The liberal press likes to scold what it sees as lapses in civil rhetoric, usually from conservatives who fail to properly respect the icons of the Left. But as documented by the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2010, the media elite itself lurched into some pretty uncivil rhetoric this year — especially when the targets were Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party and other conservatives.
Call it Coffee Party Redux. Before quickly fizzling out the Coffee Party received extreme media hype shorty after its birth last year and now its latter incarnation, No Labels is the recipient of the same kind of treatment in the mainstream media. The similarities don't stop there. Nice Deb at NewsRealBlog has listed theNo Labels Declaration and the Coffee Party Mission Statement side by side and as you can see they are virtually identical in their feel good vagueness:
On Friday’s Political Capital show, Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson lavished praise on President Obama has having "negotiating skills" like the recently deceased diplomat Richard Holbrooke - known for facilitating a ceasefire in Bosnia in the mid-1990s - as host Al Hunt asked Carlson and the National Review’s Kate O’Beirne to describe what Christmas gifts they would figuratively give to various public figures. Carlson: "I’m going to give him an inscribed copy of the late, great Richard Holbrooke’s memoir, in honor of Obama’s negotiating skills in this lame duck session. All he had to do was give up tax cuts - for which the Republican Party stands - to the wealthy who don’t need it in exchange for everything else he got."
She went on to trash Tea Party Republicans recently elected to Congress as "blowing off steam." Carlson: "I’m afraid that they might succumb to earmarks and lobbyists. They give every sign of that. So I’m going to give them a tea kettle because all they’ve done so far is blow off steam."
Late last week, CNN announced its plan to team up with the Tea Party Express to co-sponsor a Republican presidential debate in September. While this creates the possibility that Republican candidates will actually face questions of interest to Republican primary voters (as opposed to the typical liberal media agenda), it’s also probably the first time a media organization will partner with a group that its on-air correspondents and commentators have trashed over the past two years.
CNN’s liberal commentators have been savage to the Tea Party. Back in 2009, longtime CNN house liberal Paul Begala slammed the Tea Party as “a bunch of wimpy, whiny, weasels who don’t love their country.” A couple of weeks before this year’s election, CNN’s 8pm ET co-host Eliot Spitzer said the Tea Party was “vapid” and leading America “down a dangerous road....They’re going to destroy our country.”
But CNN’s supposedly objective correspondents and anchors have showcased a similar hostility to the Tea Party, attacking them as racist, extremist, pawns of Fox News, or using the vulgar “tea-bagging” nickname favored by left-wing activists to disparage the group. A few of the choicer examples from the MRC’s archive (including video):
On Tuesday, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh accused the No Labels crowd of being a bunch of "washed-up losers."
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," MSNBC's Joe Scarborough took on Limbaugh's criticism saying he has "the luxury of never actually governing, never being a president, never being a senator, never being in Congress" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on Friday said the newly-elected Tea Party members in the House are going to get their hearts broken when they get to the nation's capital.
In her view, expressed on PBS's "The McLaughlin Group," this will happen "as they come up against all the forces in Washington, the same forces that Barack Obama came up against" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Liberal media members opposed to President Obama's tax cut compromise plan have been making the case that it's hypocritical of the Tea Party not to be universally against the measure given its impact on the deficit.
After Ed Schultz and Bill Press not surprisingly took this view on Monday's "Ed Show," Michael Medved gave them both a much-needed education on the subject (video follows with transcript and commentary):
If they [Republicans] think it's okay to raise taxes for the embattled middle class because they're gonna pout if we don't give more money to millionaires, it really is time for people to take up pitchforks.
Phrased differently, McCaskill essentially claimed that if Republicans refuse to support the class warfare codified by Democratic tax proposals, a populist revolt would be an appropriate response on the parts of the American people.
When I read a television column, I want to see reviews of shows. I'll even read reviews of one-time shows like the Academy Awards, if the column is entertaining enough. But Tom Shales's long slide down to irrelevance started, I think, when he began turning his reviews into political columns.
Nobody's going to confuse Joanne Ostrow with Tom Shales, but she's following his lead in turning her TV column into political commentary. First, there was the snark-filled review of Sarah Palin's Alaska, where she finds the show more "troubling" than just about every other reality genre including "numerous shows about families with 19 kids, hoarders, polygamists and JonBenet look-alikes." Like her or not, there are plenty of people out there willing to make fun of Bristol's formerly delicate condition, without Ostrow's needing to join the fun. It's not worth refuting her point-by-point, of course, but we don't come away knowing if the show's any good.
There are times when one has to think the Manhattan building that is the home of the New York Times doesn't have any windows, doesn't have any television sets, and doesn't have any doors that allow employees to venture out and actually see what's happening in America beyond the walls of 620 Eighth Avenue.
Consider that after the impact the Tea Party has had on our nation's politics the past 20 months, and the historic elections that just took place on November 2, Times columnist Tom Friedman actually thinks Americans aren't interested in reducing the federal deficit but are instead yearning for higher taxes and greater government spending:
Those Tea Partiers – is there anything in this nation they can’t spoil? They’ve already gummed up the president’s agenda with their rallies and signs and voting. Now, they’re trying to ruin “Dancing with the Stars!”
So says the left and many in the media agree. Now that newly resurgent conservatives have handed them a crushing mid-term defeat, liberals are seeing nefarious Tea Party plots everywhere – including in silly entertainment shows. And they’re taking plenty of shots at Bristol and, predictably, her mother.
Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol, 20, has done remarkably well in this season’s “Dancing with the Stars” competition on ABC. As she’s advanced from week to week, buoyed by viewer voting, entertainment reporters and liberals have become increasingly frustrated.
Roland Martin brought his full-blown Palin Derangement Syndrome to Friday's Anderson Cooper 360, labeling the former Alaska governor "the Kim Kardashian of politics." Martin continued that Palin is "making a ton of money. We're trying to figure out why. It's the same as Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton....She quit her job because she wanted to go out and be a celebrity."
The CNN contributor actually first tried out his questionable label of the Tea Party favorite on his Twitter account. At 5:12 pm on November 9, Martin posted the following Tweet: "Palin slammed then-Sen. Obama as a celebrity in 2008 campaign, and she's more of a celebrity because she doesn't hold office." Mind you, at that time, Palin was Alaska's governor and the Republican vice presidential candidate, but the liberal continued by complaining in a second Tweet that "the media goes ga ga over whatever she says. Palin is often wrong. She's a former governor who quit her job rather than tough it out." During his third Tweet, Martin added, "She holds no position; wants no accountability; and wants to sling arrows and then gets angry when called on the carpet 4 her nonsense." The CNN personality completed his rant by comparing the Republican to the curvy celebrity most infamous for making a pornographic video: "At the end of the day, Sarah Palin is the Kim Kardashian of Politics. She's a celebrity with no real purpose other than picking up a check."
CNN's Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer endorsed Matt Taibbi's bashing of conservatives on their Monday program. Spitzer marveled over the Rolling Stone editor's "brilliant" label of the Tea Party as "15 million pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid." This was the second straight evening that the network brought on an anti-conservative author to promote their latest work.
The two hosts devoted 12 straight and uninterrupted minutes during the first half of the 8 pm Eastern hour to their interview of Taibbi. Parker mentioned Taibbi's new book, "Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids and a Long Con that is Breaking America," in her introduction of the author and labeled it "a scathing and often hilarious account of the financial crisis...it's hard to make the financial crisis funny, but you did that successfully." She continue by quoting one of the writer's attacks on Sarah Palin: "I want to read you a description that you wrote of Sarah Palin. You called her a 'narcissistic money-grubbing hack.'"
After laughing at this label, the pseudo-conservative writer sought her guest's take on Palin: "She's got the Republican establishment scared to death, so there must be something more to Sarah than just that, huh?" Taibbi replied with some guarded praise of the former Alaska governor, along with the Tea Party movement:
UPDATE (1:52 PM) - Check below the fold if you're convinced this is hyperbole.
Dylan Ratigan seemed to tacitly endorse violent revolution on his show Monday. He hosted far-left radical Ted Rall who, when he's not comparing "idiot" American soldiers to suicide bombers, is lauding the necessity of political violence. Ratigan opened the segment by claiming the nation may need "more drastic solutions" to our problems than political action.
"Are things in our country so bad that it might actually be time for a revolution?" Ratigan asked. "The answer obviously is yes," he added, and "the only question is how to do it."
At no point in the segment did Ratigan reject his guest's wild notion that violence is the only possible remedy to our political problems.
"CNN Newsroom" host Don Lemonis miffed at the GOP -- and he let CNN Senior Political Editor Mark Preston know it on Sunday night. When Preston noted that since the Republicans are once again in the majority in the House of Representatives, they're going to have "to come up and they have learn how to govern," Lemon responded that "They have to learn how the answer the question. Because one person said, was talking about his run for president and the interviewer kept asking him, what are the specifics. Well, my family and I are going to take the Christmas time and pray. I wanted to throw stuff at the television." Mere moments before, Lemon indicated to Preston that he had watched every single Sunday morning talk show and "was so frustrated with these (Republican) guys. Like, why aren't they answering the questions."
CNN's Don Lemon tossed softballs at leftist writer Tim Wise on Sunday's Newsroom, mostly reading back excerpts from his latest column, which the anchor labeled a "withering rebuke of...the 'white right.'" Lemon even twice emphasized how Wise has apparently received death threats over the column, where he slammed "conservative old white people [who] have pretty much always been the bad guys."
The CNN anchor interviewed Wise for nearly eight minutes during a segment 10 minutes into the 7 pm Eastern hour. Lemon began with "withering rebuke" label and continued that the author "begins with a disclaimer that he is not referring to all white people, and that his essay is not anti-white. He says it is addressed to- quote, 'The white community that is right-wing.'" He then turned to his guest and seemed to compliment him before asking his first question: "I was actually- I have to be honest- a little bit stunned when I read this because your language is unusually rough and raw. We know that you tell it like it is. You called the election results a temper tantrum and you sound mad as hell....do you regret using any of this fiery rhetoric?"
Just after NBC News called Nevada for incumbent Democratic Senator Harry Reid, Meet the Press host David Gregory credited his victory to how “Tea Party-backed” Sharron Angle disrespected journalists, citing how she “made some very unwise decisions, namely, saying things like 'I'm not going to give any interviews until after I'm elected.'” Gregory contended: “I don't think that inspires a great deal of confidence in independent voters, or any voter for that matter.”
Later in the 1:00 AM EDT hour, anchor Brian Williams asked NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker to explain “what's wrong” with the promise by Republican candidates to cut spending? Whitaker channeled a liberal argument in favor of hiking taxes, declaring “the fact is right now the Republican numbers do not add up” since House Republicans want to roll back “spending to 2008 levels, which gets you about a $100 billion, but extending all the tax cuts. And the Congressional Budget Office has said that ends up adding $270 billion, at least, to the deficit.”
Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw threw a bit of wet blanket on the Tea Party's big night, after quoting Tea Party activist Matt Kibbe's declaration that "the people want less from their federal government," Brokaw skeptically added: "We've heard that before, when it bumps up against reality of closing a base or shutting down an agricultural substation...it gets pretty tough to do."
This led current Nightly News anchor Brian Williams to cast Tea Partiers as know-nothing hypocrites, as he added: "Reminds me of the signs at more than one rally this past season: 'Get the government out of my Social Security. Get government out of my Medicare." Williams then went on to cite how Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi mocked Tea Party attendees as he had reported "many people he has met at rallies had been recipients of government."
The following exchange was aired during NBC News' live election night coverage on November 2:
HBO's Bill Maher spouted his usual anti-conservative and anti-Fox News rhetoric on Monday's Situation Room on CNN, attacking the Tea Party movement as "teabaggers [who] are all carrying the banner...of corporatist America" and accusing CNN's competitor of "filling people with misinformation." Maher also labeled Republican voters "far right" and a "fringe group of people who are very forceful."
The left-wing HBO host appeared for two segments starting at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour. Anchor Wolf Blitzer began with an election-related question: "Let's talk a little bit about what's going to happen tomorrow. A lot of Democrats are worried. They're sitting on a potential political disaster tomorrow. Here's the question to you: why? What happened?"
Maher actually first blamed the Democrats: "Well- I mean, partly, it is the Democrats' fault. They don't do very good at bragging about their achievements. This Congress, which I'm sure is going to be tarred as a do-nothing Congress, actually was one of the more successful congresses in recent memory, probably not since Lyndon Johnson in 1965 has a Congress achieved so much." The guest predictably cited health care "reform" and financial reforms as his examples.
Blitzer followed-up by asking, "So is it just a matter of communications?" Maher launched his attack on Fox News in his reply:
CNN led their hour-long documentary "Boiling Point: Inside the Tea Party," which aired on Saturday and Sunday, with the regular accusation from liberals that racism is "running rampant" in the Tea Party movement. Host Shannon Travis highlighted the NAACP's resolution, disgraced former Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams's self-described "foolish satire," and played up two racially-charged signs.
Before raising the racism charge, Travis raised another liberal stereotype perpetuated by the mainstream media: the angry Tea Party: "This is what you know about the Tea Party Movement: rallies like these, angry protesters demanding that lawmakers spend less of your money and spend more time adhering to the Constitution." After stating that "rallies like these across the country, don't tell the full picture" and that "there's a lot you don't know about the Tea Party movement," the CNN host stopped briefly to give some poll numbers on the partisan breakdown of the movement before proceeding to the race issue:
One day before what many say will be an historic election; CNBC appears to finally be embracing one of the most famous moments in the network’s history: A Feb. 19, 2009 “rant heard around the world” by CME Group floor reporter Rick Santelli, which is credited by many for igniting the Tea Party movement.
Throughout the day on Nov. 1, CNBC aired a 30-second spot encouraging viewers to tune into its network for election night coverage. The promo said to tune to CNBC “when the economy is topic A” and concluded with part of Santelli’s famous rant, “President Obama, are you listening?”
Journalists are practically giddy in anticipation of this weekend's Jon Stewart rally on the National Mall. The Rally's staff has recieved more than 1,000 requests for press credentials for the event. Only 400 were given out.
Those statistics underscore just how much the media loves Stewart's leftist message (and it is a leftist message). For some perspective, consider that the September 12, 2010 Tea Party on the Mall received roughly 150 requests for press credentials, according to FreedomWorks, which sponsored the event.
“We’re so eager to promote ourselves with the smartest take on how President Obama and the Democrats got themselves in this pickle that we haven’t done a good job explaining the stakes,” Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter despaired in a piece in the latest issue of the magazine in which he didn’t even pretend to be a journalist and delivered a political activist’s screed, “Why the Midterms Matter: The GOP's agenda has to be stopped.”
Alter, author of the sycophantic book earlier this year, The Promise: President Obama, Year One, feared a dire fate if Republicans gain more power: “The Tea Party will transform itself from an insurgency into the driving force within the GOP” and “extremist Senators like Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn will move from being irritants on the fringe to players at the center of our politics.” He concluded by scolding those who won’t come out to vote for Democrats:
A right-wing Republican takeover of Congress and state capitals isn’t something to accept with indifference. Midterms matter, and voters tempted to skip this election should have their heads examined.
When seeking political neutrality in a discussion of the Tea Party movement, it's probably best to avoid including - let alone promoting - a reporter who consistently suggests that racism undergirds the movement.
But that is exactly what the State Department did in selecting New York Times reporter Kate Zernike to brief foreign journalists on the Tea Party last Friday.
Bob Schieffer attempted a nice little gotcha on Sunday when he asked former Bush adviser Karl Rove, "Have you come on 'Face the Nation' this morning and said for the record that Rush Limbaugh takes things out of context?"
The man commonly referred to as The Architect didn't take the bait (video follows with transcript and commentary):