Since Tea Party protests became an influential movement on the national scene last year, the left in general and the liberal media in particular have tried (unsuccessfully) to render it irrelevant in the eyes of the American people. By throwing around accusations of racism and dire warnings of impending violence, these pundits have tried, unsuccessfully to undermine the movement.
University of Virginia Professor Gerard Alexander explored this trend more generally in yesterday's Washington Post poses the question, pondering, "Why Are Liberals So Condescending?" In his column, Alexander details four types of condescension widespread among the far-left and omnipresent in its talking points. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all four have been employed by left-leaning journalists to bash the Tea Party movement.
"American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives," Alexander writes, "appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration."
If you're a follower of conservative politics and also a user of the social networking tool Twitter, you've more than likely have noticed the use of "#tcot," for "top conservatives on Twitter" associated with certain posts that pertain to that subject matter. But it all didn't happen by accident. In the early stages, it was a concerted effort.
And most of it was because of the work of Michael Patrick Leahy, the author of "Rules for Conservative Radicals," which is a takeoff on Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals." And as Leahy explained, the origins of the acronym ‘tcot' and its use on Twitter were the creation of him, an Orange County, Calif. software engineer and a 78-year-old Texas grandmother.
And Leahy, who is the third cousin of Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., explained to a group assembled by Sandy Horwitt, author of an Alinsky biography, "Let Them Call Me Rebel: Saul Alinsky: His Life and Legacy" at a Washington, D.C. Chinatown restaurant on Feb. 4, how he got the ball rolling on the who "tcot" concept.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez failed to mention the party affiliation of former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon on Friday’s Rick’s List program, but made every effort to identify former Congressman Tom Tancredo as a Republican. Sanchez ranked Tancredo higher on his “List You Don’t Want to Be On” for his remarks at the Tea Party Convention, despite Dixon’s conviction for illegally using donated gift cards for the needy.
The CNN anchor gave the number three and number two spots on his “List You Don’t Want to Be On” just before the top of the 4 pm Eastern hour. Sanchez chose Dixon as his number three, and gave a brief on her resignation from office and how she received two years probation for her crime. He didn’t mention her Democratic Party affiliation during his brief, nor was it mentioned in the accompanying on-screen graphic.
[Update, 5:24 pm Eastern: Audio and video clips from Acosta’s report added.]
CNN’s Jim Acosta continued his network’s bias against tea party protesters on Wednesday’s American Morning by depicting them as “recession raging,” and questioned one participant over her depiction of President Obama as the personification of death: “Do you think having the President dressed up as the Grim Reaper is a little over-the-top?” Acosta then asked, “You think it’s appropriate?” [audio clip available here]
The correspondent’s report on Wednesday was the first in a series titled “Welcome to the Tea Party.” During his presentation, which first aired 39 minutes into the 7 am hour, Acosta followed his network’s model of focusing on the negative depictions of President Obama at tea party gatherings and painting the protests in a negative light. Over 5 months earlier, his colleague Jim Spellman followed the cross-country caravan of the Tea Party Express organization before the massive 9/12 rally in 2009, and zeroed-in on the protesters who labeled the President a Nazi, brought firearms to rallies, or held “outlandish conspiracy theories.” He labeled all these “a dark undercurrent.” Much more infamously, former CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen took personal offensive at a depiction of the chief executive with a Hitler mustache, while three years earlier, she thought a similar portrayal of President Bush was “comic.”
Rick Santelli is the star of perhaps the most politically consequential online video, viral to the extreme, of the past year (right). On February 19, 2009 he let loose on the Obama administration's economic policies on CNBC's "Squawk Box", calling for a "tea party", and inspiring millions of Americans to speak out against what he and many others see as collectivist economics policies pursued by the President and Congress..
“That was spontaneous, absolutely,” he said in an interview with the Daily Caller. “It was also from the heart, and I had no idea of the direction it would take or the response it would get.”
Almost a year later, Santelli is widely seen as the godfather of a large political coalition that, according to some polls, rivals the two major parties in popularity. The Tea Party protesters staged 48 simultaneous protests on tax day last year, a rally on the lawn of the Capitol with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of attendees, and will hold its own convention this week, with Sarah Palin giving the keynote address.
