NPR's Nina Totenberg spent more than 4 minutes on Wednesday's Morning Edition to supposed ethical conflicts of interest for conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Antonin Scalia. By contrast, Totenberg devoted only 17 seconds to the more current issue of liberal Justice Elena Kagan's service in the Obama administration as a factor in upcoming cases before the Court.
Host Renee Montagne introduced the correspondent's report by noting how both "liberal groups have chastised conservative justices for attending private conferences put on by conservative political interests, and conservative groups have responded by leveling some criticism in the other direction." However, the journalist devoted the first three minutes of a seven-and-a-half minute segment on the criticism launched at Clarence Thomas's wife from the left:
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer declared: "In your face. The Tea Party puts its confrontational style on display during a stop on President Obama's bus tour." Later, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd lamented how "uplifting moments" of Obama's Midwest tour were interrupted by "a bitter taste of the energy and confrontational style of the Tea Party."
Throughout Todd's report, the headline on screen read: "The Politics of Anger; Tea Party Tactics Change Race for President." Todd noted how: "For their part, the leading Republican presidential candidates are going out of their way to defend the Tea Party's in-your-face tactics." In a sound bite, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza explained that Republicans, "want a candidate who is willing to fight President Obama on all fronts at all times. They want confrontation, not conciliation."
A hot item on the New York Times website is an op-ed by Harvard professor Robert Putnam (who drew a lot of media notice for his nonfiction book "Bowling Alone") and Notre Dame professor David Campbell called "Crashing the Tea Party." The professors earn their Times real estate by regurgitating the CBS-Times polling on the alleged growing unpopularity of the Tea Party, and calling the Tea Party brand "toxic" for the GOP.
But Putnam and Campbell bring their own data, which purports to find that the Tea Party is even less popular than atheists and Muslims, that they're defined by "low regard for immigrants and blacks," and that their more common characteristic is their theocratic tendences to "mingle religion and politics" which they allege is causing the crash in public support:
On Monday's CBS Evening News and Tuesday's Early Show, CBS failed to cover an Iowa Tea Party activist's confrontation with President Obama. Both ABC's GMA and NBC's Today mentioned the encounter. Just days earlier, CBS and ABC spotlighted how left-wing protesters heckled Mitt Romney at an Iowa appearance and how the Republican apparently made a "gaffe" in reply.
NBC correspondent Chuck Todd noted the "heated exchange" between Tea Partier Ryan Rhodes and the President midway through his report just after the top of the 7 am Eastern hour of Today:
Tea Party activist Ryan Rhodes and President Obama got into a heated debate following an Iowa town hall yesterday after Rhodes asked Obama whether or not Vice President Joe Biden had called the Tea Party "terrorists" during debt ceiling negotiations.
Obama denied the remarks, but as Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry reported, further explained, "As someone who’s been called a socialist, not born here, taking away freedoms for providing health care, I’m all for lowering the rhetoric." Check out the video of the exchange after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
It seems as though the media mixed their labels on the two activist groups, sympathizing with the rioters while viciously attacking a mainstream and completely non-destructive conservative group. The same sympathy the media felt for the British youth was never applied to the Tea Party, which has always peacefully worked to enact political change.
It's not very often that you run into a story that so perfectly captures both the sheer contempt which many reporters hold for the public and their desire to enable Democratic politicians. That's what happened in Chicago earlier this week when conservative journalist Bill Kelly had the temerity to ask Illinois Democratic senator Dick Durbin if he felt that he shared any responsibility at all for the recent U.S. debt downgrade.
As a coddled and protected Democrat, Durbin certainly wasn't used to a tough question and he proceeded to ignore it, turning instead to a more compliant journalist, one Jim Anderson of Illinois Radio Network, for a different question. Little did he know just how helpful Anderson would be, even going so far as to threaten Kelly with expulsion from the news conference. Read on for video and summary of the disgraceful encounter.
"I don't know what's worse," Tina Brown's selection of the wild-eyed Michele Bachmann cover photo for Newsweek or her "bold-faced lie" defending the choice, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Fox News's Sean Hannity on his program last night.
