Is MSNBC concerned about charges of a lack of racial diversity among its on-air staff? Perhaps the cable network is realizing that its glass house is increasingly at risk of shattering from all the stones it keeps hurling at the allegedly-racist Tea Party movement.
The folks at Inside Cable News noticed a slight change in the header at the MSNBC TV homepage. See if you can spot it in the picture at right. It shouldn't be that hard; the folks at the cable network put Tamron Hall front and center in a bright pink shirt (click here for a larger image of the new header).
Did MSNBC add Hall in an effort to satiate critics who have pointed out the lack of racial diversity on the cable network? Though ICN notes the comical video produced by the Dallas Tea Party, the Congressional Black Caucus has also chided MSNBC for its lily-white staff.
George W. Bush’s linguistic difficulties, such as “Is our children learning,” “If the terriers and barrifs are torn down, this economy will grow” and “They misunderestimated me” made him the butt of many a joke back in the day, especially since they used to be played on cable news channels. Yet the current occupant of the White House—not to mention his vice president—does not seem to have found the media’s funnybone. Even Barack Obama’s teleprompter problems never got that kind of coverage, neither did that fact that his speeches are written at two grade levels below Bush.
Then there was the time in Februrary, when Obama mispronuncicated “corpsman” as “corpse-man” and the media ignored it, or when he said he had been to 57 states and they excused it, the mediahasjumped all over Sarah Palin’s invention of the word “refudiate.”
The word was coined on Fox News July 14, in response to the proposed Cordoba Center in New York City, a $100 million community center and Mosque three blocks from the World Trade Center site, but developed into a full-blown meme Sunday when she posted to Twitter:
Despite all the attention given to last week's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's resolution against the Tea Party, all three broadcast evening news programs completely ignored Monday's revelations of racist comments made at one of the civil rights organization's meetings in March.
At 8:18 AM Monday, Big Government reported that on March 27, Shirley Sherrod, the USDA's Rural Development director for the state of Georgia, delivered a racism-laden address at the NAACP's 20th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet.
Here's a taste of what the so-called news divisions at ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored Monday (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
While MSNBC has spent a week or so playing the allegation of Tea Party racism in heavy rotation, on Monday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, anchor Mika Brzezinski devoted a segment to the controversy over the New Black Panther Party’s voter intimidation. New York Times editorial writer Charles Blow denounced the group and agreed that the Justice Department needs to answer questions, but he predictably tried to argue conservatives are outrageous in suggesting the "strange logic" that Team Obama’s actions say something about Team Obama and racial justice:
The political part of it is, I think, the most inflammatory part of this. It's strange logic. The idea that the Obama administration – which is what's happening here – people are trying to tie the Obama administration to black radicalism. And that has been happening since the campaign and it continues to happen. Not everybody, but it's an electoral goal if you can tie him somehow to black radicalism. It's strange logic to think that this tiny group, he somehow benefits politically from protecting them. They have a summit the year before this voter intimidation thing came up. There were a hundred people there. There's nobody there. There's nothing to gain. In fact, there's everything to gain in prosecuting.
"For ABC to be giving aid and comfort to these lies is absolutely disgraceful," Bozell argued on the July 16 "Media Mash" segment on FNC's "Hannity."
Also discussed on Friday's appearance was how the media persistently insisted that ObamaCare would not allow for federal funding of abortion and that conservative critics were misleading the public by claiming as much. Now, months after Democrats strong-armed generally pro-life Democrats into scuttling their objections and voting for the health care overhaul, MRC's CNSNews.com is reporting on how abortion will be covered on health insurance in at in at least two states under ObamaCare provisions.
"The reality is Doug Johnson and the National Right to Life Committee nailed this one right on the head.... It was true, it's perfectly true," Bozell noted of conservative warnings of taxpayer-subsidized abortion under ObamaCare.
The Washington Post published another story dedicated to the proposition that the Tea Party is too extreme and will ruin the Republican Party's appeal to moderate voters. Reporter Shailagh Murray's entire story on Sunday dwelled on how standard-issue Republicans “worry that tea-party candidates are settling too comfortably into their roles as unruly insurgents and could prove hard to manage if they get elected.” Murray began:
So who wants to join Rand Paul's "tea-party" caucus?
"I don't know about that," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) replied with a nervous laugh. "I'm not sure I should be participating in this story."
Liberal activists are so desperate to paint the Tea Party as racist that some, apparently, are willing to fabricate evidence and fallaciously draw unsupported conclusions to support their point.
Lee Fang, a writer for the far-left blog Think Progress, recently posted a video purporting to show racism at Tea Parties. But the video was a total fraud. It took statements out of context, claimed racism where there really was none, claimed liberal plants were authentic members of the movement, and even used video from 2006, three years before the movement existed!
Liberal writers at the Nation and the Huffington Post, as well as former Fox News cohost Alan Colmes all trumpeted the Think Progress video as evidence of Tea Party racism, despite the easily-verifiable evidence to the contrary.
A senior official of the NAACP appears to have further undermined the credibility of his organization when, in a Fox News debate with Project 21's Deneen Borelli Friday, he directly contradicted something he said on Fox News Tuesday.
The debates centered on the controversial, though still secret, NAACP resolution adopted this week at the NAACP annual convention, which alleges racism within Tea Party events. A number of Tea Party officials and attendees have hotly disputed the charge, including a series of black Tea Party speakers, organizers and attendees whose statements have been published at BigGovernment.com.
Shelton replied to Borelli, referring to a Tea Party rally held in March, "I was. As a matter of fact… I was on Capitol Hill at that tea party rally…"
It seems impossible that Shelton could have been telling the truth both times, raising the question: If a senior official of the NAACP is confortable telling a fib on national television, whatever else might the organization be fibbing about?
On Friday's Dylan Ratigan show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan reported on Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann attempting to form a congressional tea party caucus and proceeded to rant: "...the tea partiers were nowhere when it came to ending the mass extraction in Wall Street, so I think they're actually full of crap." [Audio available here]
Ratigan then wondered: "...for a movement, however, that prides itself on having no formal ties to the federal government, forget the aspect of being full of crap when it comes to the banking system, why are the Republican Party members and tea party members so receptive to getting together?" He posed that question to his guests, left-wing talk show host Cenk Uygur and former Bill Clinton speechwriter Michael Waldman.
Uygur couldn't agree more with Ratigan's assessment: "You took the words right out of my mouth. She [Bachmann] is so full of crap. I mean, she might be the queen of crap." He then proclaimed: "All she's ever done is protected the bankers....I guess the tea party movement, in essence, is actually about protecting the richest people in America. Wow, what a populist movement you have there."
Waldman took the conversation even lower, as he argued: "The Republicans would like to benefit from the...neurotic energy of the tea party. But they don't really want them in the front parlor. They don't want everybody to identify their extremism with the Republican Party, just the way the Democrats didn't want the Weathermen determining the face...At the front of the house." The Weathermen, or Weather Underground, was a anti-war domestic terrorist organization during the Vietnam war era. Barack Obama associate Bill Ayers was a member.
On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN's Don Lemon conducted a confrontational interview of a black tea party member and disputed his assertion that the U.S. is "more divided now, racially, than any other time in modern history." Lemon bizarrely reached back to the Confederacy to challenge his guest's claim: "Some of the reasons for the Civil War....was racism....How can you say the country is more divided now?"
The CNN anchor brought on the Reverend C. L. Bryant during a segment eight minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour to discuss the NAACP's recent condemnation of the tea party's "racism." After playing a clip of Bryant from the 2009 9/12 tea party rally in Washington, DC, where the tea party leader accused the Obama administration of "building walls of racism... [and] class-ism," Lemon first asked, "What do you think about this new resolution from the NAACP?" Bryant replied, "Well, unfortunately, those types of statements...are echoes of the left at this point in time."
Tucker Carlson is now the proud owner of a slightly used Keith Olbermann.
With a large-print headline announcing "We own you" and a picture of ol' Keith looking bemused whilst he adjusts he glasses, The Daily Caller promoted their newest acquisition: http://keitholbermann.com/.
It's just the latest shot across the bow in the escalating feud between Olbermann and Carlson, which will one day be featured on a Cracked.com list of the top eight inconsequential personal feuds the media chose to cover instead of events that were actually newsworthy.
CNN's Rick Sanchez returned to attacking conservative talk radio on Wednesday's Rick's List program, lamenting that "a lot of people in this country...think that Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are legitimate news organizations." Sanchez also brought on liberal CNN contributor Roland Martin to do the same: "The Glenn Becks of the world...use the race-baiting...Rush Limbaugh and his racist language" [audio clips available here].
The left-leaning CNN anchor brought on Martin and Memphis, Tennessee Tea Party founder Mark Skoda just after the bottom of the 4 pm Eastern hour to discuss the NAACP's recently-passed resolution condemning the tea party movement's "racism." As you might expect, Sanchez singled out two isolated examples of racially-tinged signs at tea party rallies: a birther tea party protester who held a "sent Obama back to Kenya" sign while carrying a stuffed monkey, and a sign from the 9/12 rally in Washington, DC in 2009 that depicted President Obama as an African witch doctor.
