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:
Bill Maher on Friday said Barack Obama's problem is "he's only half black." He'd be a better president "if he was fully black."
In the season premiere of HBO's "Real Time," while chatting with former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich, the host said, "Isn't Obama's big problem is that he does everything half-assed? Maybe it's because he's only half black."
Maher continued, "If he was fully black, I'm telling you, he would be a better president."
As if that wasn't enough, "There's a white man in him holding him back because everything is half-assed" (video follows with transcript and commentary, file photo):
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux led Friday's Situation Room by labeling the social conservative Value Voters Summit a "traditional showcase for hardcore conservatives." Later in the same segment, senior political analyst Gloria Borger stated that the Tea Party movement was "anti-health care" and bizarrely referred to Ronald Reagan as "the most secular president we've known in our lifetime."
Malveaux used her "hardcore conservatives" line as she introduced a segment on Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's speech to the Summit. Just before this, she stated how "some are calling her [O'Donnell] the new poster girl for the Tea Party phenomenon" and later continued that she apparently "preached a new kind of gospel at the Values Voter Summit: the Tea Party's anti-government mantra."
Closing out the "Media Mash" segment on the September 16 edition of his eponymous "Hannity" program, the Fox News host asked for NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell's reaction to NBC's Meredith Vieira telling House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that the Bush tax cuts "didn't succeed" and asking him "what's so good about them?":
Memo to Meredith [Vieira]: You can have a debate about what future tax cuts might or might not result in but a record is a record. Under George Bush, 8 million jobs were created with his tax cuts. With Ronald Reagan's tax cuts there were 20 million jobs created. We've done nothing but lose jobs with Barack Obama with the stimulus package. Truth is truth, facts are facts. Don't go on television saying it didn't work. It did work!
The economy-boosting, jobs-creating benefits of across-the-board tax cuts are not all the media are not telling the truth about. The Media Research Center founder and president also addressed how the media, particularly ABC's Christiane Amanpour are smearing everyday Americans as "Islamophobic" [Listen to MP3 audio here or download WMV video here]:
New York Times "Tea Party" correspondent Kate Zernike again insisted that the main victims of Tea Party enthusiasm will be, not Democrats, but mainstream Republicans, in Thursday's "G.O.P. Gets a Partner, But Who Will Lead?"
It's basically a snapshot of the growing conflict between Sen. Jim DeMint, who has pushed conservative Tea Party candidates, and Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, whose job it is to elect Republicans.
A photo caption over a picture of DeMint reads: "Senator Jim DeMint has embraced the ideological purity that characterize many candidates with Tea Patty backing."
If ever there was proof that the Tea Party and the Republican Party do not necessarily go hand in hand, it is Christine O'Donnell's victory over the establishment in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware.
So what happens now, with the primary season ending, and the Tea Party having defined it? Does the Tea Party remake the G.O.P. in its image, staging a "hostile takeover," as Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, the libertarian advocacy group, urged activists rallying outside the Capitol last weekend to do? Or will the Republican Party co-opt the Tea Party, as Trent Lott, a former leader of the Senate Republicans, said it must?
The embodiment of this question might be Senator Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who has made himself and his Senate Conservatives Fund a kind of Tea Party Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Sitting at the intersection of the Republican Party and the Tea Party, Mr. DeMint could be a model for how the two might co-exist -- or an example of how the drive for ideological purity could turn the Republicans into a niche party.
On Sunday, NewsBusters contributor and Media Research Center video producer Bob Parks attended the 9/12 rally in Washington, D.C., where he interviewed some black attendees to bust the liberal media meme that the Tea Party movement is a practically all-white affair.
The panic over a looming conservative takeover of Congress in November is becoming palpable in today's liberal media.
Take Thursday's editorial in the New York Times for example:
For both parties and certainly the broad swath of independent voters, defeating this new crop of Tea Party nominees has become imperative to avoid the sense of national embarrassment from each divisive and offensive utterance, each wacky policy proposal.
Yep. According to the Gray Lady, defeating Tea Party nominees is imperative to avoid national embarrassment.
[Update, Wednesday, 11:15 pm Eastern: The Tweet by O'Brien apparently "doesn't exist" any more. A screen cap of the Tweet in question can be seen after the jump.]
Former CNN anchor Miles O'Brien (no relation to current CNN special correspondent Soledad O'Brien) slammed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell as a "Tea Party nutbag" in a Tweet on Wednesday evening. O'Brien continued that he "forget [sic] her ignorant nonsense," referring to her defense of the creationist viewpoint during a 1996 appearance on his former network.
O'Brien, who was let go by CNN in 2008 after they closed their science unit, linked to an article on the left-wing website Talking Points Memo after his attack on O'Donnell. The article, by Eric Kleefeld, highlighted an item by Dan Amira of New York magazine, who "dug up" the Republican's March 1996 appearance with O'Brien and Dr. Michael McKinney of the University of Tennessee-Chattanoga. During the panel discussion, O'Donnell defended the creationism. Kleefeld labeled it as just another part of the social conservative's "religious right work," citing her apparent "long career in anti-sex and anti-masturbation activism."
CNN's Rick Sanchez thinks that Ronald Reagan wouldn't even be conservative enough for certain members of the Tea Party.
Sanchez discussed Tuesday's Republican Senate Primary in Delaware on his Monday news hour. He criticized the Tea Party's opposition to GOP establishment candidate Congressman Mike Castle as over-the-top, and claimed Castle is "respectable" and "conservative enough" for the region. Castle has a lifetime ACU rating of 52.