"There's not a person in the face of this Earth that looks at that picture and says, 'she looks more presidential,' which is what Tina Brown" insisted on the August 10 edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Liberal bias is rampant among the media, but there is no more tangible example of it than in how the media treat Conservative women. The most recent cover of Newsweek features a very wide-eyed Michele Bachmann, looking surprised and unattractive. Perhaps more disturbing is the caption Newsweek placed below the presidential candidate's photo: "Queen of Rage."
Bachmann, an attractive 55 year-old mother of five, is a three term member of the House of Representatives, constitutional conservative and prominent voice of the Tea Party movement. But if you get your information from liberals or the mainstream media, you might know her as 'crazy,' a "zombie" a"phony-ass broad" and a "skank."
With such esteemed liberal intellectual heavyweights like comedian Bill Maher and Al Gore calling for the liberal grassroots to stand up and make their voices heard, CNN's Carol Costello floated the idea of a liberal version of the Tea Party on Monday.
"Does America need a liberal Tea Party?" Costello asked during the 11 a.m. EDT hour of CNN's Newsroom. Costello was not completely enthusiastic over the idea – she worried that it could "lead to more hyper-partisanship," as if the Tea Party was already doing enough of that.
This was going to be a column insisting that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida run for president of the United States. Now. Even though he has ruled out the possibility; even though he is but a baby senator. (Neither of these considerations has invariably stopped people in the past.)
But no: That's not this column. Not because I don't think it might be an excellent idea, but because I take a man at his word. He has a young family that has already endured a long and brutal campaign. And I'm actually not a fan of leaping from two minutes in the Senate to a potential presidency. As one seasoned political pro puts it: "We don't do ourselves or our future leaders any favors by rushing the wine before its time. Reagan would not have been nearly as good a president had he won in '68 or '76 as he was in '80, having been tempered by failure and steeled by defeat and adversity."
John Kerry is on a crusade to destroy the Tea Party. To blame the Tea Party for the S&P downgrade is like blaming the Betty Ford Clinic for alcoholism. The entire existence of the Tea Party movement has been based on an attempt to stop the runaway spending of Washington – by the likes of John Kerry. Any media outlet that features his outrageous blame game remarks without challenging his serial dishonesty is giving aid and comfort to the crusade to vilify and extinguish conservative thought.
If this is the ‘Tea Party downgrade’ then I’m the fairy godmother. No, this is a well-coordinated effort by the left-wing to deflect bad news – very bad news – away from their very left-wing President Obama.
On Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC, host David Gregory allowed Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to blame Standard and Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt on the Tea Party without challenge. However, minutes later, in an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain, Gregory was quick to accuse Republicans of "politicizing" the issue by criticizing Democrats.
After quoting a statement from House Speaker John Boehner on the downgrade – which cited the unwillingness of Democrats to curb massive government spending as a cause – Gregory fretted to McCain: "Do you not see this downgrade as something akin to war that should galvanize political leadership on both sides of the aisle, rather than politicizing it?"
While the liberal media scoffed at George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" in 1999 and 2000 as gimmicky and insufficient compared to traditional big government social welfare spending binges, they're starting to miss it now.
We are engaged in a long war — actually two long wars. The first and most commonly accepted of our wars is the long war against Islamofascists. It is not a war against vast armies. Comparatively speaking, it is just a war against a handful of thugs, but they want to strike at our heart, wherever we are ill-prepared, and if they can they will cause incalculable destruction. This we discovered on September 11, 2001. We are on the hem of wiping al-Qaeda out, but there are other thugs waiting. We must be vigilant against them. It will be a long war.
The second long war is at home on budgetary matters. That both the left and the right are in a fury about an early battle in that war, the debt-ceiling battle, suggests just how long that war will be. We have little consensus on this war. Yet a war it is, and a very long war I fear it will be. It is a war to balance the budget, putting the economy on a sustainable course, ensuring growth and jobs. It is a war to get the country back to a federal budget that accounts for 20 percent of GDP rather than the 25 percent of GDP that President Obama has snatched from us while we were not looking.
"During the Clinton years, there was great discipline in the Democratic ranks where they could all speak on-message. There continues to be the same great discipline in liberal ranks, but they've just torqued it up ten degrees now," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Fox News viewers on the August 4 "Hannity."
The Media Research Center founder made that argument after host Sean Hannity played a montage of liberal media reporters and pundits compared Tea Party conservatives in the House of Representatives to suicide bombers for their principled stand on the debt ceiling debate.
"I think this is going to backfire big-time on them," Bozell concluded.
Hannity and Bozell also discussed Chris Matthews arguing that Republicans hate Obama and want to kill him, "politically," that is.
For the full segment's video, watch the embedded video that appears below the page break or click here for MP3 audio.
On Thursday's The Situation Room, Fareed Zakaria said the tactics used by Tea Party congressmen in the debt ceiling debate were akin to holding the country hostage and threatening to "blow up" the economy.
"So nobody has ever held a country hostage and say [sic] if you don't pass our policies, we'll blow up the economy, we'll blow up the credibility of the United States," Zakaria remarked on CNN Thursday. He called the recent debt ceiling fight "unprecedented" and slammed the Tea Party for its refusal to compromise.
According to the website Politico, Vice President Joe Biden agreed "with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting" that congressional tea party members "acted like terrorists" in the way they stood against attempts to raise taxes and force spending reductions as part of the debt-ceiling deal.
Biden denied making the comparison. Given the heated rhetoric behind and in front of the scenes, the use of such a phrase, particularly in light of Biden's known salty language, has credibility.
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Wednesday continued to ramp up the newspaper's vitriolic attacks against Tea Party conservatives, bizarrely describing them as "cannibals" "zombies" and "vampires."
Connecting the debt ceiling deal to The Exorcist, Halloween and Alien (among other horror movies), Dowd offered these hyperbolic comparisons:
Monday night, to the surprise of many, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to the Capitol to cast her first vote since being shot in the head by Jared Lee Loughner seven months ago. Her triumphant return brought cheers from everyone in the room, despite their contentious disagreements over the past few weeks.
Ironically, these disagreements have often turned to using the same violent rhetoric that was so widely blamed by the media as the reason for Loughner's violent shooting spree. In reality, martial rhetoric is virtually ubiquitous in our political system, but the same people who condemned it seven months ago are now hypocritically using the same language, having no problem calling Tea Partiers "terrorists," "kidnappers," or congressmen on a "suicide mission."
If there has been anything unifying the mainstream media coverage of the debt crisis, it has been attacking the Tea Party. Last night on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart joined the chorus, railing against the Tea Party's dislike of the debt deal, which he claimed they won through the plan's spending cuts, even though the cuts are in fact quite small.
According to Stewart, the Tea Party freshmen control less than half of the House, but they are the ones who caused the ruckus of forcing billions in spending cuts. He went on to say Tea Partiers don't want a government at all and likened them to bank robbers taking everyone hostage.
Ever creative in finding things for which to blame the "right wing," Salon magazine is criticizing conservatives in a headline ("Planned Parenthood Firebombed, Right Wing Silent") about an apparent incident in McKinney, Texas last Tuesday in which an unknown person allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at a Planned Parenthood establishment.
No one with even superficial understanding of conservatives and a sound mind could conclude the conservative movement supports throwing Molotov cocktails at business establishments, even left-wing ones. That we did not comment on an incident that received almost no press attention and at which no one was injured is more logically attributed to the fact that we, like almost everyone else on the planet, had no idea it took place.
On Monday, Politico reported that "several sources" in a private meeting of House Democrats confirmed that Vice President Joe Biden accused Tea Party Republicans of having "acted like terrorists." CBS and ABC completely punted the story on their evening and morning newscasts. NBC made mention of the controversy, but only to further Biden's denial of having made the comment.
CBS's omission was particularly stunning given that Evening News anchor Scott Pelley interviewed the Vice President on Monday. Politico noted that Pelley actually did ask about the 'terrorist' remark: "'I did not use the terrorism word,' Biden told CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley." However, Pelley's question and Biden's denial were completely scrubbed from the portion of the interview aired on Monday's Evening News or Tuesday's Early Show.
