Sunday's Doonesbury comic strip mocks the tea-party movement -- as if the Obama era were defined by tax-cutting. Gay public-radio talk-show host Mark Slackmeyer is interviewing "Lamont Whirley," tea party activist:
Mr. Whirley, as you know, the original Boston Tea Party was a protest against taxation without representation...
But the modern Tea Party movement was formed last spring...
...in response to your duly elected representatives enacting tax cuts for almost all American workers.
Can you explain the tea party's philosophical incoherence?
Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau then draws "Whirley" as a wacko, wearing a Santa suit and beard, an Uncle Sam top hat, a powdered white wig, and a robber's mask, as he holds a pumpkin. Whirley replies: "Our what?" Slackmeyer responds: "Never mind -- elitist question."
The morning after CBS News White House reporter Mark Knoller, in a tweet, slurred anti-ObamaCare protesters with the vulgar “tea bagger” sexual terminology, Bob Schieffer began Sunday’s Face the Nation with how the health care reform debate “that's been rancorous and mean from the start turned even nastier yesterday” with protesters “shouting ‘kill the bill!’ and ‘made in the USSR”’ as they supposedly “hurled racial epithets, even at civil rights icon John Lewis of Georgia, and sexual slurs at Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank. Other legislators said the protesters spit on them and one lawmaker said it was like a page out of a time machine.”
In what way is “kill the bill” nasty?
Though the despicable actions, if true, were committed by a handful out of thousands, Saturday’s World News also used the incidents to discredit the cause of those rallying against ObamaCare: “Protesters against the plan gathered on the streets of the capital where late today we learned words shouted turned very ugly, reports of racial and homophobic slurs, one protester actually spitting on a Congressman,” ABC anchor David Muir announced, repeating: “Late word from Washington tonight about just how ugly the crowds gathered outside the Longworth office building have become.”
Though by their own count “thousands” of anti-ObamaCare protesters gathered outside the Capitol building on Saturday, ABC decided to smear the entire cause by stressing the despicable actions of a handful or even fewer as anchor David Muir announced in setting up the first story on Saturday’s World News: “Protesters against the plan gathered on the streets of the capital where late today we learned words shouted turned very ugly, reports of racial and homophobic slurs, one protester actually spitting on a Congressman.”
Following the lead story on President Barack Obama’s pep talk to House Democrats, and before Jonathan Karl’s count on where the vote stands (he put it at 212 yes versus 214 no), Muir went to:
Late word from Washington tonight about just how ugly the crowds gathered outside the Longworth office building have become. We learned that as Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri was leaving his office someone in the crowd spit on him. There are also reports of racial and homophobic slurs, one targeting Congressman John Lewis, the famous civil rights champion, and the other involving Congressman Barney Frank. You can listen in for yourself.
Is The Washington Post playing favorites with causes that inspire people to exercise their First Amendment rights and take to the streets to protest? When it comes to opposition to Democratic efforts to reform health care versus opposition to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it appears so.
In a March 20 Washington Post story headlined "Obama delivers plea to 'help us fix this system,'" Ben Pershing, Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery suggested House Democrats were gaining momentum in their pursuit of the 216 votes needed to pass health care reform legislation, despite "hundreds" of "tea party" protesters rallying outside the U.S. Capitol. (h/t Amanda Carpenter)
"Outside the Capitol, hundreds of 'tea party' protesters rallied against the legislation, jeering Democratic lawmakers as they passed and holding signs reading 'We'll Remember in November' and 'Revolution,' Pershing, Kane and Montgomery wrote.
[Update, 10:21 am Eastern on Monday: Knoller responded on Sunday on Twitter to the criticism he was receiving online, stating that 'I wasn't aware there was any slur or pejorative associated with that term. The moment it was pointed out, I stopped using it." (H/t: Clay Waters of TimesWatch, Stephen Gutowski of NewsBusters).]
CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller revived the use of a vulgar sexual term to refer to Tea Party protesters on Saturday afternoon via Twitter: "Obama's motorcade arrives at Capitol Hill. Boos and jeers passing tea bagger protests."
“Based on some mild and indiscernible shouts by people in a hallway outside the office of a House member,” NewsBusters noted Tuesday night, “CBS's Chip Reid tried to discredit anti-ObamaCare protesters,” claiming the Tea Party activists “tried to lobby undecided Democrats. At times, it got ugly.” (Watch the video to assess the commotion Reid characterized as “ugly.”)
But in today's Politico newspaper, Marin Cogan relayed how “staff members for Democrats reported orderly, even polite conversations with protesters.” In her article, “Dems play nice with tea partiers,” Marin not only did not cite any ugliness, she discovered the protesters were so calm that they were actually bored by them: “'It was like a high school classroom,' an aide to one lawmaker who hosted tea partiers noted glumly. 'It was so boring.'”
Based on some mild and indiscernible shouts by people in a hallway outside the office of a House member, CBS's Chip Reid on Tuesday night tried to discredit anti-ObamaCare protesters, claiming “at times, it got ugly.”
Reid recounted: “Outside the Capitol, a few hundred members of the conservative Tea Party movement called on Congress to kill the Democratic health care reform bill as Republicans urged them to keep fighting.” Following a clip of Republican Congressman Mike Pence, Reid announced over the hallway video: “Moving inside, they tried to lobby undecided Democrats. At times, it got ugly.” Then, leading into pro and con TV ads, Reid asserted: “The angry war of words over health care reform in Washington is echoing across the nation.” Watch the video to see what CBS considers “ugly” behavior. (MP3 audio clip.)
After citing “a growing controversy over a parliamentary maneuver the Speaker may use to get reform passed,” Katie Couric had introduced Reid by maintaining that “as a vote nears, the tension, confusion, and anger are all building.” Reid agreed: “The closer we get to a vote, the nastier the debate becomes. Some on Capitol Hill say it gives new meaning to the expression 'March Madness.'”
On Sunday's Newsroom, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin disputed the conclusion of the Los Angeles Times on the apparently shocking new political initiative of Clarence Thomas's wife Virginia Thomas, that it "could give rise to conflicts of interest for her husband...as it tests the norms for judicial spouses." Toobin defended Mrs. Thomas' grassroots conservative work.
Anchor Don Lemon brought on the senior legal analyst just before the bottom of the 10 pm Eastern hour to discuss Kathleen Hennessey's article in the Sunday L.A. Times, titled "Justice's wife launches 'tea party' group." The Times writer indicated that Mrs. Thomas' new organization somehow risked the partiality of the Court, as indicated in the article’s subtitle, "The nonprofit run by Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is likely to test notions of political impartiality for the court." She continued later that "the move by Virginia Thomas, 52, into the front lines of politics stands in marked contrast to the rarefied culture of the nation's highest court, which normally prizes the appearance of nonpartisanship and a distance from the fisticuffs of the politics of the day."
Three weeks after the mother on ABC’s Brothers and Sisters (“Nora Walker” played by Sally Field) fretted over the GOP “denying global warming,” the ABC drama on Sunday night featured an episode centered around her daughter, “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.”
Audio: 90-second MP3 clip that matches the video highlights from the March 14 episode.
Shocker: Times Imagines Racial Stereotyping at CPAC
“How can conservatives win the youth vote that overwhelmingly went for Barack Obama in 2008? At the Conservative Political Action Conference, apparently, some are betting on using racial stereotypes....[Author] Jason Mattera...mocked what he described, with a Chris Rock voice, as “diversity,” including, he said, college classes on 'cyber feminism' and 'what it means to be a feminist new black man.'....Offering up a slogan, he adopted the Chris Rock voice again: 'Get your government off my freedom!' Can we save our generation from Obama zombies, he asked. He answered himself by borrowing the president’s campaign slogan: 'Yes, my brothahs and sistahs. Yes we can!'” -- From a February 18 nytimes.com “Caucus” blog post by reporter Kate Zernike while covering the Conservative Political Action Conference, a post headlined “CPAC Speaker Bashes Obama, in Racial Tones.” Jason Mattera is from Brooklyn and used his own voice, not a “Chris Rock voice,” when making his anti-Obama gibes.
On Friday, CBSNews.com's blog Political Hotsheet ran a gushing article that amounted to free advertising for the left's new gimmick of coffee parties.
Aside from the friendly tone and complete lack of criticism, the most astounding part was when writer Stephanie Condon remarked that many issues discussed at a Coffee Party could just as well have come from a TEA party.
Condon's article began with the oh-so-innocent headline "Is The "Coffee Party" The Next Big Thing?" The opening paragraph ran like something right from a brochure:
CNN.com has an article on its website extolling the virtues of the Coffee Party. The glowing language the piece uses to describe the movement stands in stark contrast to the cable network's treatment of Tea Party groups over the past year.
It is plain now that CNN harbors no such ill will towards the Coffee Party, which reporter Jessica Ravitch described as just a bunch of everyday Americans gathering to express their dissatisfaction with the political status quo (gee, that sounds a lot like the Tea Party movement, but I digress).
"Ah, the sound of angry white guys wafting its way through the airwaves," Moore said. "Obviously that was a pivotal moment for that, but if you notice what he's railing against is he's blaming the whole mortgage crisis on the little guy who took out a mortgage he shouldn't have taken out, living beyond his means, having a home with too many bathrooms, when in fact - as my movie points out - the FBI of all people, have stated clearly through their own investigation that 80 percent of this mortgage crisis that we've gone through has been caused by the banks and lending institutions, by the fraud committed by the banks and the lending institutions - not by the person who's living beyond their means."
On Monday's The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan dragged out his standard attack against the tea party movement as he also bashed Liz Cheney for criticizing Justice Department attorneys: "Liz Cheney goes so far off the right-wing deep end, that now even some right-wingers are saying she has gone too far. If only the tea party would do the same with its Nazis and racist members."
In the segment that followed, Ratigan attacked Cheney for an ad put out by her organization KeepAmericaSafe.com, referring to Justice Department lawyers who once defended accused terrorists as the "Al Qaeda Seven." While he condemned Cheney for going "off the right-wing deep end," one of his guests in the segment was Jane Hamsher, founder of the left-wing radical blog FireDogLake.com, which on Monday featured a post on Cheney entitled: "A Blowjob for Liz 'BabyDick' Cheney."
In reaction to the KeepAmericaSafe.com ad, Hamsher declared: "I mean, what she's doing is genuinely McCarthy-esque and un-American." She went so far as to call for Congress to "censure" Cheney. Those proclamations were prompted by Ratigan asking: "Jane, would...are you encouraged by the emergence of other Republican leaders to at least renounce Liz Cheney, which is more than you can say for the tea party when it comes to some of their Nazi and racist members, which they refuse to renounce?"
“During the presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama often used the phrase ‘fired up’ to do just that to the crowd. Democrats have been openly wondering when he was going to bring that campaign energy and fire to an issue like health care reform,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Monday’s NBC Nightly News,” and “today the President chose an event at a quiet Philadelphia suburb to get loud. He made his case and he rallied the troops and now readies to head into battle yet again on this topic.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer noted “the President made a direct attack on the health insurance industry, accusing companies of putting profits before patient care” -- which means he was just catching up with Sawyer’s agenda. A couple of weeks ago, Sawyer demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?” and touted “the growing outrage at insurance companies, the ones that raise premiums on ordinary Americans while racking up big profits.”
Jon Karl asserted Obama “hopes to tie into some of that Tea Party anger by focusing on a group that the White House believes is even more unpopular than Congress” as Karl championed a far-left group’s upcoming protest with “wanted” posters “that will highlight the CEOs of the health care companies making the argument that they are the ones to blame.”
During the final years of the Soviet Union many political dissidents weren't sent to slave labor camps as happened in the bad old Stalin era if they weren't outright liquidated. Instead, their divergence from the official party line was viewed as some sort of mental disorder that must be treated, usually with forced confinement in mental institutions which were little more than prisons. And now we have a Marxist blogger for Psychology Today who proposes that Tea Party participants suffer from a mental disorder. The funniest thing is that when one reads the rantings of Michael Bader, he appears like Captain Queeg on the witness stand. The more he writes, the less rational he sounds. Take a look at just the first sentence of Bader's extended rant and guess who comes off as sanity challenged. BTW, the word "f---ers" in his primal scream article is fully spelled out:
These tea-party folks seem to most liberals-well, to most of us who live in the "reality community," or, as I like to call it, "reality"-like crazy f---ers.
Cesca gets straight to his point, “Because when you strip away all of the rage, all of the nonsensical loud noises and all of the contradictions, all that's left is race. The tea party is almost entirely about race, and there's no comparative group on the left that's similarly motivated by bigotry, ignorance and racial hatred.”
An article on ABCNews.com aggressively touted fears by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that prominent conservative are spreading hate. The headline for the March 3 piece by Anna Schecter screamed, "Dobbs, Beck, Palin, Bachmann Share Blame For Rise in Right-Wing Extremism, Says Activist Group."
Schecter interviewed SPLC director Mark Potok and repeated, "Potok said he blames some public personalities and conservative politicians for inciting fear." The ABC News author also fretted about tea party extremism: "Potok said one of the main fears is that these radical groups are infiltrating mainstream groups like the Tea Party movement because of cross pollination of individuals who attend radical group meetings and more mainstream gatherings."
John Roberts and Kiran Chetry omitted mentioning that Annabel Park, the founder of the so-called Coffee Party, worked as a volunteer for President Barack Obama's presidential campaign, during an interview on Wednesday's American Morning. The anchors also didn't mention Park's past work for the liberal New York Times.
Roberts and Chetry interviewed the Coffee Party USA founder at the bottom of the 8 am Eastern hour. After an initial question about the origin of the name, the two asked about the principles of the nascent movement and if health care "reform" was going to be a major issue for it. In her last question to Park, Chetry did ask if the Coffee Party had any ties to a political party: "[T]he tea party movement really, in some ways, has been a challenge to Republicans to move more toward fiscal conservative ideals. Are you aligned with a party? I mean, as we know, passing health care reform has been a huge goal of liberal Democrats for decades. Are you aligned with the Democrats, trying to get them more to move to the left when it comes to health care?"
On Tuesday's Rick's List on CNN, Rick Sanchez again hinted that Texas Governor Rick Perry is a racist. Sanchez, reacting to the distinct possibility that Perry would win the Republican gubernatorial primary, referenced a comment he made at a tea party rally in 2009: "He was talking about states' rights. States' rights is, to most people of color, a racist term" [audio clip available here].
The CNN anchor discussed the Republican primary with Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News. He asked the journalist, "Perry's going to win this thing, right?" After Slater noted how Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison lost her early lead in the polls over Perry, Sanchez responded, with some shock, "Why? I mean- you know, when he came out with his comment. Remember, you and I talked about it when he said it. I mean, he was all about secession from the union. He was talking about states' rights. States' rights is, to most people of color, a racist term, and I thought he had hurt himself. Why wasn't she able to, kind of, jump on that and use it?"
Slater explained that the typical Republican primary voter in Texas is "very conservative," and that Perry had actually won the nomination race after he had made his "states' rights" remark at the tea party. This didn't calm Sanchez, however, and he followed up by asking, "Well, but shouldn't we be frightened by that?"
Either host Dylan Ratigan was trying to play to MSNBC's rabid liberal audience or he really has it in for the Tea Party movement based on some exaggerated notion it is nothing but hate and fear mongers. In an interview with Mark Williams, a conservative talk radio host and sometimes spokesman for the Tea Party Express, Ratigan asked Williams what he was doing to separate his legitimate effort from radical fringe elements in American political culture.
"Mark, how do you draw the bright line between the very admirable and understandable principles that are advocated by so many in the Tea Party as it pertains to a Constitutional definition of a democracy, separation of things like banking and investing, church and - I mean, you go to all these things, and those who would choose a more radicalized view or racist view and hide, if you will, inside of the Tea Party umbrella?" Ratigan said.
Alice Roosevelt famously said, "If you can't say anything good about someone, sit right here by me." With Roosevelt long gone, you can do the next best thing - get booked on HLN's "The Joy Behar Show."
On the March 1 broadcast of her program, host Joy Behar featured a panel to discuss the tea party movement on its one-year anniversary. But rather than including tea party backers or even impartial observers, Behar talked only with people diametrically opposed to the tea parties and the views their mainstream followers hold, including the openly socialist senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, liberal talker Stephanie Miller and Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson. Behar cited a Feb. 17 Wall Street Journal column that was highly critical of the former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the Tea Parties and pondered how the Democratic Party could take this on.
"Well, you know, it was interesting that Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal wrote this week I quote her, and she said, that the Tea Party is a group of, quote, ‘conspiracy theorists, anti-government zealots, 9/11 truthers and assorted other cadres of the obsessed and deranged,'" Behar said. "Now, do the Dems even have to take on the Tea Party when their own side is attacking them like this?"
"Well, I'm very glad I voted for him," Buffett said. "That has not changed. I think the problems he has run into are monumental, particularly in terms of the economy. I mean - we're running huge deficits, which we should be running from a Keynesian standpoint to try and get this economy moving. But they have consequences too. I do not envy the job of being President, but I give Obama high marks."
New York Times columnist Frank Rich isn't just convinced suicide pilot Joe Stack shared many views with the Tea Partiers.
He also believes some of the movement's members are basically domestic terrorists whose leaders include Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.
"What made that kamikaze mission eventful was less the deranged act itself than the curious reaction of politicians on the right who gave it a pass — or, worse, flirted with condoning it."
Yes, Rich's "The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged" was the kind of column we see too often from his ilk these days basically blaming all that's wrong in the nation -- even a disgruntled man flying his plane into an IRS building -- on regular Americans concerned about the direction of the country:
Even when Chris Matthews attempts to side with the conservative/Republican position on an issue, he ends up either bashing them or praising Democrats, something he did three times on Wednesday's Hardball.
First up Matthews raised a GOP concern that Barack Obama should not speak in an "elevated" position, by using a podium, at the health care summit because it would present Obama as "standing up there like God" over them. [audio available here]
Later on Matthews appeared to defend tea partiers when he scolded Salon's Joan Walsh for using the term "teabag" which has a "sexual connotation" but just moments earlier accused conservatives of "leaping up and down orgasmically" over Scott Brown's win.
MSNBC news anchor David Shuster on Tuesday linked the terrorist act of flying a plane into an Austin IRS building with growing concern over big government. After describing the horrific crime last week of Joseph Stack, Shuster connected, "While that's extreme, a recent NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll found that when it comes to the federal government, 46 percent of Americans say it is not working well and needs large reforms." [Audio available here.]
Shuster wondered how America got "to this point" and then looked back at tea party protests over the last year. At no time did he explain to his viewers that Stack's suicide note expressed a hatred for capitalism, an opinion not shared by most tea party members.
After recapping unemployment rates and Republican victories in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, Shuster returned to his effort to connect unhappiness with government to terrorism: "Then, last week, anti-government sentiment came to a tipping point for one deranged man in Texas. He crashed his airplane into a building that housed the Austin offices of the IRS."
Keith Olbermann has turned down the Dallas Tea Party's invitation to come to its one year anniversary gathering this Saturday to see just how diverse its members are.
As NewsBusters reported Monday, in response to Olbermann's claim that Tea Partiers are all white, the Dallas group produced a video demonstrating how wrong the "Countdown" host was while asking him to attend Saturday's festivities so that he could see for himself.
On Tuesday's "Countdown," Olbermann declined (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
CNN's Rick Sanchez Tuesday grilled Texas gubernatorial candidate and Tea Party activist Debra Medina about her positions concerning America's role in the 9/11 attacks as well as whether or not Barack Obama was born in the United States.
"Just so for the record, if you want to stomp this out right here now on national television, do you believe the government, the U.S. government, played any role in all in 9/11?" Sanchez asked.
After Medina answered, Sanchez continued to press: "Debra, either you do or you don't believe that 9/11 was in any way caused or helped by the U.S. government. Do you or don't you?"
Once he was done with that issue, Sanchez moved on: "How about the birth certificate thing? You say you're not a truther. Are you a birther?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t HotAirPundit):