Friday night on his HBO show, Bill Maher tried to discredit critics of President Barack Obama, including those concerned about his talk to school children, by smearing them as racists – before he pointed to a Drudge Report headline, “POLL HELL: OBAMA NEGS RISE,” as somehow an example of the ways “some of the right-wingers are always dropping subliminally racist messages.”
Maher first took up Congressman Joe Wilson's “you lie” shout at Obama: “To heckle a President, to shout in the middle of a speech, would he have done that if it was a white President? I don't think so. I think this is a southern guy who thinks 'I can do whatever I want when it's a black guy speaking.'”
Moments later on Real Time, Maher raised “the folks who did not want the President of the United States to speak to their children. No one who is sane would think the President was going to make a partisan speech to school children. And yet, there's something about that,” recalling “I grew up in an all-white town in northern New Jersey” and “I remember hearing parents talk when I was a kid, you know, they didn't want black people just talking to their kids. That's what this reminded me of.”
Usually it is easy ignore the commentary from that great bastion of cultural insight, known as the gossip Web site Gawker. But every now and then, even Gawker steps over the line.
In a Sept. 11 post by Alex Pareene that was allegedly meant to reflect on the passing of eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pareene launched into a hate-and-expletive-filled anti-President George W. Bush, anti-conservative and anti-Glenn Beck attack in his post. His first assault was on the prior administration.
"Shortly after (or maybe during) that day, our president at the time, a little [expletive] no one liked, handed over the reins to the most psychotic elements of his administration," Pareene said. "In the vast national wave of jingoism, paranoia, dread, and fear that followed, he and his friends led us into an unrelated war they'd been planning beforehand, allowed the CIA to wiretap and torture anyone they liked (and encouraged the CIA to wiretap and torture even more than they were comfortable with!), and regularly insisted that our memory of that day should not be sullied with critical thinking or expressions of anything other than still-palpable fear."
It's been nearly seven months since CNBC reporter Rick Santelli took a stand against the Obama administration, which inspired the tea party movement - and the White House hasn't forgotten.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked by CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood why the administration decided to go after Santelli after his Feb. 19 call for a metaphorical revolt over President Barack Obama's economic policies.
"Truthfully, one primary reason," Gibbs said in comments aired on CNBC's Sept. 4 "Squawk on the Street." "And that was - I thought the argument that he was making was both disingenuous and not based on the facts. It was clear that Rick was very passionate about the issue. And look, we have differing opinions from both sides of the political aisle. It was clear to me that the argument that he was making wasn't based on him having actually read our plan."
A country boy can survive the Obama administration. Just ask Hank Williams, Jr.
The country music artist -- best known to millions of Americans regardless of their musical taste for his "Are You Ready For Some Football?" theme to Monday Night Football -- was profiled yesterday by Bill Lynch of the Charleston [W.V.] Gazette (h/t my NB colleague Tim Graham).
Lynch spent a considerable portion of his profile focused on Williams's politics, including his upcoming gig at a Labor Day TEA Party:
You probably already knew Jeanane Garofalo was no fan of conservatives, Republicans or just about anything that could be described as right of center. But the former Air America host and MSNBC regular really has a low regard for conservative activists.
Who says the media are monolithic in their thinking?
Yesterday we informed you of the media's serial misuse of an Obama-as-Hitler poster from esoteric left-winger Lyndon LaRouche's website, as outlets like NBC (on their Nightly News and Meet the Press), CNN and MSNBC all ascribed the poster to sentiments roiled up by talk radio host Rush Limbaugh specifically and conservatives generally.
We were entertained by the fact that all of these highly trained, keen-eyed journalists missed the words "LaRouchePAC.com" - in fairly large type - printed at the bottom of every one of the placards they used for their little reporting projects.
Well apparently CBS hasn't yet learned the lesson we had hoped to impart. In fact, last night they did the other networks one worse.
For the words "LaRouchPAC.com" are prominently visible three times (screen captures below the fold) on two different Obama-as-Hitler posters during reporter Ben Tracy's segment, yet that doesn't stop him from blaming it on right-wingers.
As the second Obama-as-Hitler poster is shown, with LaRouchePAC.com clearly visible front and center, Tracy offers up:
(Earlier today, Clay Waters covered Krugman's column for NewsBusters here.)
