CNN's new host Eliot Spitzer slammed the Tea Party movement on Tuesday's Parker-Spitzer: "I think that that piece of the Republican Party is vapid. It has no ideas....They're going to destroy our country." Spitzer also accused Tea Party members of forwarding a "Herbert Hoover vision of government...saying, we want to take away the very pieces of government that created the middle class."
The former New York governor of "Client Number Nine" infamy launched his attack on the nascent political movement minutes into the 8 pm Eastern, as he and his co-host, Kathleen Parker, discussed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's new ad. After listing what he thought was positive about O'Donnell and her ad, Spitzer gave his "vapid" remark about the Tea Party and made his first mention of former President Hoover:
Since the Tea Party movement first captured America's attention in 2009, the media have gone apoplectic over some of the signs held by event attendees.
To give you an idea of the level of fascination, a Google search of the phrase "hate-filled Tea Party signs" produces 378,000 results.
With this in mind, as Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in the nation's capital approached, numerous press outlets hyperventilated in expectation of all kinds of offensive posters adorning the National Mall.
Sadly for the conservative despising media, such fears didn't come to fruition.
However, at Saturday's "One Nation" rally, numerous hate-filled signs did emerge:
Here's something you wouldn't expect to read in the New York Times: Republicans are better informed about political issues than blacks, Hispanics, and young people.
"Big-city liberals and their blogging buddies love to paint Tea Partiers as yokels with incoherent candidates and language-mauling signs," began Charles Blow's column Saturday.
"The unpleasant fact that these liberals rarely mention, and may not know, is that large swaths of the Democratic base, groups they need to vote in droves next month - blacks, Hispanics and young people - are far less civically literate than their conservative counterparts."
Advancing the Democratic-liberal effort to discredit Tea Party-favored candidates as unhinged cads, Thursday’s NBC Nightly News elevated a heated exchange, between New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and a reporter, into an excuse to denounce “mean” and “angry” candidates. “The mean season in politics gets nastier with charges of infidelity, something close to a fistfight and they're just getting started,” Brian Williams teased. “Tonight,” he soon relayed, “opponents of the GOP nominee for Governor of New York are saying he behaved like a thug in a piece of videotape that rocketed across the Internet today.”
Reporter Kelly O’Donnell asserted: “Carl Paladino has admitted his own infidelity and then just accused his opponent of cheating with no proof. That's what set off this fight. But the bigger picture,” she intoned, “is how many voters and candidates have been losing their cool. Anger management is not required or even expected this year.”
She proceeded to highlight how “in Maine this week, a candidate for Governor lashed out at the President.” Viewers then saw Web video, promoted by a left-wing blog, of Republican Paul LePage promising an audience: “You're going to be seeing a lot of me on the front page saying, ‘Governor LePage tells Obama to 'Go to Hell.'”
"What's the answer to the Tea Party racist question?"
Galloping into the 10 p.m. Eastern timeslot as the white knight of truth, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, host of "The Last Word," challenged left-wing writer Matt Taibbi on September 29 to answer this incisive question.
Eager to discuss the subject of his latest conservative hit-piece, Taibbi imparted the sort of thoughtful analysis viewers should expect from a Rolling Stone political reporter: "My answer is it's not so much about hating black people for these people, I think it's more about believing in this preposterous fantasy that white people are some kind of oppressed minority in the age of Obama."
After belittling the Tea Party for its "incredibly stupid" worldview, Taibbi pointed to the grassroots movement's "collective narcissistic" behavior as the source of its alleged stupidity. A seemingly entranced O'Donnell concurred with Taibbi's diagnosis, then invited the correspondent to press on:
As we near the midterm elections, left-wingers will be reading from the same tired playbook – the attempted marginalization of the Tea Party movement, but just more of it. But more and more, they are discovering the tactics are tougher to defend, as their side has their own fringe, loose-cannon elements.
