Not that we needed a study to tell us this, but according to one conducted by a UCLA grad student, media coverage of Tea Party rallies has dramatically overrepresented the presence of racist or other offensive signs there.
According to the Washington Post, which laudably reported on the study today, UCLA grad student Emily Ekins found that "media coverage of tea party rallies over the past year have focused so heavily on the more controversial signs that it has contributed to the perception that such content dominates the tea party movement more than it actually does."
Ekins, who, it should be noted, is a former intern at the libertarian Cato Institute, actually attended the September 12 rally (imagine that) and kept a tally of the types of signs she saw there:
As it's grown in influence and power, the Tea Party movement is increasingly being attacked by fearful liberals looking for ways to paint it as racist. One of their favorite lines of late is that the desire to "take the country back" is actually veiled bigotry, even a call to return to institutionalized racism. Considering how many liberals used this phrase during the Bush 43 administration, however, this is yet another case of media liberals throwing stones from a glass house.
"We're talking about the extreme portions of the tea party movement and they're overwhelmingly white. Those are the folks that are saying I want my country back," Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart said on today's "Morning Joe". "And it does have that tinge of I want my country back from them." The word racism was never mentioned, but check out the video below the fold. The implication was clear.
No word yet on whether Capehart and every other media personality to parrot this line of attack also think racism animates Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, James Carville, Paul Begala, Nation editor in chief Katrina vanden Heuvel, and libtalker Thom Hartmann. All have used the phrase "take our country back" or some form of it in electoral rallying cries (see details below the fold).
Do you have your John Boehner Halloween costume yet? I know it's not flying off the shelves of your nearest costume headquarters, but you'd never know that listening to President Barack Obama and those who exist to keep the Democratic Party in power.
After Obama's recent attempts to demonize the pro-life Republican Ohio congressman -- and presumptive House Speaker, after the midterms -- the pro-abortion feminist group EMILY's List has hit the trail, and perhaps your favorite liberal gal's Facebook page, looking to make even the sound of Boehner's name chill-inducing enough to make you vote Democratic. "Don't let John Boehner and Republicans turn back the clock," their "John Boehner's America" website implores -- indicating that this chronically dissatisfied interest group can't even come up with new pickup lines. In a speech to the Women's National Democratic Club, EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock announced: "John Boehner can only take the speaker's gavel from Nancy Pelosi by defeating the Democratic women you and I have worked so hard to elect. And by discouraging women voters so much that they stay home on Nov. 2."
And with that, the president of EMILY's List, a political action committee that exists to elect supporters of legal abortion to political office, made clear she's not listening to what Americans are telling politicians. She's taking her November strategy from the president, and focusing like a laser on making a pro-life Ohio congressman from humble roots this year's bogeyman.
On Monday's Parker-Spitzer, CNN's Kathleen Parker picked up where her co-host Eliot Spitzer left off on Friday, bashing conservatives as "fringe elements" inside the Republican Party. Parker continued the Tea Party movement was the result of the GOP "catering" to such elements and that "the kooks have come home to roost."
The pseudo-conservative columnist returned to her old habit of attacking conservatives during a panel discussion with Reason magazine's Nick Gillespie and NPR contributor John Ridley minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Gillespie criticized how both Republicans and Democrats handled the past decade: "It's really awful, and we had- you know, six years of Republican rule, which was awful and disastrous on every level, and everything since then has been equally bad." The writer continued with a commentary on the phenomenon of Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell selection in Delaware:
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and questioned the ability of tea party candidates to be effective in office: "...when it's time to govern, can anger govern? Or better yet, how about this one, if a tug-of-war starts between the tea party folk and the mainstream Republicans, who's going to win that tug-of-war?" [Audio available here]
Smith played up potential division in the GOP in a previous question: "...a very interesting conundrum for the Republicans....tea party supporters themselves...84% say there is a lot or some difference between them and Republicans. This is not going to be an easy thing to fold in these folks once they get in office."
In response to Smith's "anger" question, Huckabee observed: "Political parties are to serve people, not to lord over them. The Democrats are in trouble because they just went ahead and did what they wanted to do and recklessly and irresponsibly disregarded their bosses."
It’s been more than six months since the left accused Tea Party protesters of calling members of the Congressional Black Caucus “racial epithets” while they were walking to the Capitol to cast their historic votes for health care reform.
Despite the fact no video or audio (until now) has surfaced, showing any Tea Party protester in the act of racially slurring elected officials, and despite the fact that Andrew Breitbart has offered $100,000 to anyone who could provide that proof, liberals continue to perpetuate the false accusation and the media has never retracted and/or apologized for their slanderous accusations.
Eliot Spitzer returned to attacking the Tea Party and their allies on Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, lamenting that people "kind of from the fringe" like Christine O'Donnell "seem to be taking over the Republican Party." Guest Bernard-Henri Levy also joined in the Tea Party bashing, labeling the movement "really crazy" and insulted Sarah Palin as being less "American" than President Obama.
The new CNN program led the 8 pm Eastern hour with a replay of correspondent Jim Acosta's interview of Delaware Republican Senate candidate O'Donnell, which first aired earlier in the day. Once the interview finished, the former New York governor launched into his lamentation of the supposed takeover of the GOP, and invoked a past failed Republican presidential candidate as he continued:
SPITZER: Why there are so many folks like her [Christine O'Donnell] who seem to be taking over the Republican Party? I mean, this is not Bob Dole's Republican Party anymore- thoughtful, serious people. This (sic) is people who are kind of- I hate to say it, but kind of from the fringe.
While the "media will wade into a Tea Party event with hundreds of thousands of people looking for that one brain-dead Lyndon LaRouche follower" who says something asinine that they can plaster "all over the news," they have ignored the insane rhetoric coming from featured speakers at last Saturday's "One Nation Working Together" rally, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told viewers of the October 7 edition of "Hannity."
Appearing on last night's 9 p.m. Eastern program for the popular recurring "Media Mash" segment, the Media Research Center quoted the extreme rhetoric of musician Harry Belafonte, which was ignored by the mainstream media:
Despite a new CBS poll showing low approval numbers for President Obama, at the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith emphasized weak numbers for the tea party: "...most Americans think President Obama is not living up to their expectations. But, they don't know if the tea party is an answer to the problem."
Smith later declared: "...less than a month before the midterm elections, there's a lot of voter uncertainty about the tea party movement." Correspondent Ben Tracy then reported: "...most Americans haven't made up their minds about the growing tea party movement. The rest are nearly evenly split in their views." A headline on-screen read: "Voter Frustration; CBS News Poll: Not Good News for Obama or Tea Party."
In concluding his report, Tracy remarked on how according to another poll finding, Sarah Palin "hasn't won over the country." He touted that "When asked if Palin would make an effective president, only 22% say yes. 64%, no, including nearly half [45%] of Republicans." Only then did Tracy finally mention the numbers for Obama: "66% Of Americans view him as an average or poor president, while another 31% say his backing of a candidate running for office will actually be a detriment." Tracy observed: "...the two biggest names in the respective parties may actually be something to avoid come election day."
Following Tracy's report, Smith talked to St. Louis conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch about the poll and proclaimed: "...while people are certainly aware of the tea party, the vast middle in America is not exactly running toward it. They certainly seem to be moving away from the President, but they're not running toward the tea party. They're still sitting on the fence."
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:
Kate Zernike, the New York Times's Tea Party reporter, can add another scalp to her collection. This one belongs to ‘obscure' Nobel Prize-winning economist Freidrich Hayek and his wacky theories like "rule of law."
"Once-obscure texts by dead writers" such as Hayek, wrote Zernike, are full of "long-dormant ideas" and strange arguments like Hayek's claim, as summarized by Zernike, that "government that intervened in the economy would inevitably intervene in every aspect of its citizens' lives." Who would believe that?
Hayek, meanwhile, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974 and is widely considered to be one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century. But Zernike just can't get over his radical views, principally that he advocates "a return to the principles of Austrian economics" and "the rule of law." I know, real wingnut stuff.
Is Palin bashing a pre-requisite for an appearance on the new Parker-Spitzer show? Aaron Sorkin referred to Palin as an ‘idiot' and ‘jaw-droppingly incompetent' on Monday's show. And now, Tuesday's show featured Oliver Stone calling Palin a ‘moron'.
Kathleen Parker asks Stone about the prospect of making a movie about Sarah Palin, and he uses this as a launching point for a PDS rant.
Parker: Can you see making a movie about Sarah Palin? Is she movie fodder? I would think ...
Stone: It's a bad idea because I think you're already empowering her. She's a moron in my opinion. She doesn't say anything.
He wasn't nearly content to rest on those insults however (clip below)...
On Sunday, New York Times labor-beat reporter Steven Greenhouse attended the left-wing “One Nation” rally for “Liberal Groups rally in Washington, Offering a Challenge to the Tea Party.” Unusually, Greenhouse led off with a specific (and rather generous) crowd estimate of “tens of thousands,” something the paper was unwilling to do for larger rallies held in D.C. by the Tea Party and talk show host Glenn Beck. (Kate Zernike and Carl Hulse referred to the crowd at Beck's rally as "enormous" at the top of an August 29 story.)
The Associated Press wasn’t as impressed as Greenhouse with the "One Nation" crowd size, finding only “Thousands of people” and admitting: “While the Beck rally stretched well down the National Mall, Saturday's event was shaping up to be far smaller, with sparse groups lingering around the reflecting pool and other monuments.”
Reason.com has comparison photos that, with some caveats, show a vastly larger crowd for Beck’s August 28 rally than for the “One Nation” rally on Saturday.
Here’s Greenhouse’s snappy lead:
Tens of thousands of union members, environmentalists and peace activists rallied at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, seeking to carry on the message of jobs and justice that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. trumpeted at a rally at the same site 47 years ago.
What do Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, a domestic terrorist who was developing a nuclear weapon, and Tea Party activists concerned about lavish government spending have in common? Nothing, unless you're a newly-minted cable news anchor with a liberal agenda.
Interviewing a Time magazine writer who conducted an in-depth investigation into right-wing militias, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on the September 30 "Last Word" tried to draw a parallel between the reported resurgence of extreme militia groups and the rise of the Tea Party.
"The surge in recruits to what could be the training ground of our next Timothy McVeigh parallels the rise of the Tea Party and includes at least one man who had serious plans to kill the president by going nuclear," warned O'Donnell, before enlisting the help of Barton Gellman, author of "Locked and Loaded: The Secret World of Extreme Militias," to connect the dots.
Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart argued against Maher after the Real Time host linked conservative protesters to images of President Obama with a Hitler moustache, and went on to recount his own observations of left-wing protesters depicting conservatives with Hitler moustaches. This portion of show could be seen on the Web site during the Overtime portion of the show.
Breitbart also recalled the case of conservative activist Kenneth Gladney being physically attacked and called by a racial epithet by left-wing SEIU members, and his own experience of being called "gay" by protesters on the left.
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Friday, September 24, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO:
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.”
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 terrorist group bombs a police funeral? It must be some "patriots" upset about health care reform and our black president, or something.
That, at least, is what some viewers took away from the season premiere of CBS's hit show "CSI". The episode starred teen pop star Justin Bieber as "a domestic terrorist with Tea Party leanings," in the words of the New York Times, implicated in the bombing of a Las Vegas police officer's funeral.
In the show, a cell phone used to trigger the bomb is traced back to a group of "patriots" - those government-hating extremists the Southern Poverty Law Center keeps warning us are on the verge of waging violent revolution - that are, according to some viewers (including the Times, apparently), crude portrayals of Tea Party protesters.
At the top of the 8PM ET hour on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante touted President Obama's comments about the midterm elections in a recent interview: "[He] told Rolling Stone magazine that for those people not to come out, those so-called 'surge voters,' would be 'inexcusable and irresponsible'....'people need to shake off this lethargy and buck up.'"
News reader Erica Hill then brought up another part of the interview: "Also in that Rolling Stone article, on a little bit lighter note, I understand the President is perhaps expanding his musical library a little bit?" Plante responded: "...there are 2,000 tunes on his iPod. We got a look inside, it's Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan....He's got Nas, Lil' Wayne, some of the hip-hop artists. And his daughters are getting into the act, too. Sharing their musical tastes with him." Hill remarked: "Ah, I imagine that could include the Jonas Brothers, from everything we've heard about the Obama girls."
What was missing in the discussion of the President's Rolling Stone interview were his attacks on the tea party movement and Fox News. Of the tea party, Obama declared: "...there are probably some aspects of the Tea Party that are a little darker, that have to do with anti-immigrant sentiment or are troubled by what I represent as the president." As NewBusters' Lachlan Markay pointed out, Obama also proclaimed that Fox News has a "point of view" that is "ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country." Neither Plante nor Hill made any mention of those controversial comments.
A new video chronicling how Americans feel and what they should do about it in November is out today. However, this video doesn't come from any large organization but, instead, it comes from a small business owner and conservative activist.
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.
ABC's John Berman on Wednesday sarcastically narrated a brief history of Tea Party movement. Interestingly, the Nightline reporter (see file photo at right) skipped the media's role in suggesting that the Tea Party movement is filled with racists. He only vaguely recounted, "Tea Party called fringe, called racist, called a fad."
Hinting these protesters are extreme should be familiar to Berman. On the February 5, 2010 World News, he chided the first Tea Party convention: "But barely scratch the surface, and there’s a tone of anger and confrontation."
Berman added, "One of the goals of this convention is to turn this movement into a political force. The question is, does the harsh rhetoric keep them on the fringe?"
“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.”
Newsweek's Ben Adler is decidedly cool to the newly-unveiled Republican "Pledge with America." No surprise there, coming from a liberal journalist. But among his criticisms, perhaps he's most off-base in his complaint about Republicans' promise to ensure that legislation must be constitutional before it is passed along to the president for his signature (emphasis mine):
Not so harmless, however, is the promise to require every bill to be certified as constitutional before it is voted on. We have a mechanism for assessing the constitutionality of legislation, which is the independent judiciary. An extraconstitutional attempt to limit the powers of Congress is dangerous even as a mere suggestion, and it constitutes an encroachment on the judiciary.
In those three sentences, Adler betrays both his ignorance of the U.S. Constitution and its imperative on all members of all three branches of government to uphold the Constitution's limits on federal power.
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."
In his 7-question September 22 Q&A with Markos Moulitsas, Time magazine's Ishaan Tharoor timidly challenged the left-wing blogger on his extremist rhetoric about how conservative Americans, particularly religious ones, are the "American Taliban."
Moulitsas was interviewed as part of his publicity tour for his new book, "American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right" which "takes aim at what Moulitsas thinks is animating this right-wing revival," Tharoor noted. "You refer to a whole swath of U.S. conservatives as American Taliban. Is that really helpful?" Tharoor began meekly. Moulitsas, of course, cranked it up to eleven and let loose with a boilerplate screed about how evil and subversive American conservatives are:
ABC's Dan Harris on Saturday offered some odd spin in the debate over the Tea Party. The weekend Good Morning America co-host argued that "complacency" was the big risk for Democrats "gleeful" over the anti-big government protesters. [MP3 audio here.]
Harris announced, "But some Democrats, including some people in the White House, seem to be verging on gleeful when it comes to the rise of the Tea Party, because the logic seems to be, some of these people have said such extreme things in the past, that they're gonna be easier to beat."
Talking to Democratic strategist Karen Finney, the journalist wondered, "Is there complacency potentially setting in?"
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?"
At CNN, it's all Christine O'Donnell all the time. News readers there seemingly can't get their fill of Delaware's Republican senatorial candidate.
Today, the American Morning program covered in each of its three hours allegations from a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint that O'Donnell misused some campaign funds. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden was fined $219,000 in July for actual FEC infractions, not allegations, American Morning didn't devote anywhere near as much air time to the story.