One day before what many say will be an historic election; CNBC appears to finally be embracing one of the most famous moments in the network’s history: A Feb. 19, 2009 “rant heard around the world” by CME Group floor reporter Rick Santelli, which is credited by many for igniting the Tea Party movement.
Throughout the day on Nov. 1, CNBC aired a 30-second spot encouraging viewers to tune into its network for election night coverage. The promo said to tune to CNBC “when the economy is topic A” and concluded with part of Santelli’s famous rant, “President Obama, are you listening?”
Although the Rally to Restore Sanity definitely had a decidedly liberal tinge to it, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart did his level best to ensure his official message was that of "a pox on both your houses" to raised voices on the Right and Left in cable news media.
Of course the thin-skinned host of MSNBC's "Countdown" won't have any of it, leaving liberal fans of both Stewart and Olbermann torn between the two.
ABC’s World News Sunday gave attention to black Republicans who have a good chance of getting elected in this year’s congressional elections, focusing on Tim Scott of South Carolina and Ryan Frazier of Colorado, and even showing a clip of Allen West of Florida. Anchor Dan Harris set up the report: "Two years after the historic election of America's first African-American President, there is now a huge wave of black candidates running against Barack Obama. Many of these candidates have the full support of the largely white Republican Party and the Tea Party."
As correspondent Ron Claiborne filed a report, early on a soundbite was shown of South Carolina’s Scott explaining why he believes in the Tea Party movement. Scott: "I think if you believe in conservative government, if you believe in free markets or capitalism, if you believe in not spending money you don't have, you're a Tea Party member as well."
Claiborne soon informed viewers that the South Carolina Republican is expected to make history: "If Scott is elected from this Charleston district, he would be the first African-American Republican elected to the House of Representatives from the Deep South since 1901. This year, 42 African-Americans ran for the Republican nomination for House seats; 14 of them won. And, like Republicans everywhere this year, they are harsh critics of President Obama."
Good Morning America's Claire Shipman on Friday used no liberal labels in a friendly piece to promote Jon Stewart's rally in Washington, Saturday. Yet, on August 28, she warned viewers about the "right-wing" Glenn Beck and his protest in the nation's capital.
Shipman credulously asserted of Stewart and fellow comedian Stephen Colbert: "But what are we to make of a couple of comedians who say they have no political agenda drawing huge crowds to Washington a few days before elections?"
The ABC journalist simply parroted Stewart's claims: "[Stewart] insists he's not the answer to Glenn Beck. He's been talking about a different message." Even though Shipman reported that liberals such as singer Sheryl Crow and actor Sam Waterston will be attending, she never used ideological labels.
Journalists are practically giddy in anticipation of this weekend's Jon Stewart rally on the National Mall. The Rally's staff has recieved more than 1,000 requests for press credentials for the event. Only 400 were given out.
Those statistics underscore just how much the media loves Stewart's leftist message (and it is a leftist message). For some perspective, consider that the September 12, 2010 Tea Party on the Mall received roughly 150 requests for press credentials, according to FreedomWorks, which sponsored the event.
My military friends have a favorite saying: "If you're not catching flak, you're not over the target." This campaign season, conservative women in politics have caught more flak than WWII Lancaster bombers over Berlin. Despite daily assaults from the Democratic machine, liberal media and Hollyweird — not to mention the stray fraggings from Beltway GOP elites — the ladies of the right have maintained their dignity, grace and wit. Voters will remember in November.
When "comedian" and "The View" co-host Joy Behar lambasted GOP Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle this week as a "b*tch" who would be "going to h*ll" for using images of illegal alien gang members in a campaign ad, Angle responded by sending a lovely bouquet of flowers and a good-humored note: "Joy, Raised $150,000 online yesterday. Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Sharron Angle."
Actor and former Obama White House staffer Kal Penn joined Alyssa Milano and a handful of other actors in a short video urging "Funny or Die" website visitors to take time to vote next Tuesday, comparing the time it would take to do so with "much worse ways to spend 10 minutes," like "talk[ing] to your parents about the first time they had sex." [h/t blogger Robert Stacy McCain]
"That is a long ten minutes," Eric McCormack deadpanned in response.
But far from being a simple "do your civic duty and vote" PSA, the video skews leftward, taking thinly-veiled swipes at social conservatives and Tea Party voters.
It takes about ten minuts to "listen to your stupid uncle talk about the dangers of gay marriage," actor Eriq LaSalle noted.
There is an axiom that is adhered to by conservative journalists that explains at least some of what for liberals is this inexplicable election. It is the Taranto Principle. Coined by the inimitable James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal, the Taranto Principle encourages the worst in liberals by reporting politics with a slavish bias. The conservatives can do nothing right. The liberals can do nothing wrong, and besides, they are always more winsome and more intelligent, and moreover they have an aesthetic and philosophical side. Even Vice President Joe Biden has an aesthetic and philosophical side. His malapropisms and goofball pronunciamentos are to be perceived from an artistic and philosophical perspective, as the artiste Chris Ofili's artful uses of elephant dung are to be perceived from an artistic and philosophical perspective.
I am serious. If the art of Ofili, the British-born hustler, were reported as not art but animal waste, he might have learned the rudiments of art a long time ago and become an acceptable street artiste. If Biden were reported to have bungled yet again, he might not say such idiotic things. According to the Taranto Principle, biased liberal reporting brings out the worst in liberals and makes them ridiculous and often unelectable.
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, during a 21-minute "Special Comment," MSNBC host Keith Olbermann warned American voters against electing Tea Party Republicans to power, whom he suggested are "unqualified, unstable individuals" who will take America "backward to Jim Crow, or backward to the breadlines of the ‘30s, or backward to hanging union organizers." He then made a play off MSNBC’s "Lean Forward" slogan to disparage the Tea Party movement as he declared: "Vote backward, vote Tea Party."
After reading a list of controversial quotes and policy positions he disagreed with that have been spoken by a list of Tea Party-backed Republican candidates, whom he referred to as "cranks, menaces, mercenaries and authoritarians," he went on to suggest that the Tea Party movement is a greater threat than America’s foreign enemies, and preemptively blamed those who would vote for these candidates as having "enabled" a "cataclysm": "If you sit there next Tuesday, if you sit there tomorrow, and the rest of this week, and you let this cataclysm unfold, you have enabled this. It is one thing to be attacked by those who would destroy America from without. It is a worse thing to be attacked by those who would destroy America from within."
A panel full of liberals on Wednesday's Good Morning America attacked the "angry, white" Tea Partiers and lauded the historical importance of Jon Stewart. Daily Beast editor Tina Brown gushed over the liberal comedian as " the only trusted branch of government." [MP3 audio here. Click on blog for video.]
Previewing the comic's rally on Washington this Saturday, the former Vanity Fair editor hyperbolically enthused, "You know, I mean, in the end, Stewart and Colbert, really are like the Huntley and Brinkley of today in the sense that people really, really trust them."
GMA host George Stephanopoulos also featured D.L. Hughley. The actor dismissed Glenn Beck and the Tea Party movement: "There were a bunch of angry, white people, saying they wanted their freedom back. If that doesn't call for some kind of answer. Like it's the white Harriet Tubman somewhere." The Morning Mix panel, a regular feature on GMA, featured no conservative voices.
When seeking political neutrality in a discussion of the Tea Party movement, it's probably best to avoid including - let alone promoting - a reporter who consistently suggests that racism undergirds the movement.
But that is exactly what the State Department did in selecting New York Times reporter Kate Zernike to brief foreign journalists on the Tea Party last Friday.
Conservative Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (R), a popular target of the mainstream media, was questioned on CNN’s “American Morning” for her statements about faith and prayer in her interview with Christian Broadcasting Network White House Correspondent David Brody. The Christian candidate cited prayer as playing a central role in her campaign, and her comments drew raised eyebrows over at CNN.
“For some people, they think this seems so arrogant, to pray to win a senate race, um, but how is it viewed in the evangelical community?” anchor Kiran Chetry asked Brody. Brody quickly responded by saying that O’Donnell isn’t praying for a victory, but rather, “God’s protection, and for, you know, people within her staff and the eyes of the voters to be open, so to speak.” Brody quickly pointed out to Chetry that the power of prayer is a mainstream concept among average Americans and that O’Donnell is being singled out because she is a political candidate. [Video after page break]
On Friday morning, after airing a full report on the Democratic strategy of painting Republican candidates as "dangerous" and "extreme," CBS’s The Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez seemed surprised when Republican guest Eric Cantor disagreed with her view that "there is no question these Tea Party Republicans are outside the Republican mainstream," and her suggestion that next year Republican congressional leaders may be in the "tricky position" of "feeling indebted to these candidates while trying to keep them in line."
And, picking up on Republican accusations of Democrats being extreme, the CBS anchor also wondered, "If these Tea Party-backed candidates win the election, wouldn't we just be going from one extreme to another?"
Meanwhile, over on the Today show, NBC’s David Gregory repeated the theory of some Democrats that Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell and other Tea Party-backed candidates are hurting Republicans in neighboring Pennsylvania. And, while he at least conceded that the Tea Party is a "legitimate movement," he described Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle – in addition to O’Donnell – as "outliers." He did not acknowledge the role the mainstream media may be playing in turning swing voters against Tea Party candidates.
The report, released less than two weeks before the November elections, was actually authored by the far-left Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which promotes abortion rights, gay rights and fighting bigotry and racism, as noted by the Media Research Center’s Scott Whitlock. Zernike flattered the NAACP with her opening description, though these days the NAACP is less an honored civil rights organization and more a liberal activist group:
The nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization released a report Wednesday declaring that the Tea Party is “permeated with concerns about race,” an assessment that is likely to reignite a feud between the two groups.
The report released by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People argues that Tea Party groups “have given platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots,” and have attracted white nationalists looking for recruits.
“The Tea Party movement has unleashed a still inchoate political movement who are in their numerical majority, angry middle-class white people who believe their country, their nation, has been taken from them,” it says.
The study was written by Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which is dedicated to examining and mobilizing against racist, anti-Semitic and far-right social movements. It analyzed what it calls six nationwide Tea Party networks at the core of the movement, and concludes that leaders of all but one -- FreedomWorks, a libertarian group in Washington headed by Dick Armey, a former House Republican majority leader -- have raised questions about the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate.
What do birth certificate questions have to do with racism?
In the wake of Virginia Thomas requesting an apology from Anita Hill, on Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Chris Wragge used the story to raise questions about Thomas's political involvement: "That phone call is bringing up new scrutiny upon Virginia Thomas, who is not just an angry spouse but also a long-time advocate of conservative causes."
In the report that followed, CBS chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford implied that since Virginia Thomas is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas her conservative activism in a conflict of interest: "She has long advocated for conservative causes....she formed a grassroots conservative group called Liberty Central and has spoken at tea party conventions....Critics have raised questions about her role in the group as the wife of a sitting Justice, and Mrs. Thomas, not one to suppress her opinions, has felt the heat."
The Democrats are about to be beaten by something that they do not in their heart of hearts think exists, a huge national majority. At this late hour, with the storm clouds gathering and the livestock getting restless, they see only sunshine. Yes, there is "foreign money" out there. Yes, the media have bungled broadcasting the purity of the Democratic message. And naturally, angry voices can be heard. Yet surely there is no majority gathering to unseat the party of decency and good deeds. Well, there is, and it is nothing like how the Democrats describe it.
That majority is amiable and sensible and believes in limited government. It is convinced that we face a catastrophic budget crisis and that measures must be taken against the spending and on behalf of growth. Furthermore, many of these friendly Americans would be delighted to give our president a ride home if they found him on a street corner, though they would be a lot happier if he did not live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. They doubt he would ask them in for a drink. After all, to him they do not exist.
Many of these people are tea partyers. Now, they certainly do exist. Yet they are nothing like what the Democrats believe them to be. They are not angry and warlike. They are concerned about what the Democrats have done these past months, but they will retire them the old-fashioned way, through the ballot box.
MSNBC's Thomas Roberts on Wednesday hyped an attack on the "racist" Tea Party by the left-wing Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR). Roberts never once mentioned the liberal slant of the group, instead passing it off as a "human rights group."
The News Live host interviewed Ben Jealous, the President of the NAACP, who wrote the forward to the report. Roberts parroted, "The Tea Party, the Racism Within. That is the provocative headline of a new report out today by a human rights organization. And some of its findings are pretty troubling."
What, exactly, does the IREHR believe? According to the group's website, it's focus is on promoting abortion rights, gay rights and fighting bigotry and racism from religious Americans.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith noted how President Obama was on the campaign trail "in hopes of avoiding a Democratic washout," but added, "he may be getting some help from Republicans....unintentional help." Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes exclaimed: "...we've been seeing a spate of strange claims from tea party candidates in recent weeks."
As supposed evidence of those "strange claims," Cordes pointed to Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell accurately noting that the phrase "separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the Constitution. Cordes remarked that O'Donnell's comment "actually drew gasps from her audience yesterday," and later concluded: "O'Donnell – who calls herself a strict constitutionalist – appeared unaware of one of the Constitution's most basic tenets."
In his Monday column, “Tales of the Tea Party,” Ross Douthat, the New York Times' s idea of a conservative, exploded four common Tea Party myths spread by the left. The text box read “The stories liberals tell themselves.” What Douthat couldn’t mention was that all four kinds of “stories” have been told by Times reporters as well.
Douthat began by debunking the Tea Party racism myth, one spread by the paper's Tea Party beat reporter Kate Zernike on several occasions, to the point of considering opposition to the minimum wage racially suspect.
A month ago, a U.C.L.A. graduate student named Emily Elkins spent hours roaming a Tea Party rally on the Washington Mall, photographing every sign she saw.
Elkins, a former CATO Institute intern, was examining the liberal conceit that Tea Party marches are rife with racism and conspiracy theorizing. Last week, The Washington Post reported on her findings: just 5 percent of the 250 signs referenced Barack Obama’s race or religion, and 1 percent brought up his birth certificate. The majority focused on bailouts, deficits and spending -- exactly the issues the Tea Partiers claim inspired their movement in the first place.
The easy thing would be to take them at their word. But for liberals, that would be too simple. The Democrats are weeks away from a midterm thumping that wasn’t supposed to happen, and the liberal mind is desperate for a narrative, a storyline, something to ease the pain of losing to a ragtag band of right-wing populists. Something that explains the Tea Parties -- and then explains them away.
The “Tea Partiers are racists” theory is the most inflammatory storyline, but there are many more. Let’s consider them, in order of increasing plausibility.
Douthat then posted some paragraphs under the following four bullet headlines of stories liberal tell themselves. Under Douthat’s headlines I've inserted examples of how Times reporters have told their readers those same liberal stories.
CBS reporter Lesley Stahl was very confused on Monday's "Morning Joe". She just couldn't figure out why there are so many women involved with the Tea Party.
Stahl received a basic civics lesson from two unlikely personalities: columnist Mike Barnicle, and Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review and author of "The Death of Conservatism".
Tanenhaus noted that economic issues are of particular importance to women, and therefore that women are going to be more active when their economic livelihood is threatened. Barnicle suggested that since women generally handle household finances, the illogic of deficit spending is especially clear to them (video and transcript below the fold - h/t Caroline May).
Conservative Republican Senator "Jim DeMint relishes life on the Republican fringe," a teaser headline on the website for the Los Angeles Times noted this afternoon (see screen capture below at right).
"The South Carolina senator's refusal to compromise has made him a conservative hero. He showers cash on 'tea party' candidates like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul, but he's winning few friends in D.C.," reads the subheadline to Tribune newspapers Washington bureau writer Lisa Mascaro's October 18 story.
You know Lee Greenwood: He's the country-music star who hit patriotic pay dirt with his 1980s hit song "God Bless the U.S.A."
Joe Miller, the Republican nominee for Senate in Alaska, looks much like