New York Magazine apparently believes that opposing foreign aid is literally xenophobic - rooted in irrational fear of foreigners - and is willing to engage in some pretty sketchy journalistic practices to make its case. Those are a pair of lessons Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., learned on Tuesday.
If the Wall Street Republicans and the conservative Republicans don't resolve their differences and work as a TEAM ("together everyone achieves more"), we will go back to having a Democratic majority in Congress and President Barack Obama will be re-elected for another four years.
Ripples began to form last year when then Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky spouted what some say were typical libertarian views but what to others sounded like criticisms of the fixed and firm Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Pro-government union protests in Wisconsin and elsewhere have provided some stunning insight into the double standards that pervade coverage of major protest movements. One such double standard lies in media treatment of threats against public officials. News of the release of more than 100 pages of documented threats against officials of both parties in Wisconsin has brought that double standard to light.
Very often such threats are most intensely focused on a single individual perceived as the leader of the ideological or political opposition. President Obama was the target of perhaps less overt, if certainly as menacing threats during the early stages of his administration when a handful of demonstrators brought firearms to a presidential town hall meeting. That of course dominated the airwaves for the following week, as many in the media bemoaned what they presented almost uniformly as hints at assassination.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker, like President Obama, became the target of much of the rage from pro-union demonstrators. And like Obama, Walker received some very vocal - and in many cases more overt - threats against his life. Unlike threats against the president, however, those directed at Walker have received scant press attention outside of Wisconsin media.
Can someone call himself a Tea Party candidate even though he has no visible support from local Tea Party groups and has been asked by one of them not to run? The Associated Press's Carolyn Thompson apparently thinks so.
Thompson's 3:03 p.m. report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) makes no mention of congressional candidate Jack Davis's lack of Tea Party group support. The AP reporter also waited until the final paragraph of her 17-paragraph report to tell readers that Davis is "a wealthy Republican businessman" who ran for Congress in 2004, 2006, and 2008 -- as a Democrat.
The large body of evidence that Davis is not a legitimate Tea Party candidate consists of at least the following:
In an interview with Speaker of the House John Boehner on Tuesday's Today on NBC, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the upcoming debate on raising the nation's debt limit: "...after the news surfaced that Osama bin Laden had been killed there was this – a good feeling in this country....Are we going to see that unity shattered in the coming weeks when we start to debate things like the debt ceiling?"
Boehner explained the importance of addressing the issue: "45 of the last 50 years we spent more money than what we brought in. We cannot continue to do that without imprisoning the future for our kids and grandkids. So this is the moment, now, to address those problems as adults." In response, Lauer quoted Boehner's recent call for cutting trillions in spending and wondered: "When you look at the gut-wrenching negotiations that took place to get $39 billion in cuts for the 2011 continuing resolution, how in the world are you going to get trillions of dollars in cuts?"
Steinhauer’s profile, while not overtly hostile, contained no less than eight ideological labels to describe the “conservative” West, not including the first word of the headline, while his comments on feminism and support for Israel were labeled “incendiary.” This from a newspaper that constantly refers to the truly incendiary Al Sharpton as a “civil rights activist.” A sampling:
But the most compelling part of Representative Allen B. West of Florida is his own biography, there for all to see: an African-American Tea Party activist Republican congressman and ally of hard-right Israelis who, after his beloved career in the Army ended under a cloud, defeated the sitting Democrat in a largely white, politically polarized district here and quickly became one of the right’s most visible spokesmen.
Mr. West’s popularity among conservatives goes far beyond South Florida. He was chosen to give the keynote speech in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and is frequently featured on the Fox News Channel and in other conservative settings where he enjoys explaining, reiterating or unleashing any number of incendiary remarks concerning what he often calls “the other side.”
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday played up how opponents of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan shouted down GOP representatives at recent town hall meetings, but downplayed them as "less than friendly," and marveled at their apparently "poignant" questions. The network also omitted how liberal groups targeted these meetings, and trumpeted the "nasty national shouting match" at health care town hall meetings in 2009.
News anchor Jeff Glor noted how "House Republicans are back home for the first time since passing an aggressive deficit cutting plan, including the architect of that plan, Congressman Paul Ryan." Glor used the "less than friendly" label immediately before playing a clip of an unidentified protester shouting, "Ryan, stop lying!" outside a town hall meeting held by the Republican in Wisconsin, and another of a woman who directly accused him of "screwing our generation and the next generation."
For the second day in a row, MSNBC's Chris Matthews excoriated the Tea Party, trashing them as supporting cuts in Medicaid because that's a program for "poor people." On Thursday's Hardball, however, he added a new attack, asserting that Tea Partiers don't like Medicaid because it's used by "minorities."
Talking to Newsweek's Richard Wolffe, Matthews cited a Marist poll showing little appetite for cuts to the program. After noticing that the highest level of support for reductions comes from self-identified Tea Partiers, the host smeared, "And the only one the Tea Party people want to cut is Medicaid because it's for poor people and minorities."
Brooks Thistlethwaite -- who previously hit Tea Party conservatives as tribalistic -- apparently believes that politically conservative Christians are trying to serve two masters, Jesus and Ayn Rand (emphasis mine):
Appearing on Sunday’s Today show on NBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory seemed to lump people who think President Obama is "the worst President" or who "don’t like the President" in with "extremists" as he explained real estate developer Donald Trump’s appeal among some Republican voters as a potential presidential candidate.
After co-anchor Natalie Morales cited poll numbers showing Trump topping other potential Republican candidates, Gregory gave his explanation for the support:
Part of that, he’s got name recognition, he’s got money, and he's out there talking in a way that is attention-seeking and attention-grabbing, whether he's talking about the President's birth certificate which is a settled issue or talking about him being the worst President in the United States. So he's going to reach some of those extremists who don't like the President and will be able to grab some of that attention.
Below is a transcript of a greater portion of Gregory’s words from the Sunday, April 17, Today show on NBC:
CBS's Jan Crawford spotlighted the Tea Party movement on Monday's Early Show, but also played up how it might present a "challenge" for potential Republican presidential candidates due its apparent unpopularity: "Recent polls show 47% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the movement. So candidates looking for Tea Party votes have to be careful not to alienate moderates."
Midway through her report, after noting the would-be GOP presidential candidates, such as Tim Pawlenty and Donald Trump, who showed up at some of the weekend rallies, the correspondent turned to possible downside that these politicians might face in appealing to the Tea Party, playing up a result from a recent CNN/Opinion Dynamics poll:
Whoever is compiling a list of what journalists really believe when they put forth certain vague but commonly used phrases (e.g., using "some people believe" instead of truthfully saying "in my opinion") should consider adding the following: "small but vocal group" really means "a tiny bunch of people I agree with."
That's my assessment as I look at two uses of the term this past weekend, each referring to pathetically small gatherings of people using tax-filing weekend as a excuse to protest "corporate tax loopholes."
The first comes to us via David Roeder of the Chicago Sun-Times (HT JammieWearingFool via Instapundit), where the paper's headline writers cooked up something that would give those who didn't read the underlying report the impression that the city's Tea Party Tax Day protest was small:
The Republicans did not win this budget fight, but the cuts they were able to extract illustrate, ironically, that Democrats are finally on the defensive. Scorekeeping aside, we must build on this non-victory because it was also a Democratic retreat.
Last week, I argued that the GOP should not cave on the budget negotiations for many reasons, including that today is not 1995-96. Things are so much different now, especially because of the existential threat to the republic that the exploding national debt represents.
If Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite actually believed in Hell, she'd probably preach that Tea Partiers were headed there unless they repented and backed higher taxes and more government spending.
The liberal seminary professor and Washington Post/Newsweek "On Faith" contributor last Wednesday lashed out at the "fundamentalism" of Tea Party calls for fiscal restraint, insisting that conservative takes on the federal budget were un-Christian, "tribal" and racist in nature:
Appearing on Sunday’s Good Morning America on ABC, This Week host Christiane Amanpour suggested that Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s perceived victory in recent budget negotiations with President Obama could be harmful in the long run as it will "give Republicans a lot more wind in their sail" and make it more difficult for both sides to compromise on the larger portions of the budget.
Co-anchor Bianna Golodryga set up the line of thinking as she posed the question: "Since both sides avoided the backlash that would have come with the government shut down that could have potentially taught them a lesson, is there risk that they'll overplay their hand on obviously this much more controversial debate over the debt limit now heightened?"
Amanpour passed on the view by some that the recent budget deal would hinder the negotiation of future agreements: "And some people are saying that with the victory, because many people are saying that this government shutdown deal was a victory for, by and large, Speaker Boehner, that that might give the Republicans a lot more wind in their sail at a time when analysts say that it really needs bipartisan work to get some of these huge, big issues sorted out."
As the prospect of a government shutdown continued to make headlines today, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer accused Republicans of exploiting servicemen's paychecks for political gain, even though the House approved legislation to fund the Pentagon in the event of a shutdown and President Barack Obama threatened to veto such a measure should it reach his desk.
Interviewing Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), the daytime anchor spun the debate over the 2011 budget as a false choice between paying the troops or defunding Planned Parenthood.
After NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer joined Senator Chuck Schumer on Wednesday in labeling the Tea Party as the cause of the budget stalemate in Congress, on Thursday, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell again provided a platform for Democratic talking points in an interview with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
O'Donnell, who spoke with Reid Wednesday night, began with a challenge: "If there were a shutdown, are you responsible? At least in part?" Reid replied: "How can we be blamed when we have given them everything they want and they won't take yes for an answer?" She then summarized the Democratic argument: "Reid said Republicans refuse to compromise....[his] answer is blame the Tea Party."
Ilario Pantano, a former sniper, sat in my office, rolling his shirtsleeve back down after showing me the United States Marine Corps tattoo on his arm. He wasn't showing off. He was making a point. "If my country is worth dying for, it's worth fighting for." Which is what brought him to Washington.
He's put his life on the line in the Marines, and now the North Carolina resident is in the embryonic stages of his second run for Congress. Last year, he fared reasonably well in a district that's been voting Democrat since the Reconstruction. The problems that called him to duty on the campaign trail have not gone away, and the people who had faith in him still deserve an alternative to their current representation. So Pantano feels like he owes them a second try. And with his national-security and economics experience available during a critical time in our history, he owes his country another effort, too.
Thursday’s front-page story by New York Times investigative reporter Mike McIntire, “Odd Alliance: Business Lobby And Tea Party.” accused a Tea Party group, the Institute for Liberty, of pushing the agenda of Asia Pulp & Paper, an Indonesian corporation fighting U.S. tariffs.
Whatever the merits of this particular complaint, this sort of prominently placed, hostile investigation of a conservative-friendly group is a specialty of McIntire’s. In a front-page article from September 2010 he went after the group Americans for Job Security, one of a flurry of McIntire exposes on the eve of the 2010 Congressional election cycle on groups with Tea Party ties.
His colleague Michael Luo went further, writing stories about “anonymous donors” trying to help Republicans “buy an election” and hinting the IRS and the Federal Election Commission should take a look at some of the Republican-friendly groups. By contrast, similar stories on Democratic groups were sporadic and belated.
McIntire’s latest story was accompanied by a fanciful flow chart showing the alleged close links between the Institute for Liberty, Frontiers of Freedom, and various other free-market lobbying firms and activist groups, headlined, “A Hidden Lobby For Indonesian Paper?” In Times land, there are no coincidences and everything is connected, at least when it comes to conservative activism.
The Tea Party does not have a presence in Indonesia, where the term evokes cups of orange pekoe and sweet cakes rather than angry citizens in “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirts.
On Tuesday's In the Arena on CNN, Bill Maher channeled the far left's frustration with President Obama: "This is one of my big problems with our president. He never blames the Republicans for anything. He's their best friend....There's an oil rig that blows up in the Gulf of Mexico, and the party of drill, baby, drill does not get blamed." Host Eliot Spitzer also joined Maher in bashing the Tea Party.
The two liberals vented about domestic politics during the second half of the segment, which began 18 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Spitzer mouthed off his regular talking points about how "the middle class has been squeezed and has suffered....[and] the top 2 or 3 percent has profited amazingly well. And then...we had this financial meltdown, caused primarily by Wall Street." He then lamented how this situation hasn't benefitted his fellow liberals as much as he'd like, which led to Maher bashing the apparent stupidity of the Tea Party:
Following the March 8 release of an undercover sting video of NPR executive Ron Schiller calling Tea Party members "racist," CBS initially gave no coverage to the ensuing scandal and resignations of him and NPR President Vivian Schiller. However, it turns out that the controversy was covered by a CBS News broadcast, the barely-watched 4 A.M. Morning News.
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric did a news brief on House Republicans voting to de-fund NPR: "Republicans say NPR does well enough to fund itself, but Democrats say a cutoff of federal money would cripple some 600 public radio stations." She failed to make any mention of the scandal that preceded the vote.
ABC's George Stephanopoulos still doesn't understand the difference between the Tea Party movement and the birther movement.
On the March 17 edition of "Good Morning America," the former Bill Clinton campaign operative characterized Donald Trump's political maneuvering as an attempt to court the Tea Party by pandering to birthers.
The damage control effort over at National Public Radio (NPR) is at such a state that they've consulted a piece from Glenn Beck's TheBlaze.com to argue it's the victim of a smear operation. On Sunday morning's "Weekend Edition," NPR delved into the report.
When a sting operation launched by conservative James O'Keefe recorded a top NPR Foundation fundraiser making disparaging comments about Republicans and tea partiers, NPR faced heavy public scrutiny. But a publication created by Glenn Beck, described by an NPR correspondent as a "sort of a conservative 'Huffington Post,'" used the full-cut video of the operation, released after the original edited video, to argue that O'Keefe may have cut the video to cast some comments out of context.
(Click here for the NPR story, which includes audio and transcript of the segment.)
Only ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday highlighted claims by a NPR executive, caught in an undercover sting operation, that Tea Party members are "seriously racist" people. CBS's Early Show completely skipped the subject. NBC's Today allowed a brief mention during a news read.
GMA's Jake Tapper extensively highlighted quotes by the outgoing Ron Schiller: "The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian." In the tapes he can be seen adding, "They believe the term, white, middle-America, gun-toting – I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."
Tapper noted that shows such as Sesame Street and Frontline are award-winning. He explained, "Republicans say, then, fine. They should be just well and good without federal funding."
Kate Zernike, Tea Party-beat reporter for the New York Times, whose reporting on the movement is marked by hostility and unfounded suspicions of racism, switched to the pro-union left-wing protests in Wisconsin for the front of the Sunday Week in Review, “As Goes Wisconsin...” The subhead: “The Midwest’s legacy of labor activism -- and conservative pushback -- are both in play today at the Capitol in Madison.”
Zernike set out the contradictory history of labor in Wisconsin before moving on to the top names on the liberal enemy’s list, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is demanding limits on public-sector unions, and the Koch brothers, whose vast philanthropy includes donations to groups all along the political spectrum.
Appearing as a panel member on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show on Sunday, as host Matthews led the group in discussing potential Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s recent gaffe about President Obama growing up in Kenya, Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel predicted that the eventual Republican nominee would have a "Sister Souljah moment with the Tea Party." Stengel:
Right, what we've seen in presidential politics always, always, always is that pragmatism trumps purity. These guys are now trying to be too pure. What we’re going to have somewhere... I mean, Huckabee, all of these folks are trying to be ideologically aligned with the Tea Party. What’s going to happen at some point is the Republican candidate will have his or her Sister Souljah moment with the Tea Party and say, you know what, we have to-
After Matthews jumped in and asked if Stengel meant "standing up against ... nativism," the Time managing editor agreed, "Absolutely."
On his first day at MSNBC, new host Martin Bashir immediately adopted the network's liberal line, attacking a conservative Congressman for advocating severe spending cuts, deriding it as "the most disingenuous play on the American people."
Previewing the interview with Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois, Bashir noted that he has refused congressional health care. The anchor solemnly wondered, "Is that his idea of health care for every American?"
"It's like they have the same writer!" Fox News' Sean Hannity marveled after watching a montage of liberal journalists comparing the labor union protests in Madison, Wisconsin, with the anti-Mubarak demonstrations weeks ago in Cairo.
"Sean, this is really goofy. These reporters should be embarrassed," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell agreed on last night's "Hannity."
"If you want to find a comparison, I'll give you a comparison. What do Mubarak, Qadhafi, and the Democratic legislators have in common?" the Media Research Center founder asked Hannity, answering with the punchline, "They're all in hiding."
A couple of loaded ideological labels made it into Wednesday’s New York Times. On the first page of the National section, Sabrina Tavernise and A.G. Sulzberger (son of Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.) collaborated on the latest news from Wisconsin: “Thousands March on Capitols as Union Turmoil Spreads.”
But Republicans could also gain, said Gene Beaupre, a political science professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Taking a cost-cutting position against unions is part of the mantra for far-right groups like the Tea Party, and not necessarily unpopular.