As the Media Research Center's latest Media Reality Check details, over the past year, the media have served as cheerleaders for ObamaCare, praising the proposed legislation, while continually slamming its critics.
As Congress moves closer to a final vote on the bill in the coming days, it's a good time to take a look back at the friendly spin that has dominated the airwaves in support of it, as well as the harsh attacks that have been launched against its opponents.
Here is a video compilation with just a sampling of some of the slanted coverage from the past 12 months.
On Sunday's Newsroom, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin disputed the conclusion of the Los Angeles Times on the apparently shocking new political initiative of Clarence Thomas's wife Virginia Thomas, that it "could give rise to conflicts of interest for her husband...as it tests the norms for judicial spouses." Toobin defended Mrs. Thomas' grassroots conservative work.
Anchor Don Lemon brought on the senior legal analyst just before the bottom of the 10 pm Eastern hour to discuss Kathleen Hennessey's article in the Sunday L.A. Times, titled "Justice's wife launches 'tea party' group." The Times writer indicated that Mrs. Thomas' new organization somehow risked the partiality of the Court, as indicated in the article’s subtitle, "The nonprofit run by Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is likely to test notions of political impartiality for the court." She continued later that "the move by Virginia Thomas, 52, into the front lines of politics stands in marked contrast to the rarefied culture of the nation's highest court, which normally prizes the appearance of nonpartisanship and a distance from the fisticuffs of the politics of the day."
CNN.com has an article on its website extolling the virtues of the Coffee Party. The glowing language the piece uses to describe the movement stands in stark contrast to the cable network's treatment of Tea Party groups over the past year.
It is plain now that CNN harbors no such ill will towards the Coffee Party, which reporter Jessica Ravitch described as just a bunch of everyday Americans gathering to express their dissatisfaction with the political status quo (gee, that sounds a lot like the Tea Party movement, but I digress).
"Ah, the sound of angry white guys wafting its way through the airwaves," Moore said. "Obviously that was a pivotal moment for that, but if you notice what he's railing against is he's blaming the whole mortgage crisis on the little guy who took out a mortgage he shouldn't have taken out, living beyond his means, having a home with too many bathrooms, when in fact - as my movie points out - the FBI of all people, have stated clearly through their own investigation that 80 percent of this mortgage crisis that we've gone through has been caused by the banks and lending institutions, by the fraud committed by the banks and the lending institutions - not by the person who's living beyond their means."
In an event most likely coordinated with help from the White House, more than 1,000 protesters supporting Obama's radical health care agenda demonstrated in D.C. on March 9, going so far as to attempt a citizen-arrests of health insurance executives holding a conference at a hotel in Dupont Circle.
Covering the story on "Rick's List," CNN's Rick "Down the Middle" Sanchez assured viewers he would "continue to follow this ... and in many ways treat this the same way we treated some of the tea party manifestations. Folks get together, we want to let you know who they are, what their cause is, and who's behind it all."
Well, if so, Sanchez had a lot to live up - or down - to.
After ignoring the Tea Party movement for two months, it took the New York Times just one week to jump on the leftish "Coffee Party" in a report by Kate Zernike criticized by Times Watch and others for its gushing tone and for failing to identify the new group as a left-wing opponent of the Tea Party protesters.
By contrast, a follow up by Zernike on the front-page of the Sunday Week in Review made sure to quickly label the Coffee Party as "a leftish alternative to the Tea Party movement."
But then there's the headline over her story: "Democrats Need a Rally Monkey." Who says the Democrats "need" anything? Does the Times have a rooting interest in Democrat success?
Of all the networks Tom Hanks might have mocked during a little stunt on Morning Joe today, he just happened to settle on Fox. For good measure, he worked Tea Partiers and Ann Coulter into his mix. [H/t reader Ray R.]
Morning Joe had just aired a clip of an actual fistfight that broke out live-on-camera between two TV producers at an Italian TV station. Cut to Hanks in the Morning Joe control room, pretending to produce . . .
John Roberts and Kiran Chetry omitted mentioning that Annabel Park, the founder of the so-called Coffee Party, worked as a volunteer for President Barack Obama's presidential campaign, during an interview on Wednesday's American Morning. The anchors also didn't mention Park's past work for the liberal New York Times.
Roberts and Chetry interviewed the Coffee Party USA founder at the bottom of the 8 am Eastern hour. After an initial question about the origin of the name, the two asked about the principles of the nascent movement and if health care "reform" was going to be a major issue for it. In her last question to Park, Chetry did ask if the Coffee Party had any ties to a political party: "[T]he tea party movement really, in some ways, has been a challenge to Republicans to move more toward fiscal conservative ideals. Are you aligned with a party? I mean, as we know, passing health care reform has been a huge goal of liberal Democrats for decades. Are you aligned with the Democrats, trying to get them more to move to the left when it comes to health care?"
On Tuesday's Rick's List on CNN, Rick Sanchez again hinted that Texas Governor Rick Perry is a racist. Sanchez, reacting to the distinct possibility that Perry would win the Republican gubernatorial primary, referenced a comment he made at a tea party rally in 2009: "He was talking about states' rights. States' rights is, to most people of color, a racist term" [audio clip available here].
The CNN anchor discussed the Republican primary with Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News. He asked the journalist, "Perry's going to win this thing, right?" After Slater noted how Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison lost her early lead in the polls over Perry, Sanchez responded, with some shock, "Why? I mean- you know, when he came out with his comment. Remember, you and I talked about it when he said it. I mean, he was all about secession from the union. He was talking about states' rights. States' rights is, to most people of color, a racist term, and I thought he had hurt himself. Why wasn't she able to, kind of, jump on that and use it?"
Slater explained that the typical Republican primary voter in Texas is "very conservative," and that Perry had actually won the nomination race after he had made his "states' rights" remark at the tea party. This didn't calm Sanchez, however, and he followed up by asking, "Well, but shouldn't we be frightened by that?"
Either host Dylan Ratigan was trying to play to MSNBC's rabid liberal audience or he really has it in for the Tea Party movement based on some exaggerated notion it is nothing but hate and fear mongers. In an interview with Mark Williams, a conservative talk radio host and sometimes spokesman for the Tea Party Express, Ratigan asked Williams what he was doing to separate his legitimate effort from radical fringe elements in American political culture.
"Mark, how do you draw the bright line between the very admirable and understandable principles that are advocated by so many in the Tea Party as it pertains to a Constitutional definition of a democracy, separation of things like banking and investing, church and - I mean, you go to all these things, and those who would choose a more radicalized view or racist view and hide, if you will, inside of the Tea Party umbrella?" Ratigan said.
MSNBC host David Shuster on Tuesday touted the threat that "right-wing fringe candidates" could pose to "more mainstream Republican" politicians. The segment, which aired on News Live, identified tea party candidates as "fringe" three times.
While Shuster was introducing reporter Luke Russert, an MSNBC graphic hyperbolically derided, "Conservatives Target Their Own Fringe." After Russert discussed how a third party candidate in Nevada could help Senator Harry Reid, another graphic announced, "Third Party Support: Sen. Reid Benefits From Fringe Candidate."
Alice Roosevelt famously said, "If you can't say anything good about someone, sit right here by me." With Roosevelt long gone, you can do the next best thing - get booked on HLN's "The Joy Behar Show."
On the March 1 broadcast of her program, host Joy Behar featured a panel to discuss the tea party movement on its one-year anniversary. But rather than including tea party backers or even impartial observers, Behar talked only with people diametrically opposed to the tea parties and the views their mainstream followers hold, including the openly socialist senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, liberal talker Stephanie Miller and Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson. Behar cited a Feb. 17 Wall Street Journal column that was highly critical of the former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the Tea Parties and pondered how the Democratic Party could take this on.
"Well, you know, it was interesting that Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal wrote this week I quote her, and she said, that the Tea Party is a group of, quote, ‘conspiracy theorists, anti-government zealots, 9/11 truthers and assorted other cadres of the obsessed and deranged,'" Behar said. "Now, do the Dems even have to take on the Tea Party when their own side is attacking them like this?"
"Well, I'm very glad I voted for him," Buffett said. "That has not changed. I think the problems he has run into are monumental, particularly in terms of the economy. I mean - we're running huge deficits, which we should be running from a Keynesian standpoint to try and get this economy moving. But they have consequences too. I do not envy the job of being President, but I give Obama high marks."
But as one reads Zak's article, it becomes clear the nascent "Coffee Party" movement is a decaf brew of mostly liberals whining about how the rabble are roused by the Tea Parties while they, the sophisticates "have real political dialogue with substance and compassion":
Furious at the tempest over the Tea Party -- the scattershot citizen uprising against big government and wild spending -- Annabel Park did what any American does when she feels her voice has been drowned out: She squeezed her anger into a Facebook status update.
let's start a coffee party . . . smoothie party. red bull party. anything but tea. geez. ooh how about cappuccino party? that would really piss 'em off bec it sounds elitist . . . let's get together and drink cappuccino and have real political dialogue with substance and compassion.
Speaking to California Governor Arnold Schwarzengger on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith noted the success of the tea party movement, but spun it as a negative for the Republican Party: "There are winds of change blowing in the Republican Party. The tea party has met. There's a – it feels like a significant shift to the Right. Can the Republican Party exist without moderates?"
Prior to that, Smith asked if Schwarzenegger had any helpful advice for President Obama: "His approval ratings are dropping. He's under fire from all kinds of quadrants. If you're going to give him some advice as to how to stay his course, what would you tell him?" Schwarzenegger initially replied: "I don't think that...he needs advice from me." He then went on to praise the President's efforts on health care reform: "you have to give him credit for taking the risk. You have to give any leader credit for always going out on a limb and to go and fight for something."
Smith failed to wonder if Democrats could survive without moderates following the announced retirement of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh last week.
We've seen the likes of Time Magazine, MSNBC, the Washington Post, and Newsweek link the Joe Stack airplane attack to the conservative movement. But in an interesting twist, a political blogger for The Nation has inexplicably linked Stack to several players at the recent CPAC convention - including Tim Pawlenty, Scott Brown, and most notably Glenn Beck.
Leslie Savan wastes little time delving into despicable comparisons from the onset with the title to her rant:
Glenn Beck Dodges Incoming Plane at CPAC
From there, the associations to Stack stretch ever further. Savan somehow manages to draw parallels between Pawlenty's comment about taking a 9-iron to big government, and the attack (emphasis mine throughout):
"Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty strained to hit a Southern-sheriff note of populist threat by suggesting, rather oddly, that conservatives were cuckolded wives who, like Tiger Woods's spouse, should "take a 9-iron and smash the window out of big government in this country!"--thereby managing to invoke both the wall of shattered glass windows at the Echelon Building and the marital troubles that may have contributed to Stack's anger."
It would seem the term ‘metaphor' is beyond the writer's grasp.
Next up is an out of context quote from Scott Brown:
As my colleague Tim Graham brought to my attention this morning, Newsweek is not content to let its advocacy for ObamaCare lie in the realm of biased writing. Nope, it appears the gang at Newsweek wants to help along President Obama by lampooning earnest Americans who expressed their displeasure last year at town hall meetings.
Why Newsweek chose now to roll out its photo gallery on "The Town Hall Face" now is anyone's guess, but I believe it's part of an effort by Newsweek to deride the skeptical American public as too deranged to understand how good ObamaCare will be for them.
Here's how the editors prefaced their 23-image slideshow, wherein most targets of derision were ObamaCare critics:
The left's comedic mud-slingers have been working overtime lately. Bill Maher injected his latest bit of invective Friday when he labeled the Tea Party movement a "cult" and hurled epithets at major conservative figures. Angry that Americans would dare object to his particular brand of ultra-liberal politics, Maher has recieved a bit of press lately for his unending stream of hatred for anyone who disagrees with him. He consistently mocks Sarah Palin and her son Trig. And he certainly has a lot of disdain for the American people--you know, the ones who "love the troops the way Michael Vick loves dogs" and are "not bright enough to really understand the issues." So Maher's latest bit of vitriol on HBO's "Real Time" - reserved for Americans who have the gall to voice their political principles - was hardly a surprise (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
CNN contributor and Daily Beast columnist John Avlon labeled "saving freedom," the theme for CPAC 2010, as "a little extreme" and "a little far out" on Thursday's Campbell Brown program and Friday's American Morning. Avlon went further, bashing conservatives' criticism of President Obama: "When they say 'saving freedom,' they're confusing, at heart, losing an election with living under tyranny."
(Avlon is a Tea Party hater, insisting recently on CNN.com that the GOP must repudiate them.)
The CNN analyst appeared during a segment 20 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of Brown's program with Red State's Erick Erickson and CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley. The CNN anchor asked Avlon, who attended the first day of CPAC, "What was your take on what was going on?" It didn't take long for this self-appointed voice of independents to criticize the theme of the annual conference for conservatives:
The liberal press is determined, it seems, to tie Joe Stack's apparent suicide in Austin today to the Tea Party movement. NewsBusters has reported on three such attempts, and now New York Magazine has thrown its hat in the ring.
Like Time Magazine, MSNBC, and the Washington Post, New York Magazine cherry-picked portions of Stack's apparent suicide note, which he posted online, in order to support the contention that he was acting out of a radical hatred of the IRS and the federal government in general.
Also like the those three bastions of media liberalism, NY Magazine did not include the final two lines of Stack's note. They are perhaps the most politically consequential lines in the entire note, yet they were suspiciously absent from the piece. They should also put to rest any notion that this man was in any way affiliated with the Tea Party movement.
Barstow made sure to mention claims of Idaho groups "stockpiling food and survival gear, and forming armed neighborhood groups," though he doesn't present evidence that's actually occurring in significant numbers. He also sidled up to allegations (from a "civil rights activist") "of a puzzling return of racist rhetoric and violence" in the region, before letting the activist admit "it would be unfair to attribute any of these incidents to the Tea Party movement." So why bring it up in the first place?
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered a "Special Comment" aimed at Tea Party activists in which, rather than rhetorically bludgeoning them with his usual name calling, he came across as trying to reason with Tea Partiers, appealing to them to admit to having racist motivations against President Obama as the Countdown host suggested that he felt sorry for them. Before a commercial break, he plugged the segment, relaying that he would ask questions to Tea Party activists "sincerely and with sympathy." At one point, Olbermann even seemed as if he were on the verge of expressing remorse for his history of using terms like "Tea Klux Klan" and "tea baggers," which he referred to as "incendiary."
As he encouraged Tea Party members to be honest about feeling racism against Obama, he characterized racism as a normal human instinct, but for some reason singled out white men as all feeling some level of racism: "And I think, having now been one for 51 years, I am permitted to say I believe prejudice and discrimination still sit defeated, dormant, or virulent somewhere in the soul of each white man in this country."
After theorizing that the Tea Parties are a "backlash" against having a black President – analogous to the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow laws in post-Civil War America – Olbermann ended his show by asking Tea Party activists: "Why are you surrounded by the largest crowd you will ever again see in your life that consists of nothing but people who look exactly like you?"
And, as Olbermann suggested that some of the anti-government political complaints voiced by Tea Party activists are really "code" for racism against President Obama, he ludicrously claimed that a real socialist would support "stupid tax cuts," and, ignoring the massive economic stimulus package passed by the Democratic Congress during the Obama administration, he blamed the current budget deficit’s size on the Bush administration’s war in Iraq. Olbermann:
On Feb. 6, former President Ronald Reagan would have celebrated his 99th birthday. Since he's thought of as a conservative icon, some have wondered what he would have thought of the modern conservative movement, specifically the tea parties and the rise of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
If you listen to Reagan's son Ron, who has recently appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball" and HLN's "The Joy Behar Show," and tends to have a left-of-center perspective, one might think Reagan would have looked down upon the tea party protests and Palin. That's not the case according to his other son Michael.
The liberal website Talking Points Memo continues to report on a bigoted individual who speciously claims to represent 6 million members of the Tea Party movement as a "leader."
In fact, he doesn't represent anyone but himself.
Readers can only infer from TPM's consistentcoverageofone Dale Robertson that the website is attempting to play up the most radical figure it can find who associates with the Tea Party movement. The website referred to Robertson today as a "prominent Tea Party leader" in the first sentence of a story headlined, "'Warning: Tea Party In Danger': Leader Slams Palin As 'Wolf In Sheep's Clothing.'"
But not only doesn't Robertson represent any faction of the movement, he has also been publicly and consistently rebuffed by a number of Tea Party groups who want nothing to do with his message. Even liberal blogs have noted the duplicity in associating him with the Tea Party movement.
On Monday’s ‘The Dylan Ratigan Show’ on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan began the program by ranting: “The tea party has a bit of an integrity problem, as everybody from birthers, to open racists, to outright Nazis are actually on the team. And no one involved, including its leadership, seems to mind that fact.”
To justify his outrageous smear of the political movement, Ratigan cited one woman who attended the weekend tea party convention in Nashville, Tennessee: “I just couldn’t sit down anymore and not do anything. Because it reminded me of what happened during the rein of Hitler.” Ratigan then went on to describe Sarah Palin writing notes on her hand during her convention appearance as futher evidence of the movement’s “integrity problem”: “Even Palin being caught a little less than honest...saying she wouldn’t use a teleprompter at the event, but she didn’t rule out scribbling notes on her hand during a scripted Q & A.”
The supposed point of Ratigan’s rambling at the beginning of the show was to condemn both Republicans and Democrats for playing “political football” instead of dealing with issues. However, he decided to just bash conservatives and the GOP: “After eight years of dropping the ball, voters decided they didn’t want the elephants picking it up again for a while.... After a crushing defeat of the elephants last November in a huge game, America thought true change was on the way and that points were going to be scored for this country, finally.”
"I’m reminded the term Teabaggers is pornographic. Didn’t know that until MSM told me. Let’s face it: The Baggers own it now." — The latest from Roger Ebert’s [depicted at left in 2003 file photo at right] Twitter, presumably in response to this.
Ebert’s seen a lot of films but obviously hasn’t learned very much from them. When he disappeared into the hospital for all those months, those of us who disagreed with his politics put those meaningless differences aside as we worried and prayed for the robust return of the thumb that had become such a part of our lives. But who would’ve guessed he wouldn’t come out of his near-death experience like the movies taught him to: as a kinder, more understanding, more tolerant and patient man with a new appreciation for the simple and human things in life? No, he went the opposite way and the story of Roger Ebert’s life will now look as though the projectionist got the reels for “Regarding Henry” confused.
It’s been extraordinary to watch this once beloved critic squander all the universal affection and goodwill he had built up over a lifetime in just a few short months. And over nothing. No one bad-mouthed his mother or rang his doorbell and ran. We disagree on the size and scope of the federal government. We disagree over the idea that increased government control will improve our health care. We’re not as enamored as he is with the man currently occupying the Oval Office. Disagree, argue, that’s all fine. But he’s calling us “teabaggers,” and he knows full well what that means. And he’s calling us “teabaggers” because he doesn’t have the guts to come right out and call us “c***suckers.”
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann highlighted suggestions by former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo that there should be civics literacy testing for registered voters made at the recent Tea Party convention, which Olbermann referred to as the "Tea Klux Klan," and painted Tea Party activists as wanting to deny minorities the right to vote using the tactics of the Jim Crow South. As if Tancredo wanted to discriminate against African-American voters, Olbermann referred to "Tancredo harking back fondly to the electoral strategies once used to keep poor people – specifically, explicitly, black people – from voting."
After bringing aboard the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson for further discussion, Olbermann’s first question employed the premise that "mainstream Republicans" wish to discriminate against minorities:
If you ever thought mainstream Republicans would openly reminisce about race-based election stealing, did you ever think that you would, as a grown man in the 21st century, see the once proud Republican party let it happen with the only kind of peep of integrity coming from the daughter of a Senator?
Robinson charged that Tea Party members were displaying "naked Jim Crow racism." Robinson: