On Monday, one of the only sane voices in the mainstream media stood up and said, "If it wasn't for the Tea Party, they would have passed the debt ceiling thumbs up, we would have been rated BBB" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Last week, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said conservative views about the debt ceiling should be censored from news reports.
On Friday's "Morning Joe," Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) took this a step further calling on media to stop giving "equal time or equal balance" to Tea Party ideas that people like him consider "absurd" and "not factual" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Huffington Post's Howard Fineman veered into left-wing heresy on the Rachel Maddow show the other night. Fortunately, another leftist was on hand to point out Fineman's apostasy, which he duly renounced.
You see, over in MSNBC land, nothing is worse than the tea party -- or "teabaggers" as more unhinged guests such as ambulance chaser Mike Papantonio still like calling them. To MSNBCers, the tea party represents all that's bad in America -- racism, greed, xenophobia, bad fashion, poor spelling, the works.
So it was a bit of a shock to hear Fineman on Friday comparing tea partiers to previously venerated -- at least on the left -- protesters who occupied campus administration buildings way back in the swinging '60s, man. (video after page break)
You can tell the liberals are really sweating the politics of the debt-limit talks when NBC puts on a special “Dateline NBC” devoted to politics. This is normally a time slot devoted to “news” topics like Casey Anthony or Lindsey Lohan. But last week, viewers were “treated” to anchorman Brian Williams actually covering a real news topic. It’s just too bad he forgot he was supposed to be a reporter, not an editorialist, spinning furiously against conservatives trying to rein in Obama’s incredibly reckless flood of new spending.
The last time Brian Williams showed up in prime time for a splashy special on public policy was an enormous tribute to the new president, Barack Obama -- making a run for hamburgers with him, hailing how he displayed apples everywhere, and bowing to him and wishing him a pleasant evening after NBC chronicled his glorious day of saving America from recession. You know, just like Williams treated Bush.
At the conclusion of a fractious national debate about the debt ceiling, a truly marvelous moment occurred Monday when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) returned to the House floor after being shot in the head almost seven months ago.
Apparently unable to control himself, the sadly getting more and more disgraceful Chris Matthews chose to mar the emotional homecoming by connecting her shooting to the Tea Party and "the violent level of the right-wing" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Three noteworthy spins, charges and/or claims made on the Sunday morning interview shows.
> ABC’s This Week, with “ALL CUTS, NO TAXES?” on screen: George Stephanopoulos hit White House senior adviser David Plouffe from the left on how “this enforcement mechanism would not include revenue increases, would be just across the board spending cuts.” He fretted the deal “all but guarantee that the final product is all spending cuts and not the balanced approach the President wants.” Christiane Amanpour despaired President Obama “has moved all of the way to the language and the ideals that the Republicans espouse.”
> CBS’s Face the Nation: Bob Schieffer insisted “some people say that the Republican Party has been held hostage by the Tea Party” and he discerned “some truth” in an allegation he saw on Facebook that allowing House freshmen “‘to control this debate’” is “‘like letting the teenager in the family run the family budget.’”
Speaking on the floor of the Senate Saturday, Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) said, "If we had a billion dollars for every time I heard the words 'Tea Party extremist,' we could solve this debt problem."
Proving his point about the vitriolic name-calling of conservatives so prevalent now, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman began his most recent piece, "Watching today's Republicans being led around by an extremist Tea Party":
Throughout his tenure, there have been several facets in which President Obama has been demonstrably weak on leadership, with the debt debate coming to the forefront in recent months. Now however, lost in that news cycle has been another failure of leadership for the President – his own request to tone down violent rhetoric in this country. For it was mere months ago that Obama stood in front of a crowd in Tucson that had anxiously sought leadership amidst the chaos of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting; a teachable moment that had The Guardiangushing about how the President had delivered “calm amid the toxic rhetoric.”
That moment of calm has long since dissipated. Where once the President had denounced discourse that places “the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do”, we hear Republicans blamed for holding the American people hostage to their economic policies. Where once we were urged to talk “with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds”, we now hear Tea Party members being denounced as terrorists.
Make no mistake, this ratcheting up of terrorism and hostage-taking discourse directly coincides with recent events in Norway. The instant that Oslo terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, was labeled as a ‘right-wing Christian’, liberals finally had their moment to seize upon - not just a chance to label conservatives as extreme ideologues but a chance to label them as violent ideologues. This message has been a coordinated and vicious attack amongst the media, the Democrats, and most assuredly, the President.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said Tuesday that as a result of how the debt ceiling negotiations are going, the Tea Party freshmen in Congress "may just have proved to be the most cunning and rational of all players in Washington, D.C."
The host of "Morning Joe" told former Democrat Congressman Harold Ford this comes despite media depicting them as radical, reckless extremists (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski asked the co-host of "Morning Joe" Monday if Republicans holding the line on the debt ceiling are "so stuck to their little contract and the Tea Party that they cannot even think outside the box for the good of the country."
Somewhat less surprising, Joe Scarborough gave a pretty good answer (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Fareed Zakaria on Sunday blamed the Tea Party for the "extraordinary polarization in Washington today."
"It's ideologically extreme, refuses to compromise, and cares more about purity than problem solving," Zakaria told viewers of the CNN program bearing his name (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Pat Buchanan got into quite a heated debate on Monday's "Hardball."
At issue was the battle of the debt ceiling with Matthews calling Tea Partiers opposed to raising it "crazy protesters" and telling his guest, "You want to join" them (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Cokie Roberts got quite a lesson Sunday on why compromise can be a dirty word in politics.
When she asked Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) why compromise isn't a "message that you hear," the Tea Partier responded, "Why is it that compromise always means increasing taxes today and doing cuts in ten years from now?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Earlier this morning, Washington Times blogger Kerry Picket discovered an unusual listing on the popular movie rating website Rotten Tomatoes. The new Sarah Palin documentary, 'The Undefeated,' was categorized not only as a documentary, but also as science fiction and fantasy.
Since Picket's blog was posted, the science fiction and fantasy tag has been removed, but it begs the question of why the film was categorized in the same listing as the fantasy tales of 'X-Men,' 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' and 'Transformers' in the first place.
In a relatively inoffensive interview with President Barack Obama for Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley implied the Tea Party (and maybe congressional liberals too) should be blamed for blocking a debt ceiling deal (“Isn't the problem that a large number of the Members of Congress will not follow your leadership or the Republican leadership?”) and fondly recalled how “it wasn't that long ago when compromise in Washington was considered a virtue, not a vice.”
Pelley touted how “Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but they respected each other, they liked each other and they got things done.” That allowed Obama to use Reagan to scold conservatives: “If Ronald Reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize Ronald Reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises?”
“The problem is this issue with the House Republicans,” NBC’s Chuck Todd declared Wednesday night in naming the culprit blocking help to Americans whom anchor Brian Williams asserted “are hurting every day and hoping for a result to make their lives better.”
In a story on President Barack Obama’s press conference, Todd maintained Obama and the Senate could come together, but he blamed the conservatives for preventing a debt ceiling deal, fretting over “that new conservative, the Tea Party caucus” which rejects “anything that even remotely looks like a tax hike on anybody.”
During a somewhat rambling interview, host Piers Morgan asked, "Where is the similar mob to Mussolini’s and Hitler’s in the modern democratic era...Tea Party?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
“Do you think the Tea Party is losing some of its appeal?” So Harry Smith cued up a hardly independent guest on Sunday’s Face the Nation: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic Congresswoman and Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Earlier, the fill-in host was astonished House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would want to find cuts to afford extra spending for tornado recovery efforts: “One of the things you said earlier this week is that emergency funding should be offset by cuts to the budget deficit. Do you stand by that?”
Meanwhile, another round of Sunday panels meant more pleas to raise taxes. On Fox News Sunday, a frustrated Juan Williams fretted: “Republicans -- for all this talk about oh, the deficit, the debt, we have to be serious, entitlement reform – refuse to consider raising taxes.”
Andrew Sullivan this weekend seemed to shock Chris Matthews when he said that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin could actually beat President Obama in next year's elections running as the "principled candidate" representing "this grassroots movement of cutting government down to size."
Maybe even more surprising, Time's Joe Klein seemed to agree telling the host of "The Chris Matthews Show," "You were around in ’79 and ’80 as I was. Did you see many people in the Carter administration think that Ronald Reagan could beat Jimmy Carter?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday played up how opponents of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan shouted down GOP representatives at recent town hall meetings, but downplayed them as "less than friendly," and marveled at their apparently "poignant" questions. The network also omitted how liberal groups targeted these meetings, and trumpeted the "nasty national shouting match" at health care town hall meetings in 2009.
News anchor Jeff Glor noted how "House Republicans are back home for the first time since passing an aggressive deficit cutting plan, including the architect of that plan, Congressman Paul Ryan." Glor used the "less than friendly" label immediately before playing a clip of an unidentified protester shouting, "Ryan, stop lying!" outside a town hall meeting held by the Republican in Wisconsin, and another of a woman who directly accused him of "screwing our generation and the next generation."
Regurgitating the same kind of derogatory comments he regularly spews on his Friday night HBO show, Bill Maher showed up Monday night on the Late Show with David Letterman where CBS, unlike HBO, excised his vile terminology for Tea Party activists.
Maher denounced Tea Party followers as “sad, unfortunate people” because they are “corporate America's useful idiots” who don’t allow “facts” to “get in that tin foil helmet.”
Then he employed his usual “tea-baggers” phrase, but CBS silenced the “baggers” so viewers heard dead air when Maher spoke that foul term:
I don't have any respect, no, I don't have any respect for the tea-(baggers) [word silenced] and I do call them the tea-(baggers) [word silenced again] -- even though they hate it. I will stop calling them Tea-(baggers) [word silenced for a third time] when they stop calling it Obamacare, that's my deal.
CBS's Jan Crawford spotlighted the Tea Party movement on Monday's Early Show, but also played up how it might present a "challenge" for potential Republican presidential candidates due its apparent unpopularity: "Recent polls show 47% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the movement. So candidates looking for Tea Party votes have to be careful not to alienate moderates."
Midway through her report, after noting the would-be GOP presidential candidates, such as Tim Pawlenty and Donald Trump, who showed up at some of the weekend rallies, the correspondent turned to possible downside that these politicians might face in appealing to the Tea Party, playing up a result from a recent CNN/Opinion Dynamics poll:
Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) had quite an illuminating discussion with Christiane Amanpour Sunday.
As the host of ABC's "This Week" pushed for higher taxes, Walsh correctly pointed out that Barack Obama's first 2012 budget proposed earlier in the year didn't address entitlement programs saying, "The President of the United States ought to be ashamed of himself, and I don't know why your profession hasn't gotten on him more" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday morning's "Squawk Box," CNBC's on-air editor Rick Santelli sounded off against raising the debt ceiling, the Democrat-controlled congress' failure to pass a budget last year, and "spendthrift" politicians. The rant echoed his famous 2009 diatribe where he called for a Chicago "Tea Party."
"It's a matter of principle. If we can't do the discretionary spending now, what chance do the conservatives have to tackle everything we know?" he said of more budget cuts.
"But you turn on certain channels that are supposed to be news, and they vilify anything to get it under control. They say we're going to kill kids? You know, we will have problems with children if the whole damn country goes bankrupt. Wake up!"
Kicking off the March 30 edition of "Last Word," MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell unleashed a torrent of insults aimed at Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
"House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is the most stunningly ignorant member in the history of the Congress," bellowed O'Donnell. "That's right. Eric Cantor revealed today in a press conference that he does not know how a bill becomes a law. Seriously. He doesn't."