Martin treated Skoda in a confrontational manner from almost the beginning. The Memphis tea party leader brushed aside Sanchez's citation of a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which apparently found that "49 percent of Americans saying that they believe the tea party movement is based in some part on racial prejudice." The pro-Obama contributor then pounced: "Well, actually, he didn't actually answer your question. He danced around your question because I don't- he obviously did not want to answer it. So I will let him have a second opportunity, Rick, to actually answer the question."
NBC Political Director Chuck Todd cherrypicked a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll to dismiss the possibility that Republicans will regain control of Congress in the November election. He did this despite evidence within the same poll that the political landscape in 2010 resembles 1994, when Republicans picked up 54 seats to take control of the House.
On the July 13 "Morning Joe," Todd emphasized the finding that 72 percent of the country has either "just some" or no confidence at all in the ability of congressional Republicans to "make the right decisions for the country's future."
"This wild card about this election cycle which makes it different from '06, which makes it different from '94, is this issue of the public's view of the Republican Party," insisted Todd.
If former California Gov. Jerry Brown, now once again a candidate for governor of California really wants to be sort of a unifier as he says, he might want to watch how he refers to some of his constituents.
On MSNBC's July 9 "Hardball," Brown was interviewed by host Chris Matthews and was asked how he could make all the unions in California work together in a political way. (h/t @HayleyMcConnell)
"How do you deal with the kick-butt unions out there?" Matthews said. "They're really tough. You have the correction officers, you got the police, you got the teachers, the nurses. These are tough, strong well-funded units that are politically cohesive. They took down Gov. [Arnold] Schwarzenegger when he tried to take them down. How do you make them work? How do you get them to serve the public and make reasonable compensation?"
On Friday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez attacked conservative economic policy, singling out the right's support for lower tax rates, and complained that "we in America are so easily led to go against our own interests.... you would find that at least half...[are] pulling for the rich guy." Sanchez also belittled conservative talk show hosts: "Many...don't even have a college degree" [audio clips available here].
The anchor led the 3 pm Eastern hour with a rant against "these guys on talk radio, some of whom make hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars" and their defense of "the money guys...the super-rich, night in and night out- you know who I'm talking about- you will hear this and you have heard this consistent narrative. We're being held back by high taxes in this country, high tax rates- cut taxes on the wealthy and, zoom, there it goes. Our economy is going to be back with a vengeance. Get the government off our backs and all our problems in this country are going to be solved."
Sanchez then caricatured the conservative take on the present economic situation and, unsurprising, introduced race into the issue. He also targeted CNBC personality and Tea Party hero Rick Santelli:
Remember when media liberals were insisting (falsely, by the way) that RedState's Erick Erickson had advocated shooting a census taker? Well imagine that a journalist had approached, say, Dick Armey and the following exchange had ensued. Then try to imagine what the media's response would be.
JOURNO: Obviously you don't believe in killing census workers.
ARMEY: Umm, not in that context, no sir. No, no.
JOURNO: Okay, in what context?
ARMEY: Just for the sake of this interview, no context. I don't believe in that. There are too many other government forces out here that are much more powerful that I as a man would focus on. I wouldn't focus on the census workers, sir, I'd focus on the police.
Replace "census workers" with "babies" and "government" with "white," and you have the exact statement from Malik Zulu Shabazz, leader of the New Black Panther Party, made in an interview with Mediaite's Tommy Christopher (video below the fold).
Donny Deutsch was a lonely man on Thursday's "Morning Joe." The only panelist to decry Sarah Palin's inspiring new video designed to galvanize conservative women for the midterm elections, the MSNBC contributor puzzled even his liberal colleagues.
"I actually think it's insulting to a lot of women," thundered Deutsch. "I'm going to tell you why. It's the same reason why every time they do '100 most successful women in business' cover stories."
New York Times writer Andrew Ross Sorkin and Time magazine's Mark Halperin interjected to refute Deutsch, but the determined advertising guru just talked over them: "Listen to me! The American public wants more than 'I protect my cubs.'"
Advocacy groups have increasingly labelled their opposition as "astroturf," or corporate-funded fake grassroots, groups in order to demean them and lessen the fact that both sides enjoy some measure of public support. Many of the organizations throwing around accusations of astroturfing, such as the Marxist net neutrality advocacy group Free Press and the liberal ThinkProgress not only engage in astroturf strategies, but are financially supported in ways they decry as astroturf. The media, unsurprisngly, has often chosen to ignore leftist astroturfing and focus on accusations of rightist astroturfing.
The Daily Caller reported Wednesday on a pro-neutrality letter circulated around Capitol Hill by Free Press which was a product of the same astroturfing tactics Free Press has decried.
The "signatories" of the letter had no recollection of the letter and had no idea they had signed it. One of the signatories, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation wrote to the Federal Communications Comission, The Hill reported, asking to be removed from the list of signatories. Tellingly, a Free Press spokeswoman suggested that they were pressured to do so. Presumably by the Satan-worshipping board of directors of some telecommunications company.
The "recent unpleasantness" at the Washington Post was, to conservatives at least, entirely predictable. What decent left-leaning journalist could live among the remote, primitive tribes known as conservatives and not be driven just a little bit mad? (If the Post's editors were embarrassed, they could at least take comfort that their man hadn't "gone native.")
Predictable, but no less unfortunate. The Washington Post dearly needs someone to explain conservatism to its editors and staff. Why?
A look through the June 30 edition of the Washington Post gives a pretty good indication. No, not the puff piece on Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. (Apparently a photo of the grown man in charge of a vast federal agency wearing a bike helmet is supposed convey competence. The caption reads - really - "Ray LaHood has worked to expand transportation safety, including emphasizing the rights of cyclists in federal transportation policy.)
It's a curious phenomenon to see what the minds at The Huffington Post deem funny, and at least this one wasn't filed under the category "HuffPo Religion," but a series of images depicting Jesus Christ making unhinged statements wins the HuffPo's "Comedy" classification.
In a June 30 post, Katla McGlynn wrote that mocking Tea Party protestors by "juxtaposing" "hateful, ignorant, or otherwise nonsensical rants" but at the same time mocking a religious figure many hold very is sacred isn't only funny but it is also instructive about what she described as "people who claim to be Christians."
"The concept behind the site Tea Party Jesus is simple: Put the words of conservative Christian social and political figures in the mouth of Christ," McGlynn wrote. "The juxtaposition of hateful, ignorant, or otherwise nonsensical rants with serene photos of JC himself isn't only funny, but says a lot about the people who claim to be Christians."
While MSNBC host Chris Matthews has routinely cited the American Revolution-era Gadsden flag as evidence of the extremism of the tea party movement, at the end of Monday's Harball, he expressed his love for the banner while remembering West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd. [Audio available here]
In his 'Let Me Finish' segment, Matthews shared his thoughts on Byrd and how he particularly admired how the Democrat shared his "deep American objection to the Iraq War." Matthews placed Byrd in an historic context and spoke of the nation's founding, including one particular symbol of defiance during the Revolution: "I love the symbol of the Gadsden flag that, coiled rattlesnake against a field of yellow. 'Don't Tread on Me' – it warned our enemies, and that included especially the British government and London." Matthews then noted: "This morning, a man died who treasured this country and that flag. For those reasons, Senator Robert Byrd opposed both wars – both wars with Iraq."
Pop-star and courageous anti-toilet-paper crusader Sheryl Crow apparently has a new political concern: Tea Partiers.
The country crooner told CBS journalist Katie Couric that Tea Party members are uneducated, angry and potentially dangerous in an interview with Glamour magazine this June.
After Crow complained in the interview that Americans have become too blasé about politics, and that nobody has taken to the streets to cause "a riot or a revolution," Couric correctly pointed to the Tea Party as an example of modern day activism.
"What do you think of the Tea Party movement? Because that is the specific sort of group of people who would say we're out there, we're getting involved in the process...," asked Couric.
"I appreciate the fact that those people are out there and that they are fired up," responded Crow, before adding that Tea Partiers "haven't educated themselves...they're just pissed off."
Violent protesters set fire to police cars and shattered store-front windows at the Group of 20 economic summit in Toronto this weekend. How did the New York Times, so skittish about the hypothetical threat of non-existent Tea Party violence from the right, react to actual violence committed by political protesters by the left-wing and anarchist groups? With more snort-worthy apologias for left-wing protesters being overwhelmingly "peaceful" in numerical terms
Reporter Randal Archibold made a similar claim in his April 24 story from Phoenix at a protest against Arizona's anti-immigration law, claiming that "hundreds of demonstrators massed, mostly peacefully, at the capitol plaza." Local news in Phoenix reported three people were arrested during the immigration rally, including two seen throwing water bottles at police, and videos showed more lawlessness on display.
The same defensive tone is present in Monday's Business section story from Toronto, with the ludicrous headline "Police in Toronto Criticized for Treatment of Protesters, Many Peaceful," by Ian Austen. Austen's story is illustrated with a photo from the European Pressphoto Agency showing two policemen arresting a woman, but not photos shown elsewhere of burning cars, like the Associated Press photo by Frank Gunn above.
Austen managed to fault the police both for initial passivity and subsequent overreaction:
An escalation of aggressive police tactics toward even apparently peaceful protests at the Group of 20 summit meeting led to calls for a review of security activities.
It's well known liberals don't particularly care for Fox News host Glenn Beck, but wouldn't be comparing him to al Qaeda be a bit much?
On Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center claimed the lives of over 2,700 people. So what does that have to do with Glenn Beck? Well according to liberal talker Bill Press, Beck's plans to hold a rally at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28 are somehow akin to al Qaeda's worldview. Press demanded the National Park Service revoke permission for Beck to hold a rally where Martin Luther King had given his "I have a dream" speech 47 years earlier. (h/t Outside the Beltway)
"In a slap at both President Lincoln and Dr. King, not to mention the American people, the National Park Service has given Glenn Beck permission to hold a Tea Party rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28 - 47 years to the day after Martin Luther King gave his magnificent ‘I Have A Dream' speech," Press wrote in a June 16 post on his blog. "If you ask me, that's like granting al Qaeda permission to hold a rally on September 11 - at Ground Zero. What the hell were those bureaucrats at the Park Service thinking?"
"Being a suicide bomber is the new political role model," Chris Matthews told his Friday "Hardball" audience. "Just kill everything, destroy everything, blow it up, nothing gets done. You're dead, but who cares?" he added, referring to conservative Republicans running against Democrats in the 2010 midterms.
The comment came at the end of a segment featuring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Politico's Jim VandeHei. Matthews had complained to the latter that the congressional minority Republicans were intent not merely on tinkering around the edges of the majority Democrats' policy proposals but on "destroy[ing] the United States government every time it gets up in the morning" all to the applause of "its cheering section back home say[ing] good work, keep trying to destroy the government."
Newsweek blogger Ben Adler thinks the national media are giving the Tea Parties gentle treatment.
"Unfortunately," Adler wrote in a June 21 post, "what appear to be false notions of objectivity - or perhaps a lack of interest in policy - is preventing that coverage from illuminating what the movement actually represents and what it would do if empowered."
"The piece examines how and why a variety of individuals became involved in the Tea Party movement without once asking what precisely the platform consists of," Adler said, leading one to wonder if he even read the article.
Actress and author Carrie Fisher, revered for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies, granted an interview to the website Pop Eater. Late in the interview, they asked "Is there anyone you haven't met that you've always wanted to?" She said Barack Obama. They expressed surprise she hadn't met him. "I know. I love him. Hopefully I'll meet him sometime. I'm just happy he exists." Then came the rant against conservative Obama opponents:
Do you think Tea Party is just people who are pissed that there is an African American president?
Yup, and the fact that they chose to call themselves "teabaggers," which is slang for a certain act involving b***s. It sort of says a lot. I would say a mouthful. Looks like it's very upsetting for them, but he's brilliant. The thing is, he's half white but that's still not enough -- for them it's all white or f**k off. I think we don't deserve him and certainly teabaggers don't deserve him. [Asterisks theirs.]
What do Tea Partiers, Truthers, birthers, Birchers, militias, Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell, Barry Goldwater, Joe McCarthy, Father Coughlin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond, Rand Paul, Alex Jones, Orly Taitz, and Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh all have in common? Approximately nothing, but don't tell Chris Matthews.
The MSNBC "Hardball" host spent the better part of an hour last night trying to associate all of these characters with one other. Of course he did not provide a shred of evidence beyond, ironically, a McCarthyite notion that all favor smaller government, and are therefore in league, whether they know it or not, to overthrow the government. Together, by Matthews's account, they comprise or have given rise to the "New Right."
The special was less a history of the Tea Party movement than a history of leftist distortions of the Tea Party movement. As such, it tried -- without offering any evidence, mind you -- to paint the movement as potentially violent. Hence, after Matthews tried his hardest to link all of these characters, he went on to paint them all as supporting, inciting, or actually committing violence. (Videos embedded at the end of post.)
Journalists have long been puzzled over Sarah Palin’s popularity. In November, Newsweek took a stab at the trend with its provocative cover of Palin in running clothes: “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah Palin: How Sarah Palin Hurts the GOP And the Country.”
Lisa Miller’s thesis is compelling if it is true, but journalists usually rely on hard facts, polls, maybe interviews with political scientists to prove their points. Unfortunately, Miller’s article contains none of these to support her theory that Palin is somehow the new leader of the Christian Right. Instead, she strings together a bunch of anecdotes and quotes to prove what she thinks is happening.