Today Tucson congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) cast her first vote since she was critically injured in a January shooting.
You'll recall that in the weeks that followed, the media bemoaned the incivility -- supposedly predominantly conservative in nature -- of the political debate which had allegedly created a climate of hate.
But there appears to to be no firestorm over how, just last week, Arizona Daily Star cartoonist David Fitzsimmons fantasized about President Obama sending a SEAL team to assassinate Tea Party-friendly House Republicans.
In a discussion with Meet the Press host David Gregory and Tom Brokaw on Monday's NBC Today about the debt ceiling deal, co-host Ann Curry contemptuously wondered: "...do you think that members of the Tea Party Caucus know how to govern or are they – do they understand that standing up for a cause is not the same as governing?" [Audio available here]
Interestingly, Brokaw rejected Curry's argument: "Well, I don't think that you can separate the two. The fact is that they were elected to pursue the goals that they took before their constituents and said, 'This is what we believe in, this is why we're going to Washington.' And they have changed the tenor of the debate there and the details of it." He further added: "...this has been a big morning for them so far..."
For the past month, as the debt talks slogged on in Washington, the so-called mainstream media unleashed increasingly hysterical attacks on the Tea Party and anti-tax hike conservatives — epitomizing the liberal elite’s supreme annoyance at the push to curb federal spending and contain the size of government.
The media’s disdainful language has ranged from the merely condescending (wondering whether the Tea Partiers in Congress actually knew how things worked, or referring to them as children), to outright hostile (likening the Tea Party to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups). Here are some of the choicer examples MRC has collected over the past 30 days:
Yet Zeleny’s analysis was chock full of the typical liberal bias slant that puffs up President Obama, slams the Tea Party as “intractable” and ignores the partisanship of liberal Senate members, particularly Harry Reid (emphasis mine):
After asking Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to discard his talking points and be frank on the debt ceiling issue, CNN's Don Lemon repeatedly interrupted the senator, and even lectured him and threw some Democrat talking points at him. Lemon interviewed Paul on Saturday's 5 p.m. EDT edition of CNN Newsroom.
"At this point though, and can we do this – let's do this interview without talking points, okay, let's just talk to each other," Lemon curtly told the senator at the outset. But then he asked a pointed question which made Paul raise his eyebrows.
During a commentary aired on CBS Sunday Morning, supposedly right-leaning actor and economist Ben Stein blamed the "folly of supply side economics" - singling out President George W. Bush’s tax cuts in addition to President Obama’s spending - for the current federal budget deficit. The CBS contributor also complained that some Republicans have an "inflexible belief" that "low taxes were an American birthright."
He also complained that the Tea Partiers "insisted on the basically impossible, an immediate cut in federal spending, large enough to balance the budget without tax increases. In this age of Medicare and Medicaid, two wars, massive federal debt, interest payments, staggering Social Security obligations, that was simply impossible."
Throughout his tenure, there have been several facets in which President Obama has been demonstrably weak on leadership, with the debt debate coming to the forefront in recent months. Now however, lost in that news cycle has been another failure of leadership for the President – his own request to tone down violent rhetoric in this country. For it was mere months ago that Obama stood in front of a crowd in Tucson that had anxiously sought leadership amidst the chaos of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting; a teachable moment that had The Guardiangushing about how the President had delivered “calm amid the toxic rhetoric.”
That moment of calm has long since dissipated. Where once the President had denounced discourse that places “the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do”, we hear Republicans blamed for holding the American people hostage to their economic policies. Where once we were urged to talk “with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds”, we now hear Tea Party members being denounced as terrorists.
Make no mistake, this ratcheting up of terrorism and hostage-taking discourse directly coincides with recent events in Norway. The instant that Oslo terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, was labeled as a ‘right-wing Christian’, liberals finally had their moment to seize upon - not just a chance to label conservatives as extreme ideologues but a chance to label them as violent ideologues. This message has been a coordinated and vicious attack amongst the media, the Democrats, and most assuredly, the President.