KERNEN: I want to talk to you about something, later about -- you're calling Tea Party people wing nuts and fruit loops? RENDELL: Not all of them. KERNEN: Not all of them? You saw the president, the president basically said that most of them, most of the Tea Party “are directed and financed by powerful and special interests lobbies,” this is in the Journal today. That's most of them and the rest of them are bigots. So you're either directed by special interests … RENDELL: I don't believe it. KERNEN: Seventy-one percent of Republicans, according to this poll today in the Journal identify – so, you've just trashed the entire half of the country. CARUSO-CABRERA: He says slowly but surely, the GOP is taken over by whackos. RENDELL: There’s no question about that.
Lately the Fox News Channel’s overnight program “Red Eye” has offered a plethora of media criticism – much of it dead-spot on. Last week during this his “Gregalogue” segment, host Greg Gutfeld took on the so-called “Rally to Restore Sanity” offered up by Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
“So President Obama was just interviewed in Rolling Stone magazine -- that thinning pamphlet for our country's dwindling supply of pony-tailed pensioners,” Gutfeld said. “When asked about Fox News, this is what our Commander-in-Chief had to say.”
New York Times correspondent Thomas Friedman is clearly unhappy about the Tea Party, so much so that he considers the movement "not that important."
Instead, he envisions another group, "which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats," sitting silently out there in America waiting for the right leader to emerge.
If Arianna Huffington, an admitted “progressive,” announces she’s offering transportation to individuals that desire to participate in Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s “million moderate march,” can it really be described as “moderate?”
“We are getting a Huff Post bus. If there is anybody unsure how to get there, talk to me,” Huffington said. “[J]ust come to the Huffington Post, 560 Broadway in SoHo. The bus will be there. We’ll take you with us.”
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll didn’t come up with numbers pleasing to the NBC News staff, though Brian Williams, on Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, did his best to spin the findings as showing “there is really bad news if you're an incumbent officeholder of either party” and Chuck Todd insisted the public wants more from the elections than “just change [in] the color of the jerseys.”
Todd, however, couldn’t avoid reporting that “the change that voters want” includes 54 percent who “hope that this Tea Party enthusiasm in the Republican Party makes them a fiscally conservative party” and “54 percent want to see the repeal of health care.” Plus, “42 percent tell us” the Tea Party movement has “been a good thing” – more than twice as many as see it as a “bad thing.”
Unmentioned by Todd or Williams: Those pro-Tea Party/anti-ObamaCare numbers came from a polling sample dominated by MSM television news consumers. Question 36, in the PDF rundown of the survey, asked from which “television news sources do you get MOST of your information about politics and current events?” From the list offered, 35 percent said “broadcast network news, such as NBC, ABC, or CBS,” 16 percent named “the cable channel CNN” and 8 percent affirmed they rely on “the cable channel MSNBC.” That adds up to 59 percent, compared to 24 percent who cited “the cable channel Fox News.”
Interviewing David Axelrod on Sunday’s This Week, Christiane Amanpour asked him to explain why “people don't appreciate some of the amazing legislative agenda” that President Barack Obama has “accomplished,” then with Senator Mitch McConnell she denigrated Republican Senate candidates who are Tea Party favorites: “Are you not afraid that their somewhat, one would say, some might say bizarre statements, their sort of fringe quality might actually turn people off?” She also condescendingly demanded of McConnell: “What is Christine O'Donnell's qualification for actually governing? What is Sharron Angle's actual qualification for governing?”
In a third segment, she cued up Jordan’s Queen Rania to confirm “Islamophobia” mars America: “You've seen the reaction and the fallout from the Islamic center, but it goes broader than that. Do you see a sort of a dangerous Islamophobia in the United States?”
While she repeatedly pushed Axelrod about why Democrats were delaying a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts for “the middle class,” with McConnell she tried to discredit extending the tax rates for everyone, childishly describing how “there's also this huge thing that the people of the United States are worried about, and that is the deficit, and keeping the tax cuts will add trillions to that.”
George Will on Sunday gave a much-needed education to the entire "This Week" panel about how the Tea Party is moving the GOP in a positive direction that could alter politics in this nation for years to come.