Tea Party members in Delaware have largely supported the more conservative Christine O'Donnell. Sanchez believes O'Donnell gives the GOP less of a chance to win in the general election.
"But you know what's interesting about this," Sanchez continued, "I mean if you put this in perspective, Ronald Reagan would be taken out of the mix by some of these more far-Right Tea Party folks. Richard Nixon would never have become the President of the United States."
UK Telegraph columnist Janet Daley blasted the BBC on Tuesday for treating the tea party movement "as if it were a cross between the Klu [sic] Klux Klan and the German neo-fascist brigade."
While Daley's piece is a stirring and hard-hitting indictment of the BBC's coverage, she seems to believe that its disdainful approach to the tea party movement stems from a failure to understand the American political tradition. But by that logic, American reporters, who presumably do understand that tradition, would refrain from such coverage.
Let's see: Nazi comparisons? Check. KKK comparisons? Check. The fact is the American media elite are more akin to their British counterparts than to the tea party protesters they all cover. Liberal elitism knows no borders.
If you thought media coverage of the Aug. 28 "Restoring Honor" rally hosted in Washington D.C. by Fox News host Glenn Beck seemed like just another attack on conservatives, you're not alone. As noted by the Daily Caller's Jim Treacher, much of the coverage had a common thread: describing the crowd as "overwhelmingly white."
While the term was certainly used in coverage of Beck's rally, it's not a new label. "Overwhelmingly white" is a prime example of the media's groupthink on Beck, Tea Parties, and the conservative movement in general. Virtually every major "mainstream" media outlet has used the phrase in just the past year to describe conservative events.
But even as the media criticize Tea Party and other conservative rallies for an apparent lack of diversity, they struggle to bring minority voices into their own operations.
All three broadcast networks have described the Tea Parties as "overwhelmingly white." So have CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the Agence France Presse, The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, National Journal and US News & World Report. Many of those organizations are the very ones the news industry discusses as having failed to make diversity goals for staff.
Those crack researchers at MSNBC have done it again!
Last week, hosts Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow both did stories about a blogger whose travel instructions for folks going to Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally got posted at the Maine Tea Party Patriots website.
Included were warnings about what stops to avoid on the DC Metro.
Predictably, the liberal blogosphere had a field day with this citing it as another "example" of racism within the Tea Party.
There's only one problem: the culprit, a Washington, D.C.-based realtor, is a major contributor to the Democrat Party as well as gay rights groups.
But before we get there, here's what Rachel Maddow reported Monday with the help of the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson (videos follow with transcripts and commentary, h/t Seton Motley):
Chris Matthews this weekend actually invited a real conservative on to the syndicated program bearing his name, and what transpired was a thing of beauty.
National Review's Reihan Salam did such a fabulous job of educating Matthews and his guests - especially Time's Joe Klein - that I imagine him quickly becoming a NewsBusters favorite.
The initial topic of discussion was Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally scheduled to occur after this was taped.
Between Matthews' disrespectful introduction, and Klein calling the conservative talk show host "a paranoid lunatic," one had the feeling this would have devolved into a full on hate-fest if not for Salam's presence.
Fortunately, the National Reviewer was there to set the record straight (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):
Republicans are “exotic” and “extreme,” and against science too, CBS’s Bob Schieffer contended on Sunday’s Face the Nation. “You have also taken some fairly controversial, some would say very extreme, positions,” Schieffer lectured Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, citing “you want to phase out Medicare, you want to privatize Social Security.” Miller countered: “I would suggest to you that if one thinks that the Constitution is extreme then you’d also think that the founders are extreme.”
Next, picking up on Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s claim Democrats are “are centrist” while Republicans “are really off on the right wing fringe,” Schieffer pressed Republican Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour “about that,” highlighting Miller’s “controversial stands” before asserting:
Isn't that going to make it harder for some of these Republican candidates to get elected because down in Kentucky you have Rand Paul, who’s got the nomination for the Senate there, talking about, well, maybe we ought to rethink the Civil Rights Acts of '64 and '65. You've got Joe Buck, who won the nomination up in Colorado, who’s talking about bicycle paths being a, might lead to UN control or something other. It seems to me that you do have kind of an exotic crew out there this time.
Barbour shot back: “Well Bob, the administration and the Democratic Congress have taken the biggest lurch to the left in policy in American history.”
CBS and the rest of the MSM have decided the Tea Party movement is racist and hostile to non-whites, and it’s a mantra they’re going to illustrate whenever they see an opportunity. Reporter Nancy Cordes saw a “nearly all-white crowd” at Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, DC, as she (at least an off-camera female voice) demanded of two black women who weren't afraid to attend: “I'm noticing that there aren't a lot of minorities here today. Why do you think that is?” One of the women shot back: “They're probably over there with Al Sharpton.” (MP3 audio)
In her story for Saturday’s CBS Evening News, Cordes had a very specific attendee number: “According to a tally commissioned by CBS News, roughly 87,000 people gathered here at this event today, thronging both sides of the reflecting pool, stretching all the way to the World War II memorial. That's the largest gathering here on the mall since President Obama was inaugurated.”
NBC anchor Lester Holt was more generous with his crowd guesstimate (“tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands”) before he described the Beck rally as “steeped in patriotism, rooted in the nation's cultural divide and greeted by suspicion.”