Associated Press writer Jesse Washington has investigated the March 20 incident in Washington, D.C. at which members of the Tea Party supposedly hurled the N-word at black Congressmen. Well, no recording of that word being used could be found but that hasn't stopped Washington from blaming the Tea Partiers...for posting the "wrong" video of that incident on YouTube. I kid you not:
Three Democratic congressmen — all black — say they heard racial slurs as they walked through thousands of angry protesters outside the U.S. Capitol. A white lawmaker says he heard the epithets too. Conservative activists say the lawmakers are lying.
What does the video show? Not much. Indeed, new interviews show that a much-viewed YouTube recording cited as evidence by conservatives was actually shot well after the time in question.
...A reconstruction of the events shows that the conservative challenges largely sprang from a mislabeled video that was shot later in the day.
Why does the mainstream media keep trotting out the Boy Who Cried Right-Wing Terrorist?
Better known as Mark Potok of the hard-left Southern Poverty Law Center, he has been trumpeted by a number of media outlets seeking to promote the notion that "right-wingers" are lurking behind every corner to overthrow the federal government.
The fact that he is consistently wrong about, well, just about everything -- from the political views of the supposed right wingers to the supposedly violent nature of conservative groups to the mere presence of violent crime -- does not seem to dissuade Old Media from using him to smear conservatives.
Potok's latest target for fear-mongering is a group called the Oathkeepers. The group consists of military veterans who pledge not to follow orders that would result in the violation of Americans' constitutional rights. I know, this is really radical, extremist, right-wing nutjob stuff.
This week, Americans of all political stripes will take to the streets -- so to speak -- to protest what they see as excessive and out of control government spending and intrusion into their daily lives. Among the many Tea Party protesters, however, will be individuals plotting to undermine the peaceful grassroots movement.
Blogger Glenn Reynolds spotted CrashTheTeaParty.org today, a website that claims to represent "a nationwide network of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are all sick and tired of that loose affiliation of racists, homophobes and morons; who constitute the fake grassroots movement, which calls itself 'the Tea Party.'"
Their plan is to "infiltrate" Tea Party protests to create the false impression that protesters are racists by … being racists. That's right, they will bring with them offensive signs and give wildly offensive interviews to reporters, all with the intention of smearing a movement that wouldn't bring those signs or give those interviews themselves. It remains to be seen whether the mainstream media will take the bait.
On Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, substitute host Laura Ingraham and FNC analyst Bernard Goldberg discussed the mainstream media's double standard in highlighting bad behavior by extreme and atypical members of the Tea Party movement while ignoring bad behavior by left-wing protesters. After showing a clip of anti-war protesters burning an American flag and shouting incendiary accusations about the CIA and the war on terrorism, Ingraham observed: "That video was striking. And the sentiment expressed, the vile comments. But you've got to search for the coverage of that. I mean, you had to, you had to hunt, with those little metal detectors, to find that coverage anywhere."
Goldberg complained about media treatment of Tea Party activists: "These fringe events at Tea Party rallies, whether they're nasty signs or these alleged shouting of racial slurs, which I am convinced at this point never happened, this fits into the narrative of most mainstream news reporters, that the Tea Party people are not too smart, they're bigots. So when you see a nasty sign, which I'm against and you're against, but when you see one of these signs, they report it as, if not typical, certainly not unusual."
Goldberg soon highlighted charges of racism by conservative activists recently made by Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen, and noted the irony that Cohen himself has been the target of racist and anti-Semitic attacks by fellow Democrats who want his predominantly black congressional district in Tennessee to elect a black candidate in his place. Goldberg:
In what is generally being interpreted by most as a surprise move, CNN has recently decided to cover the Tea Party movement from an angle foreign to most in the main stream media - combating stereotypes that are heavily promoted by liberals.
That comparison alone raises some questions, however. How does a network which featured the Roesgen debacle, suddenly find respect for the movement? How does the organization whose award-winning journalists refer to the people as ‘tea baggers', seek to dispel the degrading stereotypes propagated in the media? And how does a network, who just over a week ago minimized a Nevada Tea Party Event of roughly 20,000 people, by speculating that ‘at least dozens' were in attendance, suddenly believe the movement to be legitimate and important?
Most importantly, is the network actively seeking a shift to more fair and balanced coverage, or are they seeking the admiration of conservatives driving the ratings of Fox News? Michelle Malkin for one is skeptical, calling it a desperate move for a ‘ratings-starved CNN'.
The curiosity of the CNN shift has only been exacerbated by the network's desire to have the story covered by conservative writers.
CNN political producer Shannon Travis surprisingly acknowledged that the mainstream media has stereotyped the Tea Party movement in a Wednesday article on CNN.com: "When it comes to the Tea Party movement, the stereotypes don't tell the whole story." Travis continued by emphasizing positive aspects of the nascent grassroots movement and noting the presence of minorities.
The producer's article, simply titled "Reporter's notebook: What really happens at Tea Party rallies," recounted what he saw during five days of the Tea Party Express's convoy across the nation. He first summarized the slant often found in the media's coverage of the conservative protests: "Here's what you often see in the coverage of Tea Party rallies: offensive posters blasting President Obama and Democratic leaders; racist rhetoric spewed from what seems to be a largely white, male audience; and angry protesters rallying around the Constitution."
After recounting the alleged racial incidents against Representatives John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver, Travis contrasted the stereotype with what he actually observed: "But here's what you don't often see in the coverage of Tea Party rallies: Patriotic signs professing a love for country; mothers and fathers with their children; African-Americans proudly participating; and senior citizens bopping to a hip-hop rapper."
After harping on unsubstantiated reports of racial epithets hurled at black congressmen during protests against Obama-care, no reporter for the New York Times bothered to cover in print an actual arrest made in the case of an actual death threat against Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 Republican in the House. (The paper made do with an Associated Press brief.)
Yet David Herszenhorn filed a 10-paragraph story Wednesday on news that an arrest was made in regard to death threats against a prominent Democratic senator, Patty Murray of Washington: "Threats to Kill Senator Lead to Arrest." (The print version is slightly condensed from the online version.)
It's incredible to see how many ways the mainstream media are able to analyze and dissect the Tea Party movement phenomenon on a regular basis. But lately it has been en vogue to challenge this movement on merits of race - a popular ad hominem talking point for opponents of the movement.
"They've been called Oreos, traitors and Uncle Toms, and are used to having to defend their values," Bauman wrote. "Now black conservatives are really taking heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement-and for having the audacity to oppose the policies of the nation's first black president."
Ann Coulter for one has refused to pour gasoline on the Voyeur fire - pledging her full support and offering praise for RNC Chairman Michael Steele.
As Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos so touchingly pointed out to Steele, a few Republican leaders have been publicly highly critical of Steele and according to a "poll of insiders" only 20 percent consider him an asset to the party.
"Everyone seemed to like him and recently it's like story after story after story - is this guy being villainized?" Fox Business Channel's Eric Bolling asked Coulter on the April 5 "Happy Hour."
"I think so, I think he's being attacked because he's very effective," Coulter replied.
She made note how Ken Blackwell had been her original choice for chairman, but said Steele had been more than adequate. "[S]ince Michael Steele got the job, I see him on TV and I think he's very effective on TV. He's smooth, he's cool, he's hip, he always makes solid arguments."
"He was on a plane during this incident at this voyeur club," Coulter reminded Bolling. "But you know the Democrats have the audacity to complain about some low-level staffer doing something stupid by taking ...Young Republican Eagles or whatever to a sleazy club in LA - excuse me! Loretta Sanchez - an actual Democratic Congresswoman who was co-chair of the DNC - had a Democratic gala event...at the Playboy Mansion - which finally had to be cancelled."
Listen closely and you can hear the sound of crickets chirping over at the Kansas City Star after their Readers Representative, Derek Donovan, recommended a re-examination by that newspaper of their initial story of a supposed "hate crime" committed at the Capitol steps Tea Party in Washington D.C. on March 20:
I've talked to many, many readers this week about continuing fallout from claims that members of "tea party" protests shouted racial slurs at members of the Congressional Black Caucus and one spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver on March 20.
The Web and the talk shows are awash with reports that the word "nigger" wasn't recorded by people with video cameras. Some have also disputed that Cleaver was spat on, though a video shows pretty clearly to me that he reacted that way contemporaneously. Was it simply spittle from the man yelling in his face, rather than a single intentional spit? You can't tell from the video -- but if someone was yelling at me so forcefully that he also spit on me, I'm not sure I'd make much differentiation there.
As I wrote earlier in the week, the initial report in The Star March 21 should have attributed the claims to the people who made them, instead of simply reporting them as fact.
Yes, a story by William Douglas which was speed written in record time. Of course, the Kansas City Star is now taking its sweet time about actually verifying the "facts" behind the story. One place they might want to start is by Googling "Emanuel Cleaver" and discovering his latest reaction to the spitting incident:
As media members work overtime to convince the public that Tea Partiers are racist, homophobic, right-wing extremists, a new poll finds that more people agree with the views of the growing movement than President Obama's?
Will so-called journalists, if they even pay attention to this revelation, just conclude that such folks are also racists?
Ponder as you review the summary of a just-released Rasmussen poll:
This week, the MRC’s regular Notable Quotables newsletter, documenting the latest outrageous quotes from the liberal media from the past two weeks, could not fit in its normal 3-page format, so we created a super-sized special edition, “Celebrating ObamaCare, Demonizing Its Opponents.” It’s chock full of quotes touting the wonders of the liberal health care scheme, and slamming the Tea Party and other opponents as vicious racist thugs. The whole thing is posted at www.MRC.org; here’s a sample:
If You’re Anti-ObamaCare, You Must Be a Bigot
“What are the Tea Partiers really angry about? Health care reform, or the fact that it was an African American President and a woman Speaker of the House who pushed through major change?” — MSNBC’s Chris Matthews at the top of Hardball, March 29.
Just three weeks after it first aired on March 14, tonight at 10 PM EDT/PDT, 9 PM CDT, ABC will re-run the “Freeluc.com” episode of Brothers and Sisters which centered around “Kitty Walker-McCallister,” a Republican candidate for Senate in California played by Calista Flockhart, coming under attack from conservative rubes who think she used her influence to get the visa renewed for her older sister’s French boyfriend, “Luc.”
At a campaign event with mini-video camera-toting bloggers visible, protesters boo and repeatedly chant: “America for Americans!” as they hold up signs, such as “FRENCHIE GO HOME!!!” and, with a mustache added to Kitty’s face, “Hi Kitler!” Just like the real media’s slander of Tea Party protesters.
Kitty’s husband whom she is running to succeed, incumbent “Senator Robert McCallister,” played by Rob Lowe, charges: “It’s just the conservative purity police trying to purge the party of lily-livered Republican moderates.” Kitty complains to her sister, “Sarah Walker,” played by Rachel Griffiths: “I am fighting for my political life with a bunch of ultra-conservative yahoos who want my head because you decided to fall in love with a guy who has immigration issues.”
Ana Marie Cox on Sunday compared the Tea Party movement to the anti-war women's group Code Pink.
Appearing on CNN's "Reliable Sources," the GQer formerly known as Wonkette wasn't at all bothered by Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans disrupting Karl Rove's book signing last week.
"It's not infringing on Karl Rove's right to speak to have someone else interrupt him."
She continued, "Code Pink was to Fox News, you know, what the Tea Partiers are to MSNBC now. I mean, Code Pink was the group that the Republicans and the GOP and Fox News wanted to have represent the Democratic Party" (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary):
"There is a huge effort underway right now by government-run media and by the Left to use any tactic that they can whatsoever to invalidate the message of the Tea Party movement."
So said talk show host and Tea Party leader Dana Loesch Saturday.
Appearing on FNC's "America's News HQ" with host Shannon Bream, Loesch claimed the media don't like "the message of individual liberty and limited government that this Tea Party movement is bringing, and since they can't kill the message, they're trying to kill the messenger" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t HotAirPundit):
What does it say about the Huffington Post when one of their religion bloggers traffics in unproven charges about supposed racial slurs hurled at Congressman John Lewis at the March 20 Tea Party in Washington D.C.? Here is Eddie Glaude, Jr., Professor of Religion at Princeton University, performing his Pinocchio impression:
The word n----er found its way back into our national conversation recently. Some tea party activists hurled the epithet at Congressman John Lewis. Along the way they called Representative Barney Frank a faggot and spat on Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. This venom was supposedly provoked by health care reform; it only revealed how debased our public conversation has become.
Here's a headline I'm sure you never dreamed of seeing: "David Letterman Gives the Tea Party the Best Showcase it's Ever Had."
So wrote Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker Wednesday about the previous evening's interview of Sandpoint, Idaho, Tea Party President Pam Stout on CBS's "Late Show."
Tucker went on to call the segment "quietly remarkable" which seems an understatement not only given Letterman's nonconfrontational approach with Stout, but also because at one point, he even said there were "many things about this [Tea Party] movement that I admire" (videos in three parts embedded below the fold with commentary, h/t Hot Air):
Bringing his belittling commentary toward conservatives -- disguised as comedy -- to a wider audience, on Wednesday’s Tonight Show on NBC Bill Maher repeated some of the lines he’s spewed in recent weeks on his HBO show. Maher used the sexually-derogatory “tea baggers” term as he credited Tea Party activists for getting the health care bill passed:
I'm sure they're saying, “What are you talking about, Bill? I was so against the health care bill, I marched on Washington with tea bags hanging from my hat, dressed up in my founding fathers costume with a picture of Hitler, you know, and Obama's face on him and, you know, screaming about his birth certificate.” And America saw that and said: “What loons. We're going with the calm black man.”
On Palin: “Sarah Palin screaming about death panels? You know what, Sarah, if we were killing off useless people, you'd be the first to know.”
With an increasing attempt by the left to paint Tea Party protestors as racist loons, it becomes of great importance to identify those who purport to represent conservative values, but in reality are nothing more than radical individuals.
As NewsBusters has previously reported, liberal Web sites - particularly Talking Points Memo (TPM) and the Huffington Post - have continually cited the Tea Party links of one Dale Robertson. Why? Because he further promotes the concept of the tea partier as racist. Robertson once demonstrated a level of racial ignorance that boggles the mind by being photographed with a sign reading "Congress = Slaveowner, Taxpayer = N***ar".
But the reality is that Robertson has predominantly self-described links to the Tea Party movement, while legitimate factions of the movement have been trying to distance themselves from the man. His claims of influence within the Tea Party have turned out to be mildly embellished. Now, it turns out his web of tales is growing ever more tangled.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite recently interviewed Robertson, in which he claims that the sign that made him famous for the wrong reasons was simply a fake. As Mediaite reports:
On Wednesday's American Morning, CNN's Ed Lavandera focused on the "overwhelmingly white" turnout at the rallies sponsored by the Tea Party Express organization and played up the criticisms that there is an "anti-minority undertone" at the demonstrations.
Lavandera, who is covering the Tea Party Express' cross-country tour, highlighted the race issue from the beginning of his report, which first aired 13 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour: "The crowds turning out for the Tea Party Express rallies are overwhelmingly white. Is this lack of diversity a problem for the Tea Party movement? We're taking a closer look."
The correspondent noted some of the apparently "subtle efforts to make the tea party appear diverse," such as a hip hop performance and speeches by black tea party activist Lloyd Marcus. Marcus stated that "there's not a lot of black folks here, basically, because they haven't seen the light yet. They are still hypnotized by the first black or African-American president. But they haven't really looked at the man and what he's doing." This assertion is supported by a Gallup poll from earlier in March that found that President Obama's approval rating among blacks is at 89%, down slightly from 96% in August 2009.
Last night, Bill O'Reilly used recent instances of inflamed, occasionally violent liberal protests to give his viewers a lesson in Media Bias 101. Lefties dominate the mainstream press, and are reluctant to cover events that don't suit their agendas, he stated.
O'Reilly showed a number of clips of just the latest instances of leftist political outrage (video and transcript below the fold). He concluded that "One side gets scrutinized. The other side gets a pass. Awful." Indeed, while it seems one can hardly pick up a newspaper or turn on the television without hearing about the horrible, violent racists in the Tea Party movement, there has been relatively little coverage of the left's violence and vitriol.
As NewsBusters has been reporting, you can't turn on the television or open up a newspaper these days without coming across a piece about extreme right-wing hate speech and/or the supposed violence being stoked by Tea Parties.
During such reports, the so-called journalist involved acts like demonstrations of this sort are somehow new and have taken on inflammatory rhetoric never before seen in this country.
To disprove such blatantly bad reporting, conservative writer Evan Coyne Maloney has put together a marvelous video and essay chronicling some of the protests of the previous decade, and what some attendees were saying and carrying in their hands (video embedded below the fold, vulgarity alert, h/t Power Line):
Betcha didn't know this: The Tea Party movement's growth was fueled by unemployed people lying around looking for something to do, and will have a hard time sustaining itself if/when the economy improves. Oh, and they're so distressed about the country's circumstances that they're letting emotion trump facts in their advocacy.
Those are the themes of Kate Zernike's Saturday New York Times report with the snarky title ("With No Jobs, Plenty of Time for Tea Party") that was carried on the front page of Sunday's print edition. Really. This is the same Kate Zernike (pictured at top right) who saw racism where none existed at CPAC in February, and who Andrew Breitbart memorably called "a despicable human being." Seems about right.
Zernike's piece attempted to support its pathetic premises and implications as a result of discussions with three -- count 'em -- individuals. One of them is in her mid-60s and collecting Social Security, hardly the archetype of a disaffected unemployed person. Comically, the Times reporter characterized Dick Armey's FreedomWorks a "Tea Party group," even though it was founded in 1984, a quarter-century before Rick Santelli's memorable tea-party rant last year.
In case there are any residual doubts about how bad the tea partiers have been treated, here are the Top Five ways the left and the media have abused a grassroots movement. The coverage has been so hateful and so biased, it was almost impossible to narrow the list. Here they are in reverse order, just in time for the big tea party events April 15:
5) Protesters are Anti-Government
The media and the left portray tea parties as "anti-government" because it undermines a patriotic grassroots movement. Tea partiers aren't anti-government, they are anti-big government. That's just not the story journalists tell. The "anti-government" theme is strong, cropping up in more than two dozen stories in The Washington Post and New York Times combined. Very few of them mentioned the word "big" in reference to government.
Instead, it's NPR's Liz Halloran claiming tea parties have been boosted by "restive Republicans who have found refuge in the year-old anti-tax, anti-government uprising." Or Frank Rich of The New York Times who compared tea partiers with Andrew Joseph Stack, the man who flew a plane into an IRS building. "Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a ‘Tea Party terrorist.' But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner."
For one example, go back to 1995 during the welfare-reform debate. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who is now embroiled in a controversy as to whether a Tea Party protester hurled a racial epithet at him, employed the use of his own Nazi invective. (h/t MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham)
"Read the Republican contract," Lewis said on the House floor on March 21, 1995. "They're coming for our children. They're coming for the poor. They're coming for the sick, the elderly and the disabled." Lewis's comment paraphrased a famous passage by Rev. Martin Niemöller, who was in the resistance against the Nazis.
Williams made this preposterous claim during a panel discussion with the Weekly Standard's Mary Katharine Ham 25 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. O'Reilly asked the NPR analyst about a point made by Fox News's Brit Hume in an earlier segment, that there's double-standard in the mainstream media in the amount of coverage of extremist imagery and language found at tea party rallies has been given versus equivalent imagery and language used at left-wing protests (a point raised by the MRC's Rich Noyes in an August 2009 Media Reality Check): "There's no doubt that the media will seize upon any kind of misbehavior on the right...Whereas if it happens on the left, it will, as Mary Katharine [Ham] said, be de-emphasized or ignored entirely. So that's a corrupt media system, isn't it?"
The guest raised the militia issue at the end of his answer:
WILLIAMS: I think we're out of context here. If we're talking about- you know, somebody going after Ronald Reagan- you know, one guy who's in love with Jodie Foster, okay- if we're talking about that. You know, people who have a lot of hatred- hateful attitudes towards President Bush, and then somebody who is extremist on the fringe, yes. And if that was also to be then the case with the tea party, yes, that's too much and unfair. But, when you start to see militia groups start to associate with the tea party, when you see the flag-
Jordan Marks, the head of Young Americans for Freedom and a Tea Party activist, took on CNN's Rick Sanchez and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) Monday and came out looking like the only sane, civil man in the room.
Appearing on "Campbell Brown" to address recent allegations of death threats by Tea Partiers against Congressional Democrats, Marks told substitute host Sanchez, "I think it's a shame that people point to the tea party as inciting ignorance."
When Sanchez challenged him on this point, Marks calmly responded, "I would put them in the same category as the same people that call the tea party organizations or call FreedomWorks or call Americans for Prosperity or Young Americans for Freedom spouting the same ignorance."
As you might imagine, the typically hyperbolic Grayson was having none of this (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary, h/t NB readers Reginald Thornton and Patrick Mohan):
The Weather Underground and the Tea Party movement: Same thing?
In the wake of Obama-care's passage, New York Times reporter Benedict Carey took the country's political temperature, and found it running a right-wing fever, in a front-page Sunday Week in Review essay. It's ominous title was cribbed from the famous scene in the movie "Network," "RAGE's DNA: Mad As Hell. And..." The online headline is even blunter: "When Does Political Anger Turn to Violence?"
The story is accompanied by a photo illustration of an open book of matches, one of them lit.
There's also a really strange choice of photo caption on the jump page: an archive photo, courtesy of Getty Images, of the late-1960s left-wing domestic terrorist group The Weathermen, including Obama friend Bill Ayers, directly above a similar picture of marching Tea Party protesters from last Sunday. Here's the caption, which suggested that while the two movements are not the same they share some DNA:
VARYING DEGREES OF RAGE The Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, second from right, during the Days of Rage in 1969, and anti-health reform protesters in Washington on Sunday.