As Christiane Amanpour and her Roundtable guests - Democrat strategist Donna Brazile, National Journal's Ron Brownstein, and Republican strategist Matthew Dowd - all fretted about the so-called Civil War brewing in the GOP, Will was once again the voice of reason.
"At the beginning of the year, the question was, will the Tea Party people play nicely with others and will they obey the rules of politics? Who's sort of not playing nicely?" asked Will.
"Mr. Crist starts losing the primary to a Tea Party favorite Rubio. He suddenly discovers that he's an independent and changes all his views overnight," he continued.
"Mrs. Murkowski loses a primary and suddenly discovers that she has a property right in her Senate seat and she's going to run as a write-in. Senator Bennett thought of that in Utah, Senator Castle in Delaware is thinking of a write-in candidate. Who are the extremists?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On the September 15 The View on ABC, co-host Joy Behar insisted that co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck was wrong to assert that taxes are set to increase in January as the two sparred over the issue. Behar: "It's not an increase, Elisabeth. It is not an increase." She soon added, "They are not, stop saying it's an increase because it's not." After Hasselbeck shot back, "Okay, we’ll talk in January," Behar continued, "The Democrats want to eliminate the tax cuts for the rich. That's all. Stop doing that."
Behar also exaggerated the anti-big government views of the Tea Party movement, claiming that members "don’t believe in any government at all, zero," and mocked activists for supposedly not realizing that Medicare and Social Security are run by the federal government. Behar: "They just don't believe in any government at all, zero. At the same time, it's fascinating about them, at the same time that they don't believe in any government, a lot of them are like, ‘Don't touch my Medicare.’ Well, what do you think that is? That's the schism within the Tea Party. Don't touch my Social Security. Get the government out of my house, you know, come on."
All three broadcast evening newscasts on Thursday covered the formal unveiling of the Republican ‘Pledge to America,’ a campaign document calling for the repeal of ObamaCare, no tax hikes and balanced budgets. CBS’s Nancy Cordes cast it as pro-Tea Party, “littered with references to the Constitution and promises to reduce the federal debt,” and Tea Party members as “grateful” for its policy prescriptions.
But ABC’s Jonathan Karl said the Pledge was “hardly a Tea Party manifesto. The 45-page document includes more photographs than specifics on spending cuts. No mention of controlling Social Security or Medicare. No mention of eliminating any federal departments. Not even a promise to eliminate earmarks or pork barrel spending.”
Karl even hit GOP Representative Mike Pence from the right: “There aren’t enough cuts in this thing that I see to get anywhere near a balanced budget.”
For the last several weeks there has been a debate raging over whether the grounds surrounding where the 9/11 attacks in Lower Manhattan are sacred and if it would be an appropriate place for an Islamic place of worship to be built. But if it isn’t appropriate, would it be an appropriate place for a Tea Party rally to be held? Possibly not.
But whether that’s the case or not, Newsweek’s David A. Graham would have you believe there will be a so-called “Election Day Tea Party rally” held at Ground Zero, led by former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, as an effort to shore up support for a 2012 presidential bid.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and guest Laura Ingraham on Sept. 23 highlighted the left's latest line of attack on Tea Parties: that they're crazy. Ingraham characterized the attacks as an attempt to distract from the liberal record and said the critique "doesn't work."
"As you may know, the Tea Party was racist for about six months as the far left tried to demonize the movement," O'Reilly said when introducing the broadcast's "Top Story" segment. "But now things have changed; the Tea Party is simply ‘crazy.'"
He showed clips from a report by the MRC's Culture and Media Institute illustrating liberal commentators and journalists attaching the "crazy" label to Tea Parties and Tea Party candidates like Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle and others.
Ingraham suggested "the critique doesn't work" because more Americans are in line with the Tea Party's views than with the liberal establishment.
“Tonight, free-market capitalism on the comeback trail,” Kudlow said on his Sept. 15 program. “That is one of the messages of the Tea Party power. We saw a lot of that power last night in the primaries. I tell you what folks, that Tea Party power, that free-market capitalist power is so totally bullish for the stock market.”
