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.
I suspect that headline writers at the Associated Press would be pleased as punch if readers stopped at their capsulization of Randall Chase's story and didn't read it.
The headline at the AP's main site currently reads: "Surprise Del. primary winner seeks GOP support."
Perhaps they're hoping that Christine O'Donnell's Tea Party base will be disappointed at the impression the headline gives, namely that O'Donnell is going to the Republican Party establishment for help, and in the process presumably compromising sensible conservative principles.
Well, that hope naively assumes that informed readers trust the factual basis of AP headlines. If they trust AP headlines as much as the rest of the press's and Big Three TV networks' output, that's mostly not true (i.e., only 25% have a great deal of trust). Chase's report makes it pretty clear that a lot of heavy hitters and strategists in the GOP are actually coming to her:
I didn't know about what follows when I posted last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on Atlantic politics editor and CBS Campaign 2010 "Chief Political Consultant" Marc Ambinder's September 15 prediction that "The media is going to help the Democratic Party's national messaging." Though drop-dead obvious, I still found it interesting that someone in Ambinder's position would admit it.
It turns out that only two days after Ambinder put forth his prediction, he proactively made it come true.
Despite the inquisitive title of his September 17 post ("Will the White House Play the Palin Card?"), Ambinder clearly believes that going after Sarah Palin should be part of the White House's and Democrats' strategy during the next seven weeks.
It's enough to make you wonder if he has already written his CBS election post-mortems. Behold Ambinder's cluelessness:
It’s one thing to acknowledge that most voters in a liberal-leaning state like Delaware may be reluctant to vote for a solid conservative, but, as he appeared on Sunday’s Today show on NBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory claimed that Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell’s "extremist statements and some views" would not only be a "real problem" in Delaware, but "it would be the case almost anywhere." And, rather than noting the liberal lean of Delaware, which has not voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988, Gregory described the state as "more moderate." Gregory: "Christine O'Donnell also represents a real problem for the Republican party. I mean, her track record of statements, extremist statements and some views on issues are going to be a real problem – not just in a state like Delaware that's more moderate, but it would be the case almost anywhere."
And, as Gregory described how President Obama might try to portray Republicans as extreme, the NBC host seemed to channel MSNBC’s Chris Matthews as he suggested that Obama might claim that "warlord-ism" is "going on within the party, extremism within the party." After noting that the Tea Party movement indicates Republicans are energized to vote in November, Gregory continued:
Beyond that, you’ll see the President and his allies saying, "Look, this is a Republican party going through a revolution. They don't know which side is up. There’s a kind of warlord-ism going on within the party, extremism within the party. This is not a party that you want to have leading the country." That will be the argument that you hear more and more, and that you’re already hearing the President make.
It's almost tempting to just run a few paragraphs of Kate Zernike's latest item in the New York Times and simply have folks take their rips, but a bit of background would be helpful.
Zernike (pictured at right) is the Times reporter who seems to have made it her mission to somehow singlehandedly discredit what may when all is said and done come to be seen as the most significant grass-roots movement in America in a long, long time. Earlier today, Clay Waters at NewsBusters reviewed Zernike's new book, "Boiling Mad -- Inside Tea Party America," noted that she "evinces little sympathy or feel for conservative concerns," and is intent on "finding racism everywhere she looks in Tea Party land."
In a late March post (at NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), I noted a Zernike item ("With No Jobs, Plenty of Time for Tea Party") which cynically questioned "whether the movement can survive an improvement in the economy, with people trading protest signs for paychecks."
This is the same Kate Zernike Andrew Breitbart memorably called “a despicable human being” after she claimed to have found racism that really didn't exist at CPAC in February.
With that background, the paragraphs that follow from Kate's latest calamity won't surprise anyone too much, but they will as usual disappoint if you're foolishly expecting anything resembling fair treatment (bold as mine):
On Friday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, during the show’s regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, host Keith Olbermann referred to Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell as a "lump of dumb and judgmental" as he introduced his slam of Republican strategist Jack Burkman and a clip of him being criticized by former New York Republican Senator Al D’Amato for comments Burkman made about African immigrants on the Fox Business Channel.
As he attacked Burkman, the MSNBC host smeared Tea Party activists generally as promoting "nonsensical, virulent, uneducated hatred." Olbermann: "For the second time in three days, a hardline GOP stalwart managed to get fed up with the nonsensical, virulent, uneducated hatred pushed by one of these flip Tea Party types, and he called BS on it. The first was Karl Rove wigging out over the lump of dumb and judgmental that is Christine O’Donnell."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, September 17, Countdown show on MSNBC:
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."
Collectively they gave her less than five minutes.
The Republican Delaware Senate nominee gave a speech at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. this afternoon from about 3:25 to 3:45 p.m. EDT. Of the three major cable news networks, Fox News showed none of the speech while MSNBC's Chris Jansing gave viewers just under a minute of O'Donnell audio before interviewing Time magazine's Jay Newton-Small about concerns some GOP operatives have about O'Donnell being a weaker matchup against the Democratic nominee than Rep. Mike Castle (R) would have been.
Only CNN's Rick Sanchez gave O'Donnell a substantial chunk of time: 3 minutes and 33 seconds. When Sanchez cut away from O'Donnell, he noted that she's "getting her first taste of the national spotlight" since clinching the nomination and promised that CNN would "continue to follow as the midterms in November draws near."
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have announced dueling D.C. rallies on October 30 aimed at satirizing the August 28 "Restoring Honor" rally held by rival network Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck.
Newsweek's Daniel Stone is apparently stoked about it, predicting that the gimmick will "absolutely" be a success (emphasis mine):
You’ve got to hand it to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, social critics that they are, for keeping us attuned to the absurdity in our political discourse these days....