CNN’s Candy Crowley made an oblique reference to her colleague Anderson Cooper’s infamous “teabagger” remark on Monday’s Situation Room. As she reported on the race in New York’s 23rd congressional district, Crowley referred to Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman as “the choice of many on the right, including Sarah Palin, former House leader Dick Armey and ‘tea bag partyers’” [audio clips available here].
The CNN political correspondent detailed the different key races up in the November 3 election at the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour, including the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial campaigns. She closed her report with the New York contest: “And by way of marquee races, it’s hard to beat the soap opera of New York’s 23rd congressional district, where the Republican moderate dropped out over the weekend, leaving the race to a conservative, Doug Hoffman, the choice of many on the right, including Sarah Palin, former House leader Dick Armey and ‘tea bag partyers.’”
Sunday's gay rights rally on Capitol Hill garnered a positive story on the first page of Monday's New York Times National section by reporter Jeremy Peters, "New Generation of Gay Rights Advocates March to Put Pressure on the President." Peters claimed that "tens of thousands" had gathered on the West Lawn of the Capitol Sunday to prod Barack Obama to move more aggressively to promote greater equality for gays.
Unlike the paper's hostile coverage of the "tea party" and "9/12" rallies by anti-spending conservatives, the Times's relatively prominent (page A12) coverage of the gay rights rally displayed no hostility toward the beliefs of the protestors and didn't label them liberal, even though a photo slideshow at nytimes.com featured images of Socialist Worker party members marching in solidarity.
Hard-left "anti-war" protesters – so far to the left that they’re protesting Barack Obama – were awarded the top left of The Washington Post on Wednesday. This "event" protesting the eighth anniversary of war in Afghanistan not only topped page one, it covered about 75 percent of page A6, including four color photographs.
The headline was "For Antiwar Protesters, the Cause Isn't Lost: But Will D.C. Rally Spark Groundswell?" Post reporter Eli Saslow softly implied it wasn’t going well, that "this time the organizers believed they could revive the beleaguered anti-war movement, once such a force in U.S. policy. The next 48 hours would put their optimism on trial."
If there was a journalistic award for beating around the bush, Saslow and the Post could win it. After 25 paragraphs, Saslow finally revealed that the Post’s idea of news judgment isn’t based on numbers: the reporter counted...176 protesters.
“Actress/activist” Janeane Garofalo used another media appearance to smear anti-Obama protesters as racists, this time, Friday night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, insisting “it's obvious to anybody who has eyes in this country that tea-baggers, the 9-12ers” are “clearly white power movements” led “by the Glenn Becks, the Michelle Bachmans, the Rush Limbaughs.”
She fretted that “so few people are willing to say that yes it is racism, straight up racism,” before confusing which party controlled segregationist southern states: “The Republican Party has been willing to carry water for racists in this country since about the 1950s.” Garofalo proceeded to repeat a charge she's made often: “Fox News is happy to feed into this; AM radio is happy to feed into this,” including “this tacit nudging towards violence.” [Audio: MP3 clip]
CNN’s Rick Sanchez joined two of his colleagues in omitting the left-wing affiliation of Wendell Potter, a senior fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy. In fact, Sanchez went so far as to deny Potter’s alignment with liberals: “Is he [Potter] some crazy lefty? Is he Ralph Nader? Is he Dennis Kucinich? No. In fact, he’s a former player in the health insurance world.”
Before the CNN anchor made this denial about Potter, he read the senior fellow’s assessment of Senator Max Baucus’s health care “reform” proposal: “Here’s what my next guest thinks of this Baucus bill- quote, ‘It’s hard to imagine how insurance companies could have written legislation,’ he says- ‘that would benefit them more.’ In other words, if the guys who run the insurance companies would have sat down and written legislation- he says- they couldn’t have written it any better.”
Sanchez then made his introduction of his guest: “Who’s my guest? Is he some crazy lefty? Is he Ralph Nader? Is he Dennis Kucinich? No. In fact, he’s a former player in the health insurance world. He used to be a part of it. You ever heard of Cigna? Of course, you’ve heard of Cigna. They’re one of the biggest insurers in the whole world. Wendell Potter is who I’m talking about, and for 15 years he was the company’s chief corporate spokesperson, and he was also an executive with Humana as well.” He didn’t mention Potter’s current position with the Center for Media and Democracy during the interview, though an on-screen graphic did mention it (see above).
CNN’s Candy Crowley tried to prompt former President Jimmy Carter to explain his charge of racism against opponents of President Obama on Thursday’s American Morning, but the Democrat tried to worm his way out of what he said. Crowley paraphrased, “You said, overall, you thought the protesters were upset that there was a black president,” to which Carter replied, “That’s not what I said” [audio clips from the interview are available here].
The topic of the former president’s inflammatory accusation came midway through the CNN correspondent’s live interview during the 8 am Eastern hour. Crowley had first asked Carter about the revamp of his presidential museum and library. Before turning to the Obama/race issue, she also prompted Mrs. Carter, who was also present, to comment on the future of mental health care.
Carter was clearly defensive about his allegation when Crowley brought it up. The correspondent put her question this way: “Mr. President, let me ask you first- domestically, you made some remarks recently about how you felt about the protesters that were protesting against President Obama. You said, overall, you thought the protesters were upset that there was a black president, that there was racism involved.” The former president interrupted, “By the way, that’s not what I said.”
CNN’s Jack Cafferty and Wolf Blitzer endorsed Thomas Friedman’s “scary and sobering column” in the New York Times on Wednesday’s Situation Room, where the liberal writer compared the current American political climate to that of Israel in 1995 prior to Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. After Cafferty remarked that “Friedman’s right,” Blitzer labeled the column “powerful.”
The CNN commentator began his 5 pm Eastern “Cafferty File” segment with his “scary and sobering” label of the New York Times column. After summarizing it and reading a quote where Friedman warned that “something very dangerous is happening” in the American political dialogue, Cafferty remarked that “Friedman’s right. You don’t have to look any further than protesters comparing President Obama to a Nazi, or a Facebook poll asking if he should be killed. Tom Friedman says even if you’re not worried about violence against Mr. Obama, you should be worried about what’s happening to American politics.”
Some liberals are using the death of a Census Bureau worker in rural Kentucky to bolster their wild claims that criticism of Obama is sparking political violence. But evidence is lacking, speculation is rampant, and left wing accusers are coming up short in their efforts to portray opposition to the president as somehow dangerous.
"This is the kind of violent event that emerges from a culture of paranoia and unsubstantiated attacks," writes Allison Kilkenny, a Huffington Post contributor and liberal radio host who, according to her bio, "makes sh***y world news funny." She was referring to the probable murder (authorities have not officially ruled it a homicide) of Bill Sparkman, whose body was found with the word 'Fed' carved into his chest.
'Fed', by Kilkenny's account, "has taken on a derogatory meaning in right-wing circles where fear and paranoia reign supreme... Such paranoia and anger isn't contained in the woods of Kentucky. The problem is systematic."
CNN’s Larry King fawned over Michael Moore during an hour-long interview on his program on Wednesday, calling the leftist’s latest feature “a brilliant documentary,” and went on to label the director “our number one propagandist.” King encouraged all of his viewers to see Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story,” which was released in New York City and L.A. earlier that day.
The CNN anchor led his 9 pm Eastern program with his gush over the apparent magnificence of Moore and his latest documentary: “I’ve seen this movie, and I’ll tell you, whether people agree or disagree with it- and there will be people who disagree- this is a brilliant documentary. You are our number one propagandist, in the good sense that a propagandist presents their viewpoint very well. Maybe no one does it better.”
Eight minutes later, King besought his viewers to go see Moore’s “Love Story,” regardless of their political views: “Agree or disagree, ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ is one heck of a documentary. We saw it. You should see it- again, whether you agree or disagree, you should- you should see it.”
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez again attacked Fox News on Monday’s Newsroom, implying the channel wasn’t a “real news organization,” and bizarrely labeled Glenn Beck “pudgy-faced.” Unsurprisingly, Sanchez continued his silence concerning his own network’s left-wing bias [audio clips from the segment are available here].
The anchor began the segment by summarizing his attack on the Fox News Channel from the September 18 edition of Newsroom, and then dropped his hint that his competitor was not a genuine news outlet: “Real news organizations- real news organizations- are not supposed to stage events, nor should they promote news events, nor should they hype news events. Otherwise, they lose their ability to be impartial. They’re no longer even remotely objective if they do that, nor are they being ‘fair and balanced.’”
Appearing on CBS’s Sunday Morning, commentator Ben Stein ripped into CNN political analyst James Carville for claiming anti-Obama protestors were "classless": "the elitist anger of the liberal Democrats is boiling over as some ordinary citizens show they don’t like being pushed around....Contempt for the ordinary citizen is just not American and it does not win elections."
Earlier in his commentary, Stein wondered: "I thought the Democrats were the party of the little guys and those who aren’t classy or well born...So now the Democrats are admitting they’re the party of the rich?" He went on to point out that Democrats have "been getting the lion’s share of very large political gifts for years now. The truth is that the Democrats are the fat cats. I’m impressed that Mr. Carville admitted it. I like him more than ever now."
Stein continued: "I was also interested to see that Mr. Carville, a mere lad of 64, same age as I am, has made fun of the age of the tea party attendees." A clip was played of Carville declaring: " I mean they had every old crank in the country out there." Stein observed: "So now the Democrats don’t think the opinions of senior citizens are worth anything more than ridicule?"
Reporting for CBS’s Sunday Morning, political analyst Jeff Greenfield wondered about the impact of nationwide ant-Obama protests: "Does this new militancy on the Right pose an opportunity for the Republican Party or create a dilemma?" He fretted over the tone: "Some of it is aimed specifically and virulently at Obama....At his background, at his race, at his agenda."
Greenfield began the segment by highlighting the source of all the "militancy": "Discontent is in the air. You can see it in the signs they carry. Hear it from the most prominent voices on talk radio. All from the Right....And most notably from Glenn Beck, whose radio program and Fox News telecasts draw millions with his apocalyptic visions of where the President is going."Greenfield went on to include South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson, whom he mistakenly labeled as being from Louisiana: "You even heard it from the floor of the House...In an unprecedented outburst from Louisiana Congressman Joe Wilson."
Later, Greenfield worried about "signs here that show like pictures of Hitler, Stalin, and Obama." One sign showed President Obama as Adolf Hitler, but as NewsBusters earlier reported, that particular sign has been traced back to followers of left-wing radical Lyndon LaRouche. In response to some of the other signs, Protestor Carol Fessler explained to Greenfield: "That comes from a fear...the fear is, you know, if the media’s not doing its job, if government is just taking over every single thing it can and we now have an unfettered liberal – the radical left has gotten control of the process. That’s the fear." Greenfield concluded: "Indeed, that fear has been fed not by politicians but by Fox News pundits."
On Friday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez correctly pointed out that a full-page color ad by the Fox News Channel incorrectly claimed that his network missed the massive September 12 Tea Party rally in Washington, DC, but went on to paper over CNN’s own double-standard on covering left-wing protests versus conservative protests. Sanchez also accused Fox News of trying to “promote” the Tea Parties.
During the segment, which began 13 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, the CNN anchor seemed to be perturbed by Fox News’s ad, which ran in the Washington Post on Friday with one main line: “How did ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN miss this story?” Sanchez led with a direct attack on the ad: “If you watch this show every day...you know that I usually don’t suffer fools gladly, especially when it comes to the fools who perpetuate falsehoods. Well today, thousands of you flipped through the pages of the Washington Post, only to come across a lie so bold and so upsetting that frankly, I’m not just going to sit here in silence and allow my craft or my news operation to be unfairly maligned, because enough is enough. And, yes, I’m talking to you, Fox News.”
After a summer swoon, you would think that the evening newscasts of the Big 3 networks would start to recover a bit now that many Americans are back from vacations, kids are back in school, and fall routines are getting established or re-established.
So far, you would be wrong.
It's early, and there's still plenty of time this fall to recover, but during the time period after Labor Day, the broadcasts primarily anchored by Brian Williams at NBC, Charles Gibson at ABC, and Katie Couric at CBS:
Are down a combined 28.5% from their peak in late January during the first full week of Barack Obama's presidency.
Have lost a combined 37.7% of their audience in the 25-54 demographic during the same time period.
Are down year-over-year compared to September 1, 2008, the week after Labor a year ago, by 8.9% overall and 18.1% in the 25-54 demographic.
At 19.55 million, are basically drawing audiences no larger than they were during this past (for them) miserable summer.
Time Magazine's Joe Klein leveled another accusation of racism against Tea Party protesters today, employing fallacious arguments that could be torn apart by any student of basic logic.
Tea Party protesters, by Klein's account, are similar to the caricature of the 1990s religious right: "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command," in the words of the Washington Post. Klein takes that WaPo adage and adds 'racist' to the end.
The Tea Party protesters are scared above all, Klein asserts, "by an amorphous feeling that they [sic] America they imagined they were living in--Sarah Palin's fantasy America--is a different place now, changing for the worse, overrun by furriners of all sorts: Latinos, South Asians, East Asians, homosexuals...to say nothing of liberated, uppity blacks...
Timothy Egan, liberal New York Times reporter turned ultra-liberal nytimes.com "Outposts" blogger, titled his Wednesday night entry "Working Class Zero," a condescending, stereotypically liberal attack on blue-collar folks too ignorant and easily "distracted" to fight for their own interests, which Egan defined as government-controlled health care.
Egan was vexed that many middle-class Americans were instead heeding "the brat's cry of Joe Wilson" and condescendingly reduced the concerns of conservative protesters of the size and influence of the federal government to "generalized rage" stoked by "well-funded Astroturf outfits."
An evening after trumpeting President Jimmy Carter's racism charge (“An overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man”), NBC led Wednesday night with the “fallout” as Andrea Mitchell proposed that though “many thought” the “racial divisions” were “healed by the election of the first African-American President,” Carter's “blunt comments” have “prompted us to re-examine our assumptions about race” -- as if everyone is like those at NBC who adjust their views based on what Carter says.
Mitchell proceeded to smear the tea party activists, corroborated by just two racist posters the network managed to find:
In a season of angry protests, there are ugly signs that some of it is not rooted in bailout fatigue or suspicion of big government. Mixed in the anti-Obama crowds over recent weeks, racial slurs against the President of the United States. All that, plus an unprecedented interruption of the President's speech to Congress prompting Jimmy Carter's blunt comments first broadcast on Nightly News last night.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele shot back at CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after the anchor tried to smear conservatives with racism on Wednesday’s Situation Room. The CNN anchor pointed out a racist sign at a Tea Party, and Steele replied, “Don’t hold up one person as an example of behavior by everyone.” The RNC chairman also rebuked Blitzer after the anchor pointed out the GOP’s dearth of minorities in Congress [audio clips from the segment are available here].
Before he introduced Steele, Blitzer played a clip from former President Jimmy Carter, who attributed “overwhelming portion of the intensely-demonstrated animosity towards President Barack Obama” to racism. He then asked the RNC chairman for his take on the Democrat’s remarks. Steele replied that Carter was “just dead wrong....I am, like a lot of Americans, concerned and disagree with the President’s policies and approaches from the stimulus spending to this health care strategy. Am I a racist because I disagree with that? I don’t think so.”
After systematically ignoring the outrageous and offensive signs used by leftist protesters at anti-war demonstrations journalists and bloggers are now devoting an immense amount of attention to a small minority of Tea Party protesters carrying signs far outside of the mainstream.
Liberal bloggers were also incensed with what they claimed were the hateful (and racist) intentions of the protesters. Matt Yglesias at Think Progress noted the miniscule presence of Confederate Flags and pondered why demonstrators were "waving flags of treason and slavery". Other bloggers at TP complained of the "hate at the protest."
ABC and NBC on Tuesday night joined the effort to undermine the anti-Obama tea party participants by smearing them as racists as ABC framed a story around the proposition “some prominent Obama supporters are now saying” the opposition to Obama is “driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President,” while NBC anchor Brian Williams touted how “former President Carter spoke up and spoke out about” the supposed racism. Williams alleged “a certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march in Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.” (MP3 audio of Williams, Video below)
With “OUT OF LINE?” on screen beneath what appeared to be pictures from the August town halls, ABC anchor Charles Gibson set up the piece from Dan Harris who recited a litany of liberal presumptions:
They've waved signs likening President Obama to Hitler and the devil, raised questions about whether he was really born in this country, falsely accused him of planning to set up death panels, decried his speech to students as indoctrination and called him everything from a fascist to a socialist to a communist. And all that was before Mr. Obama's speech was interrupted by a Representative who once fought to keep the Confederate flag waving over the South Carolina state house. Add it all up, and some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President. (MP3 audio,Video below)
Brian Maloney at The Radio Equalizer blog noticed a development over the summer that seems to have escaped much of the news media: In a whole bunch of major radio markets -- from New York City to San Diego, with St. Louis in between -- Rush Limbaugh's listenership has surged: “As frustration with Obama's policies reached a boiling point during August, Americans clearly turned to Rush for help,” but “the state-run media has yet to take notice.”
Specifically, for KFI-AM in Los Angeles, Arbitron reported Limbaugh “gained a full share point overall, from 5.9 to 6.9 to take first place with a weekly cume of 635,700 listeners. With men 35-64, the jump was from 4.7 to 5.6. In the 11am hour, Rush pulled in a mammoth 6.3.” Yet, Maloney observed:
Judging by the coverage in the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register and Los Angeles Business Journal, this feat was somehow accomplished without the help of the medium's star performer, Rush Limbaugh. In covering the achievement, the latter two publications didn't even mention Rush, while the Times noted Limbaugh only in passing deep into one story and left him out of another entirely.
You might have figured this was coming, that when dust settled from the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C., the brain trust at MSNBC would attempt to frame it as negatively as possible.
And MSNBC's resident left-wing curmudgeon-in-training David Shuster didn't disappoint. The former host of the canceled "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" took a report from the Huffington Post debunking attendance figures and attempted to belittle the event. The story focused on an old photograph that had been circulating on some minor conservative blogs showing a huge crowd for the Sept. 12 march.
Shuster asked Washington Examiner columnist and author of "The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money" if some conservative blogs were going to circulate a phony photo, why should the movement have any credibility? But Carney didn't take the bait and instead showed that MSNBC and other mainstream media outlets were committing a similar offense.
There's no doubt the so-called mainstream media turned their collective noses up at the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C. to protest the policies of Democratic-controlled federal government - whether in the form of denigration, downplay or outright ignoring the event.
However, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has suggested a different tactic. On his Sept. 14 show, Limbaugh proposed a future round of these grassroots protests not take place at the seats of power in government, but instead the headquarters and outposts of the local and national media.
"There have been hundreds and thousands of protests by conservative groups that haven't been covered, and tiny turnouts by the left that are covered," Limbaugh said. "You know all this as well as I do. What about this? We're looking for a force multiplier. Yeah, the protest in Washington on Saturday was great, two million people, but imagine what a force multiplier would be if the next one were held outside of local and national television networks and their headquarters where they can't miss it?"
CNN's efforts to smear Obama critics as racist gained visibility on Monday's Situation Room when the usually more sensible Wolf Blitzer, with “RACIAL TINGE TO TEA MOVEMENT” as the on-screen heading, set up a story on how, “most disturbing,” within the tea party crowds there's “a very small but vocal minority, they're targeting President Obama's race.” Though reporter Elaine Quijano said “we have to emphasize by far most tea party protesters are not casting their arguments in what could be seen as a racial light,” she nonetheless proceeded to treat as newsworthy how “a small but passionate minority is also voicing what some see as racist rhetoric.”
In decrying the racism, CNN gave national cable air time to what she described as a “controversial image that's been circulating on the Web since July,” a “doctored image circulating on the Internet and even some protesters signs like this one in Brighton, Michigan, portraying President Obama as a witch doctor.” Brighton, Michigan? So, not at the more newsworthy big national event Saturday in DC I presume.
Quijano soon went to Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page who saw race as the common denominator: “People are not just mad at Obama. They're mad at Jesse Jackson, they're mad at Reverend Wright, they're made at Al Sharpton, they're mad at people who have nothing to do with Obama except they all happen to be black.” Without questioning the supposition, Quijano warned: “Page says the vehement racial resistance that's emerged is another sign any notion of a post-racial society after Barack Obama's election was wishful thinking.”
CNN’s Jim Spellman did his best to paint the participants of the Tea Party Express’s rallies across the nation in late August and early September as a bunch of extremists on Saturday’s Newsroom. Spellman played clips which zeroed-in on the protesters who called President Obama a Nazi, carried guns, or forwarded “outlandish conspiracy theories,” and labeled all of them “a dark undercurrent.”
The CNN journalist followed the Tea Party Express organization’s bus caravan during its 2 week journey across the United States, and the thirty-plus rallies held where it stopped. Spellman appeared just after the beginning of the 5 pm Eastern hour of Newsroom, and first played clips from seven men and six women who participated in these rallies. Six of the thirteen clips came from people who could be portrayed as “extreme,” as anchor Don Lemon put it, included one who referred to a “Gestapo-type tactic” and another who carried an AK-47:
Not everyone at the NBC Universal umbrella of networks got the gag order memo about the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C.
Rick Santelli, who has been a target of the Obama White House and is credited with being the inspiration for the 2009 tea party movement, spoke out about how the media ignored the march. But, a year after the fall of Lehman Brothers, he was making the larger point that the government's intervention to thwart a financial crisis had been an ineffectual and potentially dangerous maneuver at the expense of taxpayers.
"I think this one-year anniversary is great, but I think it's great for another reason," Santelli said on CNBC's Sept. 14 "Squawk Box." "I think someday we'll learn that we didn't need to do very much, that time heals all wounds and you don't have to go broke in the process."
On Sunday, the home page of the Washington Post website buried the 9-12 rally in tiny type, while the rotating photos at the top of the page were all local stories. On Monday, one of those rotating photos highlighted a Post story on the front of the Metro section on how people attending the Black Family Reunion think that tens of thousands of Americans came to Washington not because they love freedom, but because they hate black people. Metro reporter Yamiche Alcindor began:
On Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters thronged to the U.S. Capitol to angrily accuse President Obama of taking the country in the wrong direction. A day later, in the shadow of the Washington Monument, many participants at a much smaller gathering -- the 24th annual Black Family Reunion -- said the level of hostility toward the nation's first African American president had little to do with policy differences over health care or taxes and everything to do with race.
"It' s not conducive to the coalitions we need to build in this country," said Vera Hope, 60, of Mount Rainier as she left a booth promoting health prevention. "I'm disgusted and upset by the hostility. Let's call it was it is -- it's just a disguise for right-wing racists. They are fomenting a climate of violence to provoke people."
Aside from protesters taking on CNN reporter Lisa Desjardins, as NewsBusters Matt Sheffield pointed out, there were also other pockets of backlash against media evident at the march, which were captured on video (pardon my shoddy camera work).
The march that preceded the rally in front of the U.S. Capitol took place on Pennsylvania Avenue, from Freedom Plaza to the West Lawn of the Capitol went directly in front of the Newseum, a building erected that supposedly honors those deemed the most important practitioners of the First Amendment - the news media. Marchers chanted, "Shame on the press," as they passed the colossal 250,000-square-foot building dedicated to the press situated between the White House and the U.S. Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue. (0:17)