The group (full disclosure: I work for the National Center for Public Policy Research, which sponsors Project 21) has also called on President Obama to condemn "this effort to stifle debate with race-baiting tactics" as well as "all efforts to derail legitimate public debate."
Krugman's column drew the following specific comments from Project 21 members:
That pretty much sums up the attitude of the Kossacks at the Daily Kos. However, unlike the Mel Brooks version of King Louis XVI in "History of the World: Part I," the Kossacks are fearful, deeply fearful, of the people. They are worried that the Tea Party protesters who show up at the town hall meetings conducted by members of Congress might derail Obamacare due to the large turnouts and vehemence of their protests as you can see in this thread posted by Kossack icebergslim:
Sure, it is a bunch of nuts or really UNINFORMED constituents who are buying into the argument of the NON-ARGUMENT of the Republican Party for health care reform.
The Obama White House needs to get out of the bubble and get real here. We all know that the lobbyists and insurance companies are ARMED TO THE NINES to defeat any health care reform, UNLESS THEY WRITE IT. Since they can not WRITE IT, they will destroy it. Simple as that.
Why is this dangerous?
These folks are ON TELEVISION, getting eyeballs, and making traction. Worried yet? Sure, it may be just a few, but a few can rollerball into many. The Democrats have not sold the health care reform argument because there is no f---ing bill by them. Are we shooting the bullets into our feet yet?
CNN correspondent Carol Costello aired a fair report on Friday’s American Morning about the several states which passed resolutions that asserted their rights under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and asked for viewer responses on the issue, but later stated that her “favorite [viewer] comment so far...‘asking for states’ rights is asking, you know, the children to be the parents’” [audio clips from the report are available here].
Costello began her report, which aired just before the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour, with the question, “should states’ rights trump the fed?” She also highlighted the premise that “the concept of states’ rights is as old as America.”
The CNN correspondent used three sound bites from Texas Governor Rick Perry’s speech to a tea party in April 2009, which was widely circulated around the Internet. She also featured clips from an Republican state legislator from Oklahoma and a constitutional law professor.
On Friday, MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall exclaimed: "Harsh political discourse against [President Obama] really amped up and people started to push the boundaries of what might be considered decency. From talk radio to those tea parties that we saw with some pretty offensive signs folks were holding, even in the presence of children. The anger has certainly intensified."
As evidence of the supposed lack of "decency" co-anchor David Shuster declared: "And so listen to Glenn Beck make his case against health care reform just yesterday on his radio show, watch." The audio clip that followed featured Beck yelling at a hostile caller during his Wednesday show.
Based on that one example, Shuster wondered: "So are the political attacks, is the language, is the discourse, going too far? And does it have real consequences?" He then teased another segment on the topic in the next hour, but it was preempted by live coverage of President Obama speaking on health care reform.
CNN sent its deputy political editor Paul Steinhauser to Capitol Hill on Saturday morning to file a few reports from a Fourth of July Tea Party protest at Upper Senate Park. In no way did he repeat Susan Roesgen’s infamously combative "this is not really family viewing" fight with protesters, and Anderson Cooper was nowhere to be found with raunchy "teabagging" jokes. Anchor Brooke Baldwin did suggest they needed to go home at some point: "Of course, exercising that First Amendment right to protest, but hopefully, they'll clear out of the way for the fireworks tonight."
In the 11 am hour, Steinhauser straightforwardly explained the organizers’ aims:
STEINHAUSER: This is -- these tea parties, as they're called, they're being held -- their Web site says, at about 1,500 places across the country. This is round two. If you remember, there were tea parties, rallies, on April 15th, Tax Day. And that's really what this is all about. TEA stands for "taxed enough already." Our CNN Team here spoke to some in the rally crowd. Take a listen to what they had to say.
Dallas Morning News’s Wayne Slater become one of the first pundits after the shootings at the Holocaust Museum on Wednesday to hint that there was a connection to mainstream conservative activists. On CNN Newsroom, about two hours after the story broke, Slater linked this incident and the murder of abortionist George Tiller with “anti-tax secessionists in Texas,” his label for Tea Party protesters.