Monday's Washington Post has a front page story by Jerry Markon on the building "anti-Obama" conservative movement in the New Media, easing conservative complaints that the movement doesn't get much ink. MRC's Brent Bozell came in at the very end (saving the best for last?) as Markon mentioned Greg Mueller, the head of our PR firm, CRC Public Relations:
Among CRC's clients is L. Brent Bozell III, who started the Media Research Center in Alexandria in 1987 with one black-and-white TV to monitor perceived liberal media bias. Today, he operates a mini-empire with seven Web sites, including Eyeblast.tv, a conservative version of YouTube.
"When you are on the outs, and we are completely on the outs in Washington, we've got nothing to lose," Bozell said. "It's a heckuva lot more fun."
Inside the Beltway, much of it is fueled by the Conservative Action Project (CAP), a new group of conservative leaders chaired by Reagan-era attorney general Edwin Meese III. CAP, whose influential memos "for the movement" circulate on Capitol Hill, is an offshoot of the Council for National Policy, a highly secretive organization of conservative leaders and donors.
Since Ron Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan, would probably be the first to admit his political view are widely divergent from his father's it seems strange that he would put words in the Gipper's mouth about current events.
It's curious to see people in the mainstream media try to make sense of the Tea Party movement. The New York Times, which once called the Tea Parties a psychological phenomenon rather than a political movement, has now changed its tune.
In the wake of the stunning upset by Scott Brown in the Jan. 19 Massachusetts special election to fill the seat vacated by Ted Kennedy's death, the Times is attempting a more analytical look at the so-called "tea party tiger." Specifically, the Times looked at some key figures in the movement, Sen. Jim DeMint, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Fox News host Glenn Beck and CNBC CME group reporter Rick Santelli.
CNBC ‘Squawk Box' co-host Joe Kernen told Santelli about the Times story on Jan. 25.
MSNBC host David Shuster on Wednesday used his Twitter account to repeatedly slam "teabaggers" and their "teabag leader." Shuster was defending a segment he hosted on MSNBC where he derided the "far-right" elements of the tea party movement. Writing on Twitter he derided, "Highly amusing to see teabaggers claim [Scott] Brown a [sic] referendum on Obama...when Brown himself denied it and distanced himself from teabaggers."
Referring to those who are unhappy with him using a vulgar sexual term to describe a political movement, Shuster retorted, "For all who object to the term 'teabaggers,' please direct your frustrations to [correspondent] Griff Jenkins at Fox News. He came up with it." (It's not clear why this lone example makes the word acceptable.)
Using the term for a third time, Shuster Tweeted to @AdamCassandra: "The issue is International ANSWER wasn't behind ALL the war protests as your teabag leader alleged. Try thinking sometime." This was in reference to his Wednesday segment on MSNBC.
A small group of liberal talking heads may be realizing that opposition to Obama is not, in fact, wholly irrational. Though it would be a bit too hasty to proclaim it a trend among the mainstream media, it has been a refreshing break from the smears usually hurled at the right by the nation's pundits.
First was Chris Matthews, who stunningly turned right and voiced his concern about an excessively large federal government, as Noel Sheppard reported this morning. NBC's David Gregory also came to his senses today, and admitted--his prior statements notwithstanding--that the Tea Party movement has been advocating the same principles that led to Scott Brown's victory yesterday (h/t Mary Katherine Ham).
Speaking on this morning's Morning Joe, Gregory characterized yesterday's special election as a sincere populist backlash against unpopular policies. The election was "about incumbency and whether government's working for you," he said. "That's what really cuts through all this is whether government is working for the people. That's what's fueling the Tea Party movement."
CNN’s Carol Costello reminisced enthusiastically about President Obama’s inauguration a year ago on Tuesday’s American Morning, highlighting how, at the time, “the hearts of millions of Americans were ready to burst- with a Woodstock kind of love.” Costello also took a shot at Republicans, stating that they “used the President’s strategy [on health care] to create fear and confusion among voters.” [audio available here]
Anchor Kiran Chetry set the gushing tone for the correspondent’s report, which aired at the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour: “It was a year ago that love was in the air. America seemed to come together behind the nation’s first African-American president.” Costello lead the segment with footage of the enthusiastic crowd at the inauguration and her reporting inside the crowd, accented with a graphic of President Obama’s head inside a beating Valentine’s heart and Cupid’s arrow: “Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2009....The hearts of millions of Americans were ready to burst- (unidentified women singing) with a Woodstock kind of love.”
The day after the Inauguration, during a January 21, 2009 report on CNN, Costello dubbed the festivity “a gigantic love fest,” and gave an enthusiastic account about her time with the masses on the National Mall: “Suddenly, someone would just come up and hug you. It was just amazing. It was -- it was like you were standing in the middle of these strangers, and all of a sudden, you had a million friends around you. That’s what it felt like yesterday.”
Coming back from commercial this morning at the MSNBC Clown Kingdom, the bump-in video clip was one of Sarah Palin’s interview with Glenn Beck. Palin stated that it took all of the Founders to come up with the Constitution, but that George Washington (as the leader) would necessarily rise to the top.
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, panel member and FNC correspondent Douglas Kennedy referred to Tea Party members as the "Tea Bag movement," prompting admonishment from host Jon Scott who pointed out that he was using the "pejorative" term. In the next segment, Kennedy went on to accuse Tea Party members of anti-Semitism and linked Obama/Hitler posters to Tea Party members, leading panel member Jim Pinkerton to remind viewers that an Obama/Hitler poster sometimes attributed in the media to conservative Tea Party members had actually been brought to a protest by left-wing supporters of Lyndon LaRouche – who ran for President in the past as a Democrat:
DOUGLAS KENNEDY: You know, just tell them to leave the swastikas home and the pictures of Hitler, and the, you know, they might gain a little more popularity.
JIM PINKERTON: The pictures of Hitler brought in by Lyndon LaRouche people, you know, who are actually, Lyndon LaRouche ran as a Democrat seven times.
KENNEDY: Yeah, but there's anti-Semitism and-
Panel member Judy Miller then jumped in and predicted that the Tea Party movement would help liberals by splitting the Republican party, prompting Kennedy to divulge some over-the-top wishful thinking:
If there was ever any doubt National Public Radio had a political slant, check out the animated video posted on the network's Web site. That should clear up any doubt.
This video dated Nov. 12, 2009 was created by Mark Fiore, a political animator, who NPR reports is described by The Wall Street Journal as "the undisputed guru of the form." The video demonstrates for viewers how to speak "tea bag," which is a term lefties for whatever reason seem to find absolutely hilarious. (h/t Jesse Hathaway via Bob Parks). Transcript as follows:
Moderator: Finally, learning a new language doesn't have to be hard. You can be fluent in conversational tea bag in just a few short minutes. Lesson one: Don't get distracted by the confusing words of other languages. Character: I think the public option and the competition it would foster would really -- socialist, socialist. Moderator: Good, very good. Lesson two: If you're having trouble understanding the words of others or being understood yourself, use teabag's stronger, more descriptive words. Character: The Nazi, Nazi, Nazi
While much of the national media was focused on a Christmas Eve Senate vote to pass health care reform legislation, the Obama administration's Treasury Department was tending to other business that will have serious implications for the U.S. economy. But did anyone notice?
As Zachary Goldfarb reported for The Washington Post on Christmas Day, the Obama Treasury said it would lift the limits on what the federal government could provide in "emergency aid" to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - without seeking permission from Congress. That led CNBC CME Group floor reporter Rick Santelli to ask if anyone noticed and/or realized what was really at stake with this move during the Dec. 29 broadcast of "Squawk Box."
The bitterness toward the tea party movement continues to go on and on.
Case in point - Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page, who on the Dec. 27 broadcast of "The McLaughlin Group," deemed it "The Most Defining Political Moment" of 2009, but refused to call it the "tea party." Instead, he granted the movement the preferred name by the left-leaning cable network MSNBC, the "teabaggers" and somehow devised the notion that the movement "asked for" the derogatory name.
"The backlash movement known as the ‘teabaggers,' who kind of asked for that name and now they regret it," Page said.
As the lone journalist on Sunday's Meet the Press roundtable (with Newt Gingrich, Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick), NBC's Andrea Mitchell insisted the “Obama Doctrine” has “borne fruit,” but “it is not perceived yet” -- though the President has already “united the world behind the United States.”
Citing all those who “camped out” for the Sarah Palin book signings, Mitchell denigrated her appeal as evidence of how “they are so hungry for a symbol for anyone who can give them answers” it shows “there's an anger out there” she hasn't seen since George Wallace in 1968. And that, she maintained, “is the angry populism which is not fact-based, it's just furious at everybody; angry at Democrats, at Republicans.” (Apparently, favoring conservative policies and rejecting liberal big government spending is “not fact-based.”)
Ruing “the tea party has higher numbers in our last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll than either of the other traditional parties,” Mitchell, NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of MSNBC's weekday 1 PM EST hour, declared that “does frighten me.” While she acknowledged “this spirit of America is so large and embracing,” she feared “there is an angry subtext because of economic dislocation that is very, very worrisome.”
In keeping with the tradition of the holidays - the minds at MSNBC, the place for politics if you're of the lefty persuasion, decided rate the top 10 political stories of the decade.
And leading this gang of masters of the political journalism universe was "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, who on the broadcast of his Dec. 24 program, announced that conservative activism, mainly the tea party movement was the eighth biggest story of the decade - but labeled "angry white voters" (emphasis added).
"Welcome back to ‘Hardball' - our number eight political story of the decade, angry whites at town hall meetings across the country," Matthews said. "Lawmakers heard the wrath of angry voters."
On Dec. 22, when Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama announced he would be switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, it was to be expected MSNBC, the so-called "Place for Politics" would spin it in anyway imaginable. But Rachel Maddow decided to use the left's favorite boogeyman, the tea party movement, to denigrate conservatives and distract from what could be real problems for House Democrats.
The Republican minority in the Senate found an unlikely defender today: MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
Yesterday, the Brew Crew played the video for the Democrat talking point attack on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), but omitted the ghoulish statement by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.):
They [the GOP] are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
This morning, however, the bump-in to start the show was that very quote – kudos to the producers of the show for making the connection. Better late than never; and it was even done without the presence of Joe Scarborough, the token MSNBC Republican.
Sadly, some members of the Brew Crew could not contain their bias:
It's often said markets function better when there is gridlock in Washington, D.C. because there's less of a chance for government will interfere in the private sector, creating a sense of security. But in this day and time, that theory applies to the U.S. dollar as well.
On CNBC's Dec. 17 "Squawk Box," CNBC Chicago Mercantile Exchange reporter Rick Santelli debated what was causing the recent rise in the U.S. dollar. Santelli, the original inspiration for the tea party movement, squared off with Jim Iuorio, CNBC "OptionsAction" regular and CME trader, about the cause - a weakened European economy or the place in the calendar year.
"So Rick, is the bigger deal right now on the dollar move - the risk-aversion trade because of the end of the year or because of the problems in Europe?" Iuorio said. "Or is it a combination of both? Which is the bigger thing, do you think?"
Yesterday at NewsBusters, Geoffrey Dickens documented the furor of MSNBC's Chris Mathews over the results of an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (PDF).
Specifically, Mathews was irked that the Tea Party Movement (TPM) was viewed quite a bit more favorably than the two major political parties by those polled (VP=Very Positive; SP=Somewhat Positive; N=Neutral; SN=Somewhat Negative; VN=Very Negative; DK=No Opinion):
Tea Party Movement: VP-20%; SP-21%; N-21%; SN-10%; VN-13%; DK-15%
Mathews dismissed the TPM's convincing advantage over the established parties, especially in higher strong positives and lower strong negatives, as being the result of a biased poll question working in the Tea Partiers' favor. I don't think so. In fact, I think the result occurred even though the question is loaded against the TPM.
Here is the full text of the Tea Party poll question (Question 14b, Page 11; bolds are mine):
A liberal Washington Post columnist laments today of the loss of civility in the public discourse. Strange that he is suddenly outraged that Americans would dare call Obama a socialist or a fascist, given that Bush-Hitler comparisons were widespread during the previous administration.
Liberals in the media spent the summer and early fall bemoaning signs at town hall protests and tea party rallies calling Obama a socialist or communist comparing him to Hitler (incidentally, many of these signs were actually created by supporters of uber-leftist Lyndon LaRouche, as reported by Seton Motley here and here). These pundits had no such admonitions for signs at anti-war rallies during the Bush administration comparing him to Hitler and the Devil, and calling the president a fascist.
So the Post's E.J. Dionne's complaints about the loss of civility in the debate over federal politics fit right in with the narrative liberal pundits have been pushing since last year: comparing an American president to a murderous dictator is unacceptable...if that president is a Democrat.
On Monday’s Situation Room, Suzanne Malveaux became the latest CNN personality to use the offensive “teabagger” label to describe opponents of ObamaCare. Malveaux asked senior political analyst Gloria Borger, “Do we expect to see the kinds of big rallies and...the circus atmosphere that we saw...over the summer when you were talking about controversial policy, ‘teabaggers’ and all that other thing?” [audio clip available here]
The CNN anchor and correspondent, serving a substitute for the vacationing Wolf Blitzer, questioned Borger about the upcoming battle over health care “reform” in the Senate, after a 60-39 vote over the weekend to begin debate over the Democrats’ bill. Her use of the vulgar term came 14 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour:
On Monday’s American Morning, CNN’s Jim Acosta rehashed a three-month-old report from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center about the apparent rise in militia activity in the U.S., and extensively featured a militia from Michigan whose members purportedly “could not specify which of their constitutional rights are being peeled away.”
Acosta didn’t use any specific ideological labels to classify the militias during his report, which aired just before the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, but it was clear that the featured militia, the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, held right-of-center views, as its members expressed concern about gun rights, anti-Obama sentiment, and even flew the yellow Gadsden flag (with its “Don’t Tread on Me” slogan) featured at Tea Party protests. The Gadsden flag showed up in many of the clips of the militia during the CNN correspondent’s report, which was the first in a series titled “Patriots or Extremists.” The Tea Party tie was reenforced with a shot of a truck of one of the militia members, which had a sticker of the famous “Obama as the Joker” image on it.
Appearing on Monday’s CBS Early Show to discuss Sarah Palin’s upcoming book tour, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer dismissed the former vice presidential candidate’s political ambitions: “I think she’s going to sell a lot of books. I think she’ll be a great attraction out, you know, as an amusement....But I can’t imagine that she has much future in politics. I really don’t.”
Early Show co-host Harry Smith began by asking Schieffer about Palin’s criticism of the McCain campaign in her book, ‘Going Rogue.’ Schieffer responded: “Well, this is Sarah Palin’s turn to get even....I don’t think it’s going to work.... it’s kind of like a baseball player going into a slump and blaming the manager or blaming the bat boy or blaming the fans or something.”
Schieffer went on to write Palin’s political obituary: “But I don’t think it’s going to help re-establish her as a, you know, as a political candidate. I – my guess is she’s not ever going to run for anything and I think if she did, I don’t think she would get very far.” Even Smith seemed to think that was premature, replying in a surprised manner: “Really?”
Back in June, liberal columnists at the New York Times lined up to link conservative talkers Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh to James von Brunn, the 88-year-old man who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum, and the murder by Scott Roeder of abortionist George Tiller.
Krugman’s “The Big Hate” blamed Fox host Bill O’Reilly’s rhetoric (“Tiller the baby killer”) for the Tiller murder, as well as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, for contributing to the dangerously toxic atmosphere.
Warner’s online entry, “The Wages of Hate,” read: “You can't accuse Beck or Limbaugh of inciting violence. But they almost certainly do stoke the flames.”
Just over a week after using the term “far right” three times in a row in one night, CNN’s Larry King used the term “right wing” three times during an interview of Al Gore on his program on Thursday. King first questioned Gore about “the rise of the right wing” and “right wing radio” in the context of the health care debate, and later asked the former vice president, “ Is the right wing bigger than its bite?”
The CNN host lead his hour-long interview with Gore with a ringing endorsement of the Democrat’s new book: “We are so honored to welcome back Al Gore to the show, the former vice president of the United States and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the best-selling author, all in one person. His new book is ‘Our Choice.’ There you see it. It’s a plan to solve the climate crisis, and it is brilliantly put together.”
Thirteen minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour, King raised the issue of the Tea Parties with Gore: “What do you make of the rise of the right wing, these rallies and dealing with health care- we’ll move to health care in a minute. Right-wing radio- they take you on pretty good.” As you might expect the “green godfather” (as Katie Couric put it) hinted the anti-ObamaCare activists were being unreasonable: “Well yeah, it’s not entirely new in American politics. We have had a strain like this in our politics for a long time, and there are extreme voices all along the ideological spectrum. And we just have to focus on building the health and strength of our democracy and hope that the voices of reason and deliberation will prevail.”
The left has gotten a lot of "giggles" over the term "teabaggers" in describing Americans who attend the tea parties. For those of you who don't know, teabagging is a perverse sexual term. It is interesting to me that the left not only knew the term, but seemed very comfortable using it. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.
On Monday's Countdown show, responding to Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour's recent contention on NBC's Meet the Press that President Obama has personal popularity -- based partially on being the first black President -- that is separate from the unpopularity of Obama's policies, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann labeled Barbour's words as "incoherent," and charged that President Obama is in reality a "target of racism from the right." Olbermann:
But it was Mississippi's Governor Haley Barbour who had perhaps the most incoherent read, explaining that Obama, the target of racism from the right, remains popular not because of his policies, but in a Donovan McNabb way, because of his color.
During a discussion with MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, Olbermann also suggested that "Barbour knows that members of his party hate the President for being a black Democrat," as he posed a question to Wolffe about Republicans being in denial about their party's unpopularity and the meaning of the 2009 elections. Olbermann: