used the video wall at 30 Rock to highlight the public's belief the government and BP haven't done enough to address the Gulf oil spill, but he didn't note another finding which counters the media's preferences and narrative, that despite the accident, 60 percent support “more drilling for oil off the coast of the United States.”
It's the American way, right? It is patriotic to exercise the 1st Amendment by petitioning the government for a redress of grievances - unless of course your effort has a tie to some corporation or lobbying interest. Then regardless of its size, it's phony baloney Astroturf activism.
While groups like the George Soros-funded MoveOn.org have managed to elude the "Astroturf" moniker, from its inception, the Tea Party movement has taken shots from its critics. One of the most popular left-wing charges was to call it "Astroturf," meaning it was presented as a grassroots efforts, but wasn't really grassroots. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi labeled the Tea Party movement "Astroturf" back during the original Tax Day Tea Party protest on April 15, 2009.
"This initiative is funded by the high end - we call it Astroturf," Pelosi said. "It's not really a grassroots movement. It's Astroturf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class."
That attitude has been widely echoed in media coverage of the Tea Party, as if it were a corporate effort to subvert the U.S. government's ability to collect revenue and redistribute wealth through public works and social program. Meanwhile, environmental causes, like Earth Day or global warming with their own corporate sponsorship - are rarely labeled Astroturf.
The European Union and the International Monetary Fund to the rescue! The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) soars and investors breathe a sign of relief. But where's this $1 trillion in bailout funds for Greece coming from?
"On one thing, Rick - because you started the whole thing where you said, ‘Are you listening, President Obama?' about paying for your neighbor's mortgage," Kernen said. "Are you, could you really tell the American taxpayer, you can connect the dots between them and Greece? I mean are they paying for some lavish benefits in Greece right now?"
CNN and the Associated Press on Wednesday and Thursday touted how the tea party movement apparently didn't get motivate voters to turn out and "throw out the bums" in Republican primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio. Both outlets, however, omitted how senate candidate Rob Portman ran unopposed in his primary race in Ohio.
Anchor Rick Sanchez brought on CNN national political correspondent Jessica Yellin during a segment 21 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour of his Rick's List program on Wednesday. After noting how Democratic Representative David Obey, a "partisan brawler," was retiring, and how "Sarah Palin and tea party influences" might be "running some of these rascals out of office," Sanchez turned to Yellin and asked her about the results: "Those allegedly angry voters could have stormed the polls in droves and thrown out the bums. They would have all been there in big numbers, and they're going to get rid of the incumbents, get rid of the old hacks. So, did that happen?"
On Wednesday, Newsweek's Andrew Romano celebrated news out of Indiana that "establishment" Republican Dan Coats fended off two conservative opponents in the Senate primary.
Romano's obvious delight came through loud and clear starting with the headline, "The Tea Party is Now Irrelevant in Indiana." You see, one loss in a Senate primary was enough to declare the movement DOA - and Romano was anxious for the rest of the media to play along.
The real headline in Indiana was that 52 percent of Republicans went in favor of Tea Party challengers, but two of them in the mix was enough to split the vote, and Coats squeaked by at 39 percent.
A few media sources, including Politico, reported that Coats limped out of the primary "bruised" by anti-incumbency. Romano, however, insisted that 39 percent was a clear victory. Why the stark difference in coverage? According to Romano, some in the media were glorifying Tea Parties to apparently advance some selfish narrative.
Try not to cough from the smell of irony as you watch a Newsweek writer complain about dishonest narratives being perpetrated by the media:
There's a cynical theme growing in the media that Faisal Shahzad, the man accused of attempting to set off a car bomb in New York's Times Square Saturday, was driven to violence by the loss of his job, the loss of his house, and his anger towards former President George W. Bush.
In all of this theorizing -- or what some might call psychobabble -- those making the assertion have yet to ponder if six years of Bush Derangement Syndrome might also be involved.
For over a year, Americans have been warned that so-called "hate speech" directed at Barack Obama and Democrats by conservative talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity, as well as others at Fox News, is going to manifest itself in violent acts against elected officials and/or our nation.
With this in mind mightn't years of "hate speech" directed at Bush and Republicans by liberal talk radio hosts and MSNBC in particular have incited Shahzad's anger to such an extent that he decided to become a domestic terrorist?
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's Hardball, brought on two former CIA officials to discuss the latest terror attack, and the MSNBC host agreed with Tyler Drumheller that the most recent attacker was motivated by his house being foreclosed on and also agreed with Robert Baer who feared another attack could lead to "The Tea Party being strengthened" which could lead to "people blaming the White House for a situation it didn't create." Baer also hit Matthews' sweet spot of talking points when he went on to warn that the last successful terror attack "got us into a war in Iraq we didn't need to be in." [audio available here]
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA FIELD OFFICER: But what I'm really afraid, Chris, is the next time one of these guys are going to get through. And what's it gonna do to this country? It's gonna rip it apart. Because people are gonna be looking for quick, immediate answers.
MATTHEWS: How so?
BAER: You know, they're gonna, they're gonna look, you know, crack down on, you know, who knows where it's gonna to end up? You're gonna see the Tea Party being, you know, being strengthened. You're gonna see people blaming the White House for a situation it didn't create.
BAER: It could affect the, you know it could affect the United States for a long time. Look, it got us into a war in Iraq we didn't need to be in...
MATTHEWS: Yeah well I agree.
The following exchange was aired on the May 4 edition of Hardball:
Comments on two Sunday shows reflected an emerging new liberal line of reasoning, which uses the lack of opposition to Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law, as a means to discredit conservatives and Tea Party activists as hypocrites and/or racists. HBO’s Bill Maher on ABC’s This Week:
Government intrusion, government power is something that really bothers conservatives, unless it's directed toward people who aren't white, you know, I mean it does seem like there’s some of that going on there.
Chrystia Freeland of Reuters on the McLaughlin Group:
What I think is really important to notice here is the hypocrisy, the intellectual hypocrisy because we have...a lot of the same people who are very exercised right now...about big government and pointing out the American tradition of liberty, of individual rights, are also the people who are on the side of allowing the government to intrude much more into individuals' lives on immigration.
You have the makings of a New York Times hit piece on conservatism. In the April 27 issue of the Times, a story in its Style section of all places by Patricia Cohen, singled out and accused a number of conservatives of "closed-mindedness" or as the article claimed "epistemic closure."
"It is hard to believe that a phrase as dry as ‘epistemic closure' could get anyone excited, but the term has sparked a heated argument among conservatives in recent weeks about their movement's intellectual health," Cohen wrote. "The phrase is being used as shorthand by some prominent conservatives for a kind of closed-mindedness in the movement, a development they see as debasing modern conservatism's proud intellectual history."
Fox News's Megyn Kelly Tuesday featured a marvelous comparison of how the media cover Tea Parties versus immigration protests.
As NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock reported Monday, ABC News logged dramatically different reports about the ObamaCare protests on Capitol Hill in March and the virtual riots that happened in Arizona after that state's governor signed a strict anti-illegal immigration law last Friday.
The former was depicted as "very ugly" while the latter, despite the number of riot police and arrests, was described as "mostly peaceful."
With this in mind, Kelly invited liberal talk radio host Mark Levine and conservative talk radio host Mike Gallagher to debate the disparity.
As you might imagine, Levine hysterically saw both reports as being accurate (video follows with commentary):
News outlets across the country have latched on to a survey that suggests TEA party supporters tend to be resentful toward minorities. Newsweek published two different pieces on the same item, while a handful of newspapers also gleefully relayed the findings.
There are just a few problems. First, the survey was conducted by a University of Washington professor bent on proving racism exists against President Obama. Second, his entire sample of white TEA party supporters comprised exactly 117 people. Finally, many of the questions had nothing to do with racial resentment.
But we can't have facts getting in the way of a media narrative.
As soon as the survey was released April 7, news outlets were all over it pushing the survey results as empirical evidence, and many not even pretending to sound neutral on the subject. The leader of the study, Political Science professor Christopher Parker, was not asked about his own political leanings or his apparent pre-occupation with finding racism afoot.
First up to bat was the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, whose blog writer Scott Sunde promoted the survey without question on April 8:
While America's media continue to depict the Tea Party as homophobic, angry racists, they shamefully ignore the REAL hate speech going on in our nation, namely what's being regularly hurled at this movement by its opponents.
Take for example the absolutely shocking voice-mail messages that have been left at the offices of FreedomWorks, a non-profit organization that has supported the Tea Party since its inception.
In response to a video that fired GEICO announcer Lance Baxter aka D.C. Douglas created last week that included messages he received from non-supporters after his termination, the folks at FreedomWorks on Monday published a collection of their own.
This video contains astonishingly vulgar and hateful voice-mail messages left for FreedomWorks employees that likely would be front-page and headline news if this was a liberal organization (video follows with commentary, STRONG vulgarity and content warning, h/t Right Scoop):
"You have not had a single, as far as I know, violent action related to the Tea Party activity. For all the bluster or energy or street theater, no one's been hurt. They haven't, you know, they're not the bogeyman that maybe they have been portrayed by many."
So amazingly said Geraldo Rivera to fired GEICO announcer Lance Baxter aka D.C. Douglas Sunday evening.
As NewsBusters reported last week, Baxter was terminated by the insurance giant for leaving a disgusting voice-mail message at the offices of FreedomWorks, an organization that is supporting the Tea Party.
Days later, Rivera decided to question Douglas and FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe separately (video follows with highlights and commentary):
Reacting to news the Obama administration wants to postpone a vote on “Cap and Trade” in favor of immigration reform, on Sunday’s Face the Nation New York Times columnist Tom Friedman despaired: “This is a disaster...This is a travesty. Basically, we were about to send the first bi-partisan legislation for radical move toward more green energy, more green jobs and putting a price on carbon...”
Now, he fretted, “in Beijing, they're high- fiving each other. ‘Oh, yeah, baby, this means the Americans are going to be paralyzed on green tech, okay, for another couple of years.’ China is already leading the world now in wind production, China’s already leading world in solar production.”
While he chastised Democrats and Obama for putting the “raw politics” of trying to save Harry Reid ahead of the energy bill, he saved his real disgust for how only one Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, was willing to help promote “green energy,” charging: “Shame on the Republican Party. There's one Republican for advancing green energy in this country? One Republican Senator dare step out?”
Does anyone out there remember the Coffee Parties?
You can be forgiven if you have forgotten them. They made a brief appearance due to media driven hype over a month ago and then quickly disappeared from view when they inspired a collective yawn from the public. The photo at right shows a typical Coffee Party "rally" from back then. Typical in that few people showed up to protest against private ownership (aka free enterprise). Even the organizer of the Coffee Party non-movement, Annabel Park, seems to have lost her enthusiasm for the cause as evidenced by her Twitter page. After an initial flurry of posts, Park's interest pretty much petered out as you can see.
However, despite the utter failure of the liberal Coffee Parties to counter the popular Tea Parties, the MSM continues to hype them to the point of absolute absurdity. And the latest entry in this category comes from Steve Tuttle of Newsweek with his claim that the Coffee Party now has 200,000 members and that they had 500 meetings one day recently.
Here is Tuttle in the midst of extreme hype mode. Please be prepared to have your BS meters fly off the scale while reading:
“Part of the reason (for the media’s coverage) is the timeless truth in media that nothing succeeds like excess,” explained Martin and Smith. “But part of the reason is a convergence of incentives for journalists and activists on left and right alike to exaggerate both the influence and exotic traits of the tea-party movement.”
"During the final days of the healthcare debate, FreedomWorks, headed by heartthrob Matt Kibbe and Dick Armey, herded their angry teabagging mob to the Capitol steps," began Lance Baxter aka D.C. Douglas.
"Among the chants, racist signs, and blinding white skin, were certain inventive members who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at the Congressmen as they strode toward the historic vote."
After playing a number of voice-mail messages he's received since this story broke -- none of them as disgusting as the one he left for FreedomWorks -- Baxter concluded (video follows with additional lowlights and commentary, mild vulgarity and partial nudity warning, h/t Political Carnival via tweet from Sister Toldjah):
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Wednesday defended a GEICO voice-over actor who referred to Tea Party members as mentally retarded killers.
Last week, Lance Baxter aka D.C. Douglas left the following voice-mail at the offices of FreedomWorks (audio available here):
Hi there. I`m doing a paper about FreedomWorks and I was wondering if somebody could give me a call back. I`m wrapping up and I just have one more piece of information I need to get from you guys -- just need to know what the percentage is of people that are mentally retarded who work for the organization, and are members of it. And oh -- and one final thing, wondering what your plans are, how to spin it when one of your members does actually kill somebody, wondering how, if you`ve got an actual P.R. spinning routine planned for that or are you just going to take it when it happens. Just curious. So, give me a call when you get a chance. Thanks so much.
Baxter has since been fired for this disgusting message, and O'Donnell filling in for Keith Olbermann on Wednesday's "Countdown" actually came to the actor's defense claiming he was only exercising his First Amendment rights (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Monday, the Christian Science Monitor bucked its mainstream peers by reporting something truthful about the TEA party movement: police officials have begun to relax security requirements at conservative rallies because of the remarkable absence of violence.
Yes, you read that right: despite nonstop media warnings about hateful protests, violence from TEA party attendants is so nonexistent that police feel safe allowing them to bring large items and sometimes even guns.
The Monitor was compelled to check things out when a TEA party in Raleigh, North Carolina, persuaded officials to overturn a ban on flag poles. Such items are typically banned because a flag pole is really just a very big stick that could be used as a weapon. The Monitor's research led the paper to admit that conservative protests are far less threatening than many past demonstrations.
Patrik Jonsson's article drew a refreshing contrast between violent rallies of the Vietnam era versus the new model of peaceful civil uprising:
The black Tea Party member who was curiously lambasted by New York Times columnist Charles "Minstrel Show" Blow last week struck back at his offender on Monday.
In his now infamous Friday column, Blow wrote of the Dallas Tea Party gathering he attended the previous day:
They saved the best for last, however: Alfonzo "Zo" Rachel. According to his Web site, Zo, who is black and performs skits as "Zo-bama," allowed drugs to cost him "his graduation." Before ripping into the president for unconstitutional behavior, he cautioned, "I don't have the education that our president has, so if I misinterpret some things in the founding documents I kind of have an excuse." That was the understatement of the evening.
On Monday, Rachel posted a marvelous, truly must-see video countering Blow's attack:
During a speech to the winter conference of the Young Democratic Socialists the site Verum Serum found that ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis praised socialism and attacked conservatives. She even goes so far as to say that today's political atmosphere is worse than McCarthyism, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and Jim Crow segregation:
Liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz on Tuesday went absolutely berserk on a Democrat Tea Party member that didn't approve of how President Obama went back on his campaign promise to make healthcare reform hearings open and transparent.
"My reason for being with the Tea Party is is this whole healthcare stuff," said a caller named Jason who claimed to be a Democrat.
"I remember hearing President Obama talking about how it was going to be open and transparent, it was going to be on C-SPAN, we were going to know what's in the bill, and that's just not the way it worked."
This sent Schultz into a hissy fit of epic proportions concluding with him saying, "God, go pick up your gun and march if it makes you feel better because you're too stupid to read" (YouTube audio follows with partial transcript and commentary, h/t Radio Equalizer):