Six weeks before what could be a doomsday election for Democrats, the liberal media are taking every opportunity to belittle and discredit the Tea Party movement that’s fueling voter energy this year.
Media liberals with zero affection for the Republican establishment are suddenly acting like concerned parents. Ex-Clintonista George Stephanopoulos worried on ABC’s Good Morning America: “Is it a revolution that will bring the GOP to power, or a civil war that will bring them down?” Over on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric fretfully wondered if “moderate Republicans are becoming an endangered species?”
On Wednesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty revisited his anti-Sarah Palin obsession and somewhat predictably, grouped U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell with the former Alaska governor, stating it "feels like Sarah Palin all over again....O'Donnell has some big question marks on her resume, just like...Palin." Most of the viewer e-mails Cafferty read bashed the two politicians.
The commentator devoted his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary to the two Republican women. After his "feels like Sarah Palin all over again" line, Cafferty recounted O'Donnell's emergence on the national political scene, and wasted little time in outlining her negative similarities to Palin: "Suddenly, everybody can't seem to get enough of her. This is despite the fact that O'Donnell has some big question marks on her resume, just like Sarah Palin. She's come under fire for allegedly misusing campaign funds for personal expenses-just like Sarah Palin."
While it seems like so many of Jon Stewart's adoring fans in the media are elated to see a counter-Tea Party, not many have been willing to call this event what it is - an event to belittle people who are exercising their rights as citizens to protest their government.
"So last week Jon Stewart announced he was going to hold a rally of his own in Washington D.C., to restore reason, sanity or whatever," Gutfeld said. "[N]ow, it's a cute idea - not as good as a gay bar next to a mosque [something Gutfeld had proposed in response to the "Ground Zero Mosque"] - but it's an appropriate, hipster response to the tea parties and Glenn Beck's thing. It's exactly the thing that the bald nerdy guy in glasses from The New York Times subscription commercial might attend and feel totally good about himself afterward - which raises an interesting question: would Stewart have announced his event if those other events had a decidedly liberal tilt?"
Kate Zernike, New York Times reporter and author of "Boiling Mad," appeared on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" September 10 to discuss her book (hat tip NB commenters TE and SimJim). Around fourteen minutes in, a caller argued that the 1968 campaign for president of Southern segregationist governor George Wallace marked the real roots of the Tea Party movement. Zernike agreed, skipping over concerns about encroaching government and big spending while adding that in the movement there is a feeling of "Us vs. them," with "them" being the poor, blacks, and illegal immigrants.
Kate Zernike: "Thanks for calling. Actually, you will see, you will find a chapter in my book that does goes into the history and actually starts earlier in 1964 with the Goldwater campaign and I think it does lead into Wallace. But I do have a chapter in the book about the history of the Tea Party movement and as I said earlier, we do see roots of this not only in the George Wallace campaign but also in the tax revolts of the seventies and late, and the early-eighties."
ABC, CBS and NBC all ran full stories Monday night on how an old video clip showed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell talking about how, as a high-schooler, she had “dabbled into witchcraft.” CBS, however, used O’Donnell to pivot to marveling at how other Tea Party-affiliated Senate candidates remain viable despite what CBS considers exotic views.
“Christine O'Donnell's witchcraft comments may have spooked some Republican leaders,” Nancy Cordes related on the CBS Evening News, “but her fellow Tea Party Senate candidates are living prove that unusual assertions are not necessarily campaign killers.” Cordes elaborated with some contestable summaries of positions expressed:
Take Kentucky's Rand Paul who questioned the historic civil rights act, but is still tied with the Democrat in a recent poll. Nevada's Sharron Angle is neck and neck with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, even after she advocated an armed insurrection against the government. And Utah attorney Mike Lee is crushing his Democratic rival even though Lee favors dismantling Social Security and eliminating unemployment benefits. Priorities he shares with Alaska's Joe Miller.
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday asserted that the White House wants to "deliver" the message that the Tea Party is too extreme.
