In an August 28 online column, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter ripped into Fox News and conservative Republican leaders for painting Barack Obama as a closet Muslim and potentially a foreign-born person illegible to hold the office of the presidency.
But while he tarred the Left's usual bogeymen with the specious charges, Alter failed to produce documented evidence of any instance in which any mainstream conservative Republican leader or Fox News talent specifically charged that President Obama is either a Muslim or was not born in the United States.
Instead the Newsweek veteran resorted to an all-too-typical refuge: insisting that conservative opinion leaders speak in some sort of "coded language" which apparently their followers understand instinctively and only enlightened liberals like Alter can see through as a cleverly-deployed Jedi mind trick:
Howard Dean pulled off the rare twin-trashing this morning, dumping on both Glenn Beck and the people who respond to his message. He began by calling Beck crazy, saying he has "a few things the matter with him up here, up in the head there." Later, he compounded the calumny, calling Beck a "racist" and a "hate-monger." So who were the hundreds of thousands of people who attended the rally and the millions more who watch and listen to Beck? Why, according to Dean, they're "lost souls."
New York Times columnist Charles Blow had set the vitriolic tone during the show's first hour, accusing Beck of "hiding behind a cross" and participating in a "rhetorical assassination" of Pres. Obama.
Interviewing President Barack Obama in New Orleans on Sunday afternoon, Brian Williams treated Obama with a level of deference he didn’t afford to President George W. Bush as he treated Obama as a great oracle of wisdom to pluck. “Katrina was about so many things. It was about class and race and government and the environment,” Williams told Obama in the except aired on the NBC Nightly News, yearning for guidance: “Whatever happened to that national conversation we were supposed to have about it?”
Williams raised how “it's getting baked in a little bit in the media that BP was President Obama's Katrina. And it's also getting baked in that the administration was slow off the mark,” but only to cue up Obama: “Is that unfair?” As the economy continues in dire straights and Obama’s economic policy of “stimulus” spending has obviously failed, all Williams could ask was: “Do you have anything new on the economy?”
Williams fretted that though “you're an American-born Christian...significant numbers of Americans in polls, upwards of a fifth of respondents are claiming you are neither.” The “question” from Williams: “This has to be troubling to you. This is, of course, all-new territory for an American President.”
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.”
There is something about CNN and the people writing chyrons for the alleged "most trusted name in news" with the "best political team on television." Last week, these geniuses clarified the White House's position on President Barack Obama's religion.
However on CNN Aug. 28 coverage of Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, which CNN reporters and anchors seemingly held their collective noses up and reported on throughout the event, the chyron on the screen was something likened to one of those parlor games where you circle the numerous errors involved. (h/t Inside Cable News)
First off, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's name was misspelled. Second, she was identified as a former presidential candidate, when she was actually the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008. And finally, it's labeling Beck as Palin. Just not a good day for CNN.
A reporter for the St. Louis paper the Riverfront Times has a message for all the members of the Tea Party movement he smeared with false accusations of political violence: "I have no regrets."
Chad Garrison penned a blog post last week speculating that a member of the Tea Party had firebombed the office of Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo. "Given what we know of [the perpatrator] - 50, white, angry - he certainly fits the demographics of a Tea Party member," Garrison wrote. " "On second thought," he added, "maybe he's not a Tea Party member. Firebombing your opponent's office seems a little too, um, sane for that group."
But it turns out the man was actually a disgruntled former Carnahan staffer and blogger for the left-wing site Talking Points Memo, not a member of the Tea Party. Members of the movement asked Garrison to retract. His response: lighten up, wingnuts.
UPDATE (7:05 PM): Color of Change's executive director responds. See his response, and my response to his response, below the fold.
Reading through material from the "Turn Off Fox" campaign, one gets the very clear impression that the folks at the Fox News Channel are bald-faced liars. They have "no regard for the truth," and use "half-truths" to push a "stream of misinformation" and "distortions of the truth."
Turn Off Fox is a project started by Color of Change, the far-left political organization founded by neo-Marxist and black liberation theologist Van Jones.
Despite Turn Off Fox's righteous indignation, the same document making the above accusations pushes blatant misinformation about both Fox and the Tea Party movement. Got that? The Turn Off Fox campaign wants FNC to tell the truth, and uses demonstrable falsehoods to bolster its case.
The document accusing Fox of pushing misinformation claims that Bill O'Reilly got former USDA official Shirley Sherrod fired, and claims that Tea Party protesters shouted racial slurs and spit on black congressmen outside the Capitol. Both claims have been thoroughly debunked.
Wasn't comparing your political opponents to Nazis once a no-no? I mean, just remember how upset the liberal concern police would get if some wayward individual at a Tea Party event in some random place in the United States had a homemade sign protesting President Barack Obama and invoked Nazi Germany symbolism?
Well, you would think - or at least expect a national TV host (even with considerably lower ratings than his competition) would certainly avoid using Nazis symbolism to attack those with which they disagree, right? No, apparently it's just a double standard. On MSNBC's Aug. 25 "The Ed Show," a seemingly angry host Ed Schultz said he was "fired up" about the Aug. 28 Glenn Beck event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
"This is the story that has me fired up tonight - Glenn Beck is distorting Martin Luther King's dream and his Tea Party followers are on edge," Schultz sais. "You know, I just sense that we are going down a very dangerous road right now when a political organization like the Tea Party has members trying to intimidate elected public officials."
On Tuesday's AC360, CNN's John Roberts labeled Republican candidates who have Tea Party support "very far to the right," and specifically referred to Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott as an "ultraconservative." Guest John Avlon also bemoaned John McCain's tack to the right during the primary campaign, and slammed how the senator has been called a "RINO" by many conservatives.
Roberts, who was filling in for anchor Anderson Cooper, along with Avlon, CNN liberal contributor Roland Martin and Red State's Erick Erickson, discussed Tuesday's primary results from several states for two segments during the first half hour of the 10 pm Eastern hour. Eighteen minutes into the hour, the CNN anchor asked TheDailyBeast.com senior political columnist, "[CNN anchor] John King laid it out there, that it's going to be a challenging year, to say the least, for Democrats. Some people predicting that this will be equal to, if not worse, than 1994. What do you think?"
They'll have all sorts of excuses (but only if asked) about why it happened: It's because they had a lot of guest anchors last week, it was hot, summer vacation season is still on (though lots of kids around in Greater Cincinnati were already back in school by last Wednesday), cable is killing us, blah-blah, etc., etc.
But the Big Three networks won't be able to avoid the fact that their ongoing decline reached a painful low last week of 18.82 million average viewers. Here is the graphic that appeared this morning at ABC's lipstick-on-a-pig blog post:
I don't know whether that's an all-time low, but Kevin Allocca at Media Bistro, who hadn't posted the full numbers as of the time of this post, has noted that one of those networks indeed scraped bottom last week:
Actor Jon Voight appeared on the August 22 "Huckabee" to discuss, among other things, his conservative activism and the media's misrepresentation of the Tea Party movement.
Here's a sample:
MIKE HUCKABEE: We heard that there were people yelling racial epithets at some of the members of Congress. Did you hear anything like that?
JON VOIGHT: You know, when you saw this, folks, and you all read these things or you saw them on television, these rumors... are being distributed as truth. And I'm going to tell you the quality of people that are in the Tea Parties are of such high moral character that if anybody in a group of those people came forth with a racial slur they would be called on the carpet... and they wouldn't stand for it, and we would know their names today. But there's no evidence of any of this, there's no evidence that these things really happened that were portrayed as news.
For interview highlights, check out the video montage we've assembled by clicking the play button in the embed above. Alternately, you can download the MP3 audio here or the WMV video here.
February 2009 was a pretty dark time for the conservative movement. The arguably most liberal president in the history of the United States has been sworn in to office just weeks early. The Congress had solid Democratic majorities in both chambers. And there were overtures that only way to save the nation from suffering the worst of a downtrodden economy was through an avalanche of costly legislation that would create huge budget deficits and ever-expanding bureaucracy.
But in the midst of that dark spell, CNBC's Rick Santelli lit the spark that ignited the conservative pushback. On CNBC's Feb. 19, 2009 "Squawk Box," Santelli called for a "tea party" in Lake Michigan to protest the idea the Obama administration was preparing to enact a massive housing bailout to reward people who took part in risky behavior by purchasing a home they couldn't afford.
A "progressive" political activism campaign has launched a new project apparently aimed at engaging opponents in civil discourse about important issues of the day.
Their motto: "F*ck Tea."
Setting its sights on the Tea Party movement, the Agenda Project has launched an online store to sell shirts and mugs with the slogan and inform visitors of some statistics about the Tea Parties - none of which are sourced.
On its own website, the Agenda Project claims its goal is "to build a powerful, intelligent, well-connected political movement capable of identifying and advancing rational, effective ideas in the public debate and in so doing ensure our country's enduring success."
On Wednesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty, following the lead of NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, didn't provide the context of a remark made by Republican Senate candidate in Colorado Ken Buck, thus giving the impression that he was sexist, and went on to label him a "moron."
Cafferty began his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary by characterizing Tuesday's primary results as possibly being good news for Democrats, especially President Obama: "After months of taking a beating, the Democratic Party- and, by extension, President Obama- finally got some much-needed good news in yesterday's primaries. The biggest victory came in Colorado, where Michael Bennet, the candidate backed by the President and the party establishment, won handily."
The CNN commentator then cited The Politico's recent assertion that even better news for the party lay in apparent stumbles being made by the GOP with their choices of nominees, beginning with Buck:
MSNBC's Cenk Uygur railed against the Tea Party on Friday, attacking their members as the "cancerof the Republican Party." The liberal radio host was completing his final day as guest anchor of the 3pm hour of News Live.
During each show's program he would offer three short commentaries railing against conservatism or President Obama for not being liberal enough.
Uygur, the host of the liberal Young Turks radio show, asserted that the Tea Party will "kill" Republicans after 2010, allowing that the midterms might result in a "slight bump up for the GOP." In contrast, the Cook Report currently predicts a 32 to 42 seat pickup for the Republicans in the House.
We have picked out a couple posts from each of the five categories and asked the authors to reflect back on writing them up. In this series of short videos, they share their thoughts on how they caught the particular media moment and describe the impact their post had.
On Monday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, during the show’s regular "Tea Time" segment, host Keith Olbermann attacked a recent Tea Party event in Philadelphia that made a point of inviting minority participation and included many minority speakers.
As he cited reports by the Philadelphia Inquirer of low minority attendance at the rally which also allegedly had fewer attendees overall than expected, Olbermann suggested that merely having an event on such a theme of inviting minorities was an admission that the Tea Party movement is racist. Olbermann: "As you know, if you point out that the Tea Party is virtually all white, you're the racist. Of course, that does raise the interesting question of why the Tea Party would feel compelled to have what one of its leaders called a minority-based Tea Party event."
Now that both liberals and conservatives have coordinated protest movements it is fair to compare the two. Luckily sECULAR sTUPIDEST has put together a great video which shows the March 20th, 2010 Anti-War protest in D.C. and the March 20th, 2010 Tea Party in D.C. (Language Warning)
Monday's New York Times front page contains a "Congressional Memo" by David Herszenhorn and Carl Hulse, "In Personal Ethics Battles, a Partywide Threat." The party is the Democrat Party, the threat possible ethics trials for prominent Democratic representatives Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters.
After summarizing the danger that the trials pose for Democrats in an election year, the Times checked in on an unreliable source, Rep. James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, to raise a defense of Rangel and Waters, both of whom are black, as is Clyburn.
What a fine group of happy warriors! Right Online 2010 turned out over 1,000 like-minded activists from over 30 states. These passionate folks walked the over-100 degree streets of Las Vegas to educate voters that November Is Coming.
Should the Democrats be worried? No. They should be resigned. The real worry-warts should be Republicans consistently intent on selling out their principles. Be worried. People are mission-focused.
A couple highlights from the conference: Here's my favorite speaker from the group, Emery McClendon:
What will it take for the media to acknowledge that the Tea Party is not a racist movement, and that liberals have smeared it as such in a naked politicization of race relations? How about a lefty activist admitting just that.
UPenn professor Mary Frances Berry, a leader of the "far-left black political scene," as NB Executive Editor Matt Sheffield wrote, penned this astonishing email to Politico, published on July 20:
Tainting the tea party movement with the charge of racism is proving to be an effective strategy for Democrats. There is no evidence that tea party adherents are any more racist than other Republicans, and indeed many other Americans. But getting them to spend their time purging their ranks and having candidates distance themselves should help Democrats win in November. Having one’s opponent rebut charges of racism is far better than discussing joblessness.
Perhaps it's the proximity of North Dakota, Ed Schultz's home state, to Minnesota but the MSNBC host has an identifiable fixation on a certain conservative Republican congresswoman from Minnesota.
On his July 29 program "The ED Show," Schultz once again attacked Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. This time this wizard of smart attacked her for loving to get "her mug out there." But if that's a crime then Schultz is an accomplice.
"Well, that's Michele Bachmann said, she wanted to create a ‘receptacle' for the Tea Party and so, this might be the first thing in the ‘receptacle,'" Schultz said. "I think she is doing it to stay visible. She loves getting her mug out there, she loves the visibility. She was rather an obscure congresswoman until she made an asinine comment on ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews' about investigating members of Congress. That pretty much put her on the map, Roy."
On Monday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, guest Ann Coulter answered host Joy Behar’s tendency to link the Tea Party to racism as the HLN host brought up former DNC chairman Howard Dean’s recent accusations that the Republican party are "appealing to its racist fringe." Coulter noted the vicious attacks the far left made against President Bush and alluded to the double standard that liberals try to hold the Tea Party to: "It`s silliness comparing Obama to Lenin and Hitler. Okay, it`s overheated, it`s not racist. And let`s go back to the Bush era. He was called not only a Nazi and Hitler all the time, he was called a monkey all the time. I`m not endorsing these signs, I think they`re stupid, but don`t scream racism over every stupid sign or every liberal plant at a Tea Party."
Behar had posed the question: "This Breitbart thing, in a way, is a perfect example of what Howard Dean, former DNC chairman, is talking about because the GOP is appealing to the racist fringe in order to get back in power. Am I wrong or right?"
Before noting Bush’s treatment by liberals, Coulter responded: "The more recent history is, consists of constant false accusations of racism against the Tea Party just like you made. The claim that John Lewis was called the ‘N’ word 15 times at an anti-Obama rally, well, that`s been as proved false as anything could be."
The Daily Beast's John Avlon tried to sever the Tea Party movement from the conservative legacy of Ronald Reagan in a Tuesday column on CNN.com. Avlon, a Tea Party hater, opined that a "key difference between Reagan's rhetoric and [the tea party] is the comparative civility," and suggested that "Reagan...would have a hard time getting the GOP nomination today" for apparently not being conservative enough.
Avlon began his column, "2010 Tea Party echoes 1964 Reagan," by tying the Tea Party movement to the former president's famous speech at the 1964 Republican convention, "A Time For Choosing." After giving three excerpts from the speech, the writer labeled it a "classic -- smart, funny and still so resonant that the rhetoric Reagan used more than 50 years ago echoes in Tea Party protests today." Actually, Avlon erred in his math, as 1964 was only 46 years ago.
Like a dog chasing its tail, the left has spent a great amount of time trying to determine who the leader of the Tea Party movement is. And often, there are accusations of prevalent racism among its members. But according to CNBC's Rick Santelli, the Tea Party is more of a philosophy than a group, which has nothing to do with racism.
"First of all, we should have zero tolerance for racial discrimination, period," Santelli said. "Beyond that, if the indirect question is, ‘Is the Tea Party racist?' I think the real question is, ‘Are there racists in the Tea Party?' And I would contend that statistically there's going to be racists in any group."
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Walsh responds, claims this isn't what she said!
Joan Walsh on Sunday said former USDA official Shirley Sherrod is allowed to say anything she wants about racism -- including calling Fox News and Andrew Breitbart racist -- because her father was killed by a white man.
Discussing last week's controversy on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Salon's Editor-in-Chief actually claimed, "The woman's father was murdered by a white farmer, and there were witnesses, and the white justice system never found the murderer guilty."
"She's entitled to talk about race any way she wants to."
When Matt Lewis of Politics Daily asked incredulously, "Any way she wants to," the sparks began to fly (video follows with transcript and commentary):
(Update: Reuters quietly improves statement by eliminating the word 'often'. Thank you Reuters, for being forthright in the error, er, slipping this in, in the hopes that your readers won't notice. We're certain that all of the Tea Party Patriots being wrongfully portrayed as racist appreciate the effort.)
Reuters recently ran a piece that analyzed persistent race issues amidst the Obama presidency, and managed to take a racial swipe at the Tea Party in the process.
As always, the piece diverts attention away from the President and toward conservatives. Any controversy involving the administration is portrayed as a mere distraction for the President in his alleged post-racial presidency. The analysis draws a conclusion that the ‘right-wing noise machine', conservative groups, conservative media, and the Tea Party/NAACP debate are all implicit in creating this racial distraction - and ultimately taking the spotlight off of Obama and his ‘biggest achievements'. (Is consistently usurping the will of the American people an achievement?)
But what stands out in the article (h/t NewsBuster reader Texndoc) is an obvious misstatement of facts. An implication that racist imagery at Tea Party rallies is prevalent, has been presented as truth. Patricia Zengerle, the White House correspondent at Reuters, writes (emphasis mine), "Images such as Obama with a bone through his nose and the White House with a lawn full of watermelons are often displayed at Tea Party rallies."
Reuters and Zengerle were contacted via e-mail several times for clarification on the statement, but the only response thus far has been ...
Appearing on Friday's CBS Early Show to discuss the Shirley Sherrod controversy, Ann Coulter pointed out the network's own faulty reporting on tea partiers protesting the passage of ObamaCare: "CBS News itself has reported that John Lewis was called the 'N' word 15 times. That is a lie, that is a despicable lie, that never happened. Why doesn't CBS News apologize for that?" [Audio available here]
Earlier in the discussion, fill-in co-host Erica Hill described how "things happen on both sides," like the inaccurate claims made against Sherrod. Coulter agreed and cited some examples:
Hill reiterated her initial point: "But Ann, Ann, things like this happen on both sides." She then went after Fox: "On Fox News we saw footage that was ran months ago, purportedly showing certain crowds at rallies, and they were from a different event. This happens across the board." At that point, Coulter noted the poor reporting done by CBS News.