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.
Perhaps tuning in to NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" isn't high on your list of priorities, outside of wanting the chance to catch Dan Rather suggest something bizarre like President Barack Obama couldn't sell watermelons. However, if you had watched the March 28 broadcast of the program, you would have found the show's roster of panelists think the Tea Party movement is a black mark on the Republican Party, as far as it pertains to unseating the Democratic majority in Congress.
Matthews' show featured NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, Newsweek's senior Washington correspondent Howard Fineman, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger and Atlantic senior editor Andrew Sullivan. In the aftermath of the passage of ObamaCare into law, some have suggested this was a defeat for the Tea Party movement. Matthews asked if the mere existence of this movement was a plus or minus for the Republican Party.
"OK, all things considered, if there were no Tea Party crowd, we never saw them demonstrate - would that be better for the Republican Party, or is the Tea Party a plus for them in November, winning elections?" Matthews asked.
CNN put “INCITING VIOLENCE?” on screen under video of Sarah Palin earlier in the day Saturday in Searchlight, Nevada, as anchor Don Lemon announced:
Sarah Palin takes on one of the highest ranking Democrats right in his own backyard, all while causing another uproar by urging tea parties to quote “reload.” And the question is, are comments like that inciting violence and name-calling over the health care bill and the like?
In the subsequent segment, titled “DANGEROUS RHETORIC: When heated words incite threats & violence,” CNN’s panel agreed Obama’s political opponents are inciting violence and are motivated by racism -- undeterred by Palin’s assurance, which CNN played:
When I talk about it's not a time to retreat, it's a time to reload, what I'm talking about -- now, media, try to get this right, okay? That's not inciting violence. What that's doing is trying to inspire people to get involved in their local elections and these upcoming federal elections. It's telling people that their arms are their votes. It's not inciting violence. It's telling people, don't ever let anybody tell you to sit down and shut up, Americans.
Lemon demanded: “Is it responsible for someone to say that? Especially a leader, considering the anger that's going on right now?”
“Today's Tea Party adherents are George Wallace legacies,” the Washington Post’s Colby King charged in his weekly Saturday column, maintaining “they have been culturally conditioned to believe they are entitled to do whatever they want, and to whomever they want, because they are the ‘real Americans,’ while all who don't think or look like them are not” and so, “without folks like them, there would be no Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Pat Buchanan.”
The angry faces at Tea Party rallies are eerily familiar. They resemble faces of protesters lining the street at the University of Alabama in 1956....Those same jeering faces could be seen gathered around the Arkansas National Guard troopers who blocked nine black children from entering Little Rock's Central High School in 1957. “They moved closer and closer,” recalled Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine. “Somebody started yelling, 'Lynch her! Lynch her!'”
If the media outlets are going to report on tea party events, they're not likely to get any benefit of the doubt much of the time.
Case in point - at the Tea Party Express event on March 27 in Searchlight, Nev., which former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke, CNN's Fredricka Whitfield wasn't quite prepared to give the rally credit it was due as far as participation. She estimated that hundreds, but if not, "at least dozens of people" were in attendance. (h/t fstaff with assist from Mark Finkelstein)
"Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin there in Searchlight, Nev., was the backyard of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but today it's the backdrop of this Tea Party Express - making a stop here," Whitfield said. "Hundreds of people, at least dozens of people - we haven't gotten a count of how many people turned out there. We heard Sarah Palin talk about everything about the campaign, to unseat Sen. Reid to what she calls ObamaCare, on the heels of that health care vote and even talking about her definition of her love of America."
However, as MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski suggested, discretion should be exercised with the amount of attention given to these radical components of the opposition to President Barack Obama's health care reform endeavors.
"Yeah, call it out but also I think we have to be careful along the way," Brzezinski said on the March 26 broadcast. "I think this happened during the campaign. I think this happened during the final hours of the health care debate where certain fringe, really minute members of it were highlighted."
An evening after all three broadcast network newscasts led by advancing the Democratic narrative of violent ObamaCare critics, a storyline intended to discredit conservatives as all gratuitously named Sarah Palin as a culprit, on Thursday night the same programs weren't so interested and only stumbled into the suddenly “bipartisan” victims – despite fresh revelations of threats and violence aimed at Republicans who voted no.
“It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, arguing “the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence,” citing “ten Democrats who have been threatened.” Incredibly, on Thursday night, Williams still portrayed opponents as the only ones with miscreants amongst their ranks:
While the White House continues to celebrate its largest-ever legislative victory, opponents of health care reform have reacted to the final vote with anger, a few of them with threats of violence.
Two stories later, only after reporter Kelly O'Donnell had noted that “just before the Senators cast their votes, they paused to honor the late Ted Kennedy,” did Williams arrive at the threats “reported by Democrats and Republicans.” Williams:
Not content with simply reporting on threats against lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare, the liberal media has taken it upon itself (with a bit of direction from the Democratic Party) to blame the Tea Party and the GOP.
The coverage stands in stark contrast to the litany of similar instances involving conservatives and Republicans. They were treated as isolated incidents, if discussed at all.
CNN's Rick Sanchez certainly got the memo. On his show yesterday, he accused "crazy talk show hosts" and the Republican Party of inciting violence against lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare. He took to Twitter later that night to ask, "are our fundamentalist zealots different than the ones we fight in afghan and iraq?"
On Thursday's American Morning, CNN's John Roberts repeatedly decried the "troubling language" against pro-ObamaCare congressman which "violate any sense of common decency." But his own program over three years earlier helped promote a controversial 2006 movie which forwarded an imaginary assassination attempt against then-President George W. Bush.
Just after the top of the 6 am Eastern hour, Roberts responded to a report by correspondent Carol Costello on ten Democratic representatives' request for extra security after their reportedly received threatening messages: "Wow. It really is, as you said, at the top, it is troubling, some of the language out there."
An hour later, at the top of 7 am Eastern hour, the anchor expanded on his earlier thought as he introduced a report from correspondent Brianna Keilar: "The message from emotional voters to Capitol Hill this morning could not be clearer: 'Go to hell.' From profanity-laden voicemails to faxes with Nazi insignias on them, thousands of Americans are venting their anger, in some cases, extremely inappropriately. The shouting is not bound to the Beltway. At least ten members of Congress with home districts stretching all the way from New York to Arizona have reported either harassment, vandalism, or outright death threats."
Sounding more like MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann than impartial newscasts, ABC, CBS and NBC all led Wednesday night by legitimizing Democratic talking points meant to discredit critics of the just-passed health care bill. “Opposition to health care turns menacing,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer warned. CBS teased with audio clips -- “Baby-murdering scumbag,”“You are a dirtbag” and “I hope you die” -- as fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez cited “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform, even as public support for the plan is growing.”
On NBC, Brian Williams teased: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.” He opened by declaring: “It can now be said that the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence.” Reporter Kelly O’Donnell relayed how “Democrats accuse Republicans of stirring a hostile mood” before Savannah Guthrie rued “Washington's epic 14-month battle over health care has exposed an angry side of America.” She recounted:
Wrapped around the brick that smashed the door of Democratic party headquarters in Rochester, New York, a note with the Barry Goldwater quote: ‘Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.’ On Twitter, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told followers, ‘Don't retreat, reload.’ While an Alabama man advocated armed uprising....At a conservative Tea Party protest at the Capitol this weekend, some demonstrators hurled racially and sexually-charged insults at members of the Congress.
CBS’s Nancy Cordes dutifully reported “Democrats accuse their GOP colleagues of inciting such acts with inflammatory rhetoric” as “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery. On Twitter, she urges conservatives: ‘Don't retreat. Instead, reload.’ And the Web site of her political action committee posts bull's-eyes on districts of vulnerable Democrats.”
A black conservative author took on MSNBC's David Shuster Wednesday concerning the consistent media charge that Tea Party members are racists.
Shuster asked guest Kevin Jackson if the recent allegations of supposed racist activity at healthcare reform protests on Capitol Hill this weekend, as well as vandalism at the offices of some Democrat members of Congress, were proof that right-wing rhetoric was getting out of hand.
"Well, I've been to many Tea Parties around the country, and I've yet to see anybody, any real violence towards anybody," said Jackson. "So, I think it's a bit overstated."
When Shuster asked if Jackson had been at the Capitol Saturday when members of the Democratic Black Caucus were supposedly "greeted with derogatory racial slurs," he calmly responded, "Wasn't there for that, but saw the video about it, and determined that a lot of what they were saying had happened actually hadn't occurred" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript and commentary, h/t NB reader Thomas Campbell):
CNN's Rick Sanchez repeatedly insinuated on his Rick's List program on Wednesday that Republican leaders and "crazy talk show hosts that are so right wing" were to blame for ten congressman requesting extra security earlier in the day: "Are some Republicans culpable of stirring this, to a certain degree?"
Sanchez led the 3 pm Eastern hour of his program with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announcing that ten of their Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives had requested additional security for their homes and offices due to reported threats of violence. The anchor brought on correspondent Jessica Yellin to give more details. After Yellin reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner had condemned such threats, Sanchez replied, "But Boehner himself has been one of the most critical. He's one of those who has used words like 'socialist' and 'government takeover' and the kinds of things that someone who, maybe, doesn't follow the situation so closely might be led to act in an incivil way. Is this is a chicken or an egg question, of which came first in this case?"
During the Bush years, the news media were the promoters of protest, the champions of dissent. Denouncing the president as a brain-damaged warmonger was the most patriotic thing you could do (just ask the Dixie Chicks), and it was guaranteed to please the press.
On MSNBC before the Iraq War in 2003, David Shuster elevated the "anti-war" movement as the equivalent of the United States military, only with a higher morality: "The size of the demonstrators, at least here, at least in Europe, seems to underscore that there are now perhaps two world superpowers," he told Chris Matthews. "There’s the United States and then there are those millions of people who took to the streets opposing U.S. policy."
My, how times – and standards – change. On the weekend of the vote for a massive government intervention in the health-insurance market, these same reporters had a different take. The Tea Party protesters were not going to be hailed for their courageous and patriotic use of their free time. They were going to be smeared for daring to be.