Anchor Rick Sanchez moderated a panel discussion on the Holocaust Museum shootings after the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, in which Slater participated. Sanchez asked the Dallas Morning News political writer if criminals like this suspect are “motivated or do they need to be motivated?” He replied, not including the shooting of Tiller, but reaching back to include the Oklahoma City bombing perpetuated by Timothy McVeigh:
SLATER: They absolutely need to be motivated and are being motivated. Each of these episodes in recent weeks- whether it’s [the] killing of an abortion doctor- whether it was this Holocaust denier today, or whether it was others- whether you’re talking about Tim McVeigh or anti-tax secessionists in Texas- the interesting thing is they’re all separate, but they’re all hearing portions of the same echo chamber, a kind of dialogue- a toxic dialogue that’s subterranean in large parts. Remember, the man who was accused- who is accused of the most recent shooting of the abortion doctor, according to his ex-wife, had connections with the Montana Freemen, a kind of wild radical secessionist group. You hear not only these conversations about blacks and Jews, but about the government and about other hate-filled issues. It is- although they are separate- they are connected by a kind of dialogue of toxic ideology.
At first it was reported that President Barack Obama wasn't even aware of the nationwide Tea Party protests that occurred on April 15. But now he's out criticizing them and the Fox News Channel.
In a town hall meeting in St. Louis on April 29, Obama was asked about fiscal discipline and entitlement reform. In his response, he took a shot at the Fox News Channel and the tea party movement, insisting he's "happy to have a serious conversation" with them.
"So, when you see - those of you who are watching certain news channels that on which I'm not very popular and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security," Obama said.
Last week we profiled a large swath of the media's coverage of the TEA Parties. Well, for those who wondered: how did Time and Newsweek cover the tea parties? The answer is: Barely. Time's April 27 issue carried less than 100 words up front in the Briefing section. There was a photo of a protester -- in Thailand.
Newsweek's April 27 issue carried this very strange entry in the "Conventional Wisdom Watch" box. Tea parties drew a down arrow, with this text: "Protest high taxes after largest tax cut ever [??] -- and miss 'tea bag' double entendre."
Howard Fineman's column on page 31 was largely devoted to the tea parties, although he was not impressed. Under a small photo of a rally, the caption was "STRANGE BREW: Tea parties won't revive the national party."
Fineman said that as well: "Tea parties, of course, will not revive the national party. So what will? There is no one-stop Republican inner circle with all the answers."
It has been something that there have been rumblings about, but no one has really put the x's and o's together entirely - that General Electric (NYSE:GE) is using its media arm, NBC Universal to promote President Barack Obama's so-called progressive agenda for its own financial gain.
However, as just previewed by Amy Ridenour, Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly attempted to do so at the top of his April 23 "The O'Reilly Factor" broadcast during his "Talking Points Memo" segment. O'Reilly outlined how Obama has gotten support from the NBC networks both pre-election and post-election.
"Will General Electric get paid for supporting President Obama - that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo," O'Reilly said. "As everybody knows, GE, which owns NBC has been very aggressive in helping Barack Obama - first supporting the president in the election and now attacking his critics."
On April 21, the Business and Media Institute's Dan Gainor testified before the House Judiciary Committee's Courts and Competition Policy in a hearing on "A New Age for Newspapers."
As MRC's Tim Graham wrote on April 22, the hearing was spurred by the steady drumbeat of newspaper closings around the country, and calls from some Democrat lawmakers to bail out and subsidize the newspaper business.
While others testified on newsprint business models and the impact of the Internet, Gainor's statement to the subcommittee highlighted liberal bias as a major factor in the industry's decline. "The concept of a journalist as a neutral party has become a punch line for a joke, not a guideline for an industry," he said.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
"MSNBC News Live" host Norah O'Donnell on Wednesday dismissed the tea party rallies that took place across the country last week as "top down" and not organic, prompting a complaint from a Republican strategist over the network's coverage. The discussion arose during an interview with GOP strategist Karen Hanretty and a Democratic operative over the leadership of the Republican Party.
After Hanretty asserted that the tea parties were an example of grass roots conservative leadership, O'Donnell retorted, "Karen, what was organic about the tea party protest? Those were not from the ground up." She went on to label the nationwide events "top down," which prompted Hanretty to quip, "No. I know MSNBC likes to promote that those were top down, but that's not the case at all." (MSNBC hosts were relentless in their attacks on the the parties. Most famously, "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann on April 16 talked to actress Janeane Garofalo, who deemed the demonstrations racist.)
How is it that MSNBC's Rachel Maddow toiled for years as a student before before earning a doctorate in political science at Oxford -- yet managed to avoid studying the American Civil War?
How else to explain Maddow's commentary last Thursday in response to tea party protests nationwide against dubious tax policy and runaway government spending?
Here's what Maddow said in previewing an upcoming segment --
Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, appears to have his sights set on higher office. What is higher office if you're already governor in Texas? Of course, that would be president of Texas. The return of Confederacy in American politics as seceding from the Union comes back into Republican fashion.
Yeah, I laughed too -- "Republican fashion"? Those pundits at MSNBC make the darndest claims, don't they?
When American citizens assert conservative principles, as they did last week with the tea party protests, it has a strange effect on liberals. They get angry. Some get in touch with their inner Beavis and Butthead, giggling endlessly over lame sexual innuendo. Some, like Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi, just get downright misogynistic.
In a blog post on tax day, Taibbi sleazed conservative writer Michelle Malkin, who supported and wrote about the tea parties. “I have to say, I’m really enjoying this whole teabag thing,” Taibbi wrote. “It’s really inspiring some excellent daydreaming. For one thing, it’s brought together the words teabag and Michelle Malkin for me in a very powerful, thrilling sort of way. Not that I haven’t ever put those two concepts together before, but this is the first time it’s happened while in the process of reading her actual columns.”
Taibbi then paused to slime Ann Coulter (“When you read Ann Coulter, you know you’re reading someone who would f*** a hippopotamus if she thought it would boost her Q rating.”) before really turning on the charm.
Despite all the criticisms of the Fox News Channel broadcasted on MSNBC for promoting tea party coverage, one thing hasn't been pointed out - how the NBC networks, including CNBC and MSNBC are given a pass for their shameless promotion of their Green Week and Green is Universal network events.
Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large for National Review and author of "Liberal Fascism," appeared on Fox News Channel's April 18 "Fox News Watch" and commented on FNC's promotion of the tea parties, but the double standard of MSNBC's criticism of Fox News.
"I think that there's a perfectly legitimate criticism against Fox for not so much the coverage, but the commercials, you know - promoting the coverage, which was in effect advertisements for these things," Goldberg explained. "But, this was all transparent, people knew that's Fox was doing. But let's flashback to what GE, to pick up a point that Jim [Pinkerton] made - that GE basically issued a fatwa to NBC for Green Week, where they did hundreds of hours of environmental messaging in all of their dramas, news coverage, "Today" show - throughout the network and it was all hailed as a wonderful progressive thing. That is a much more pernicious promotion than anything Fox did."
Left-wing activist/actress Janeane Garofalo, now starring on Fox's '24', went on a wild rant Thursday night, on MSNBC's Countdown, impugning those who attended the Wednesday tea parties as racists and denigrating the brain power of anyone who watches the Fox News Channel. (In his Thursday night post, “Garofalo: Tea Party Goers Are Racists Who Hate Black President,” Noel Sheppard provided an embedded video of the entire segment with Keith Olbermann as well as a full transcript.)
Here, however, is an edited video (matching MP3 audio), just over two-minutes in length, of her most-outrageous smears uttered on the April 16 program.
“This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism, straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks. And there is no way around that,” she scurrilously charged. After comparing conservatives to “white power activists,” she continued: “This is about racism. It could be any issue, any port in a storm. These guys hate that a black guy is in the White House.”
In an outrageous calumny, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg has decided that the nearly one million Americans that attended the tax day tea party protests all across the country must not care about our military veterans. Considering a large number of these very same protesters were military vets, I'd bet that Steinberg's blinkered figuring would come as quite a surprise to them.
In his April 17 column Steinberg insists that tax protesters are in reality "speaking out against our military and our vets." Ridiculously, he also tries to make it seem like our founding fathers would be unhappy with the tea party movement because he thinks the founders were big government folks. The backflips, illogic, and the obviously illiterate historical analysis by which he arrives at these absurd notions is an act of liberal pretzel logic that is a wonder to behold.
NPR's Nina Totenberg on Friday night was unsure as to whether the tea parties have “any legs are not” since “at almost any given time any cockamamie proposition in America will have at least 25 percent of those polled supporting it.” On Inside Washington she called the anti-tax and anti-spending rallies “a good stunt,” before declaring Americans “pay relatively small taxes” and then lecturing those unappreciative protesters about how taxes provide, as if they want taxes totally eliminated, “a civilized kind of social compact where you don't have massive civil eruptions. That is what taxes are for.”
To which, Newsweek's Evan Thomas chimed in: “I'm all for paying more taxes.”
In the wake of the tax day tea parties, the Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor appeared on Fox Business Channel's "Cavuto" on April 16 to discuss the protests.
Host Neil Cavuto compared the tea parties to the successful 1978 California tax revolt led by Howard Jarvis, noting that the media failed to take notice of the movement in that case as well, until they had to report the surprise passage of Proposition 13.
"Well of course it's relatable," Gainor said of the comparison. "What we're dealing with now are the same problems. Taxes and government growth are out of control and the politicians are out of touch -- and frankly most of the media are out of touch."
The tea-party coverage even trickled on National Public Radio on Wednesday night, on their newscast All Things Considered. It was a fairly respectful hearing of dissent, even though anchor Melissa Block suggested the protesters were bearing only "pet peeves," and reporter Robert Smith insisted the festivities weren't exactly "grass roots" activity, since they were grown with "partisan fertilizer."
They were put together by "conservative" groups and Fox News. Would NPR or the TV networks ever describe the anti-war or pro-amnesty protests they lavishly cover as "liberal" events, or note they're less than "grass roots" because they got heavy play on ABC, CBS, and NBC? But Smith went there on the tea parties:
So, we are all well aware of the so-called reporter from CNN, Susan Roesgen whose on-air haranguing of those she was ostensibly reporting on made obvious her anti-Republican bias. Well, for the past day Americans have been emailing her to let her know how they feel about her unprofessional attitude. Apparently, CNN does not appreciate hearing from its viewers, though, because all of a sudden anyone that sends an email to Roesgen's CNN email address will have it returned as address unknown!
We reported on Roesgan's outrageous "interviews" from the Chicago Tea Party later that evening and since the airing of her debating those she was supposed to be reporting on, folks have been jamming CNN's email boxes with complaints.
It is pretty telling that on-air "reporter" Roesgen's email address suddenly returns as address unknown, isn't it? Why is CNN so afraid of hearing from its viewers?
On Wednesday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and Jeffrey Toobin voiced their skepticism about the hundreds of Tea Party protests across the U.S., with Toobin stating how it was “disturbing” that there was a “edge of anger at the government” at the rallies. He continued, “There is a real -- a real hostility that is not just politics as usual among some of these people....I think it’s indicative of trying to tap into an anger that’s beyond rationality on a part of a small group of these people.” Amanpour also asked if the protesters were “really out of step with the majority of Americans.”
Amanpour, filing in for host Anderson Cooper, began the segment just after the beginning of the 10 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Before turning to Toobin, she brought on the network’s senior political analyst David Gergen and asked him a cynical question about the Tea Parties: “David -- is this, David, a grassroots movement, or is it something just whipped up for this moment?” Gergen began with an admission: “Well, Christiane, at first, I must confess, I did not take these very seriously. But they do seem to have gained traction in the last couple of weeks. And they have -- I think they are giving expression to what is a groundswell of a vocal minority, who are increasingly alienated and opposed to what the president is proposing -- is putting forward, the agenda he’s advancing.”
Has "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough had enough of MSNBC's mocking, sexually-laced taunts about "teabagging?" Several anchors on the liberal cable network, including David Shuster and Rachel Maddow, have used crude references and language to deride the tax day protests that occurred on Wednesday. On Thursday, Scarborough complained, "You look at these huge rallies, and I'm not going to mention names of people on networks that made sexual jokes, childish sexual jokes, about tens of thousands of Americans who went out and wanted to get involved in their government."
The MSNBC host continued, "I mean, it was really middle school jokes being made. I didn't hear those jokes being made when people on the left protested over the past eight years." Earlier in the 6am hour, he offered criticism that, one might assume, would have to be directed at his own network: "But, if a media outlet wants to expose its bias, they can mock tea parties, if they like."
Continuing the unnamed critique, Scarborough asserted that he would expect such juvenile actions from liberal bloggers, however, "I would expect more...from news outlets. And it happened on several networks yesterday." (The last part is certainly true. CNN has also engaged in such talk.)