He then highlighted 11-year-old comments, asking Representative Mike Pence about Christine O'Donnell's past comments on witchcraft: "She says it was just a little high school fun. Is that enough?"
In a 1999 appearance on Politically Incorrect, O'Donnell told host Bill Maher that she dabbled in witchcraft and dated a Satanist. An ABC graphic hyped, "Witchcraft Talk Haunts Candidate: O'Donnell Asked to Explain Remarks."
George Will on Sunday refuted Peter Beinart's claim that former governor Sarah Palin is the Republicans' George McGovern.
As NewsBusters previously reported, Beinart appearing on ABC's "This Week" claimed the GOP today resembles the Democrat Party between 1968 and 1972 when McGovern took it over and moved it so far to the left that it no longer represented the views of average Americans.
This ended up harming the Democrats in the long run leading Beinart to conclude, "The Republicans will do great in 2010, but I think Sarah Palin is really the Republicans' George McGovern."
Will smartly responded (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Tina Brown, the founder and editor of the online publication the "Daily Beast," said Sunday that conservative talk show host Glenn Beck "has become sort of the white Malcolm X."
Chatting with Howard Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Brown said of Beck, "I think that he's a fascinating demagogue, actually."
She continued, "It's white racial politics, in a sense, because he's really saying -- a lot of his message is, you know, that Obama is a racist."
And continued, "[Beck] talks about God, but when you drill down to what he's actually saying, he calls [Obama] a Nazi and socialist who's taking over the country. I mean, his language is extremely inflammatory" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Wednesday, CBS’s Bob Schieffer contended the rise of Tea Party candidates “is very much like 1964” when the Republican Party nominated Barry Goldwater who “was far to the right of most of the people in his party, and they lost in a landslide.” On Sunday morning, another liberal media thinker moved ahead eight years to forward George McGovern’s 1972 Democratic debacle as the proper analogy: “Sarah Palin is really the Republicans' George McGovern.” (So, does that make Barack Obama the modern day Richard Nixon?)
On ABC’s This Week, when host Christiane Amanpour wondered if the Tea Party is “a fad” or “something much deeper?”, Peter Beinart, former top editor of The New Republic and now a senior political writer for The Daily Beast, as well as an associate professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York, asserted:
The Tea Party is now the Republican Party. I mean I think what we're seeing in the Republican Party is something akin to what happened to the Democratic Party between 1968 and 1972 in which the forces of George McGovern took over the Democratic Party, overthrew the Democratic Party establishment and moved it substantially to the left.
For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: Sarah Palin and Rand Paul were Judge Napolitano's guests on Saturday's "Freedom Watch" on FBN. First part below (relevant section at 5:20), rest available here:
Charles Krauthammer on Friday had a heated debate with the Washington Post's Colby King over what the Tea Party stands for as well as who its leader is.
As the panel on PBS's "Inside Washington" discussed Delaware Republican senatorial nominee Christine O'Donnell's surprising victory Tuesday, the conversation naturally gravitated towards the conservative movement reshaping the face of politics.
"They [the Tea Party] have a litmus test that goes into being right to life, social conservative issues that they're strong on," said King.
Krauthammer pounced, "Look, I hate to say this, but I think that is completely wrong."
The battle was on (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Like her reporting for the Times, "Boiling Mad" covers the movement from a mostly hostile perspective that only intermittently becomes something like empathy when she's talking to one of the invariably pleasant Tea Party citizens themselves.
Behind the (of course) red-as-a-Red State-cover lies a mere 194 pages of text, not including a 33-page reprint of an old, biased Times poll on the Tea Party. While not wholly a notebook dump, there's little new, and Zernike evinces little sympathy or feel for conservative concerns. Her expertise is instead finding racism everywhere she looks in Tea Party land.
Even such benign conservative boilerplate as opposition to the minimum wage is racially suspect in Zernike's eyes, as proven in her dispatch for the Times criticizing Glenn Beck's gathering on the National Mall on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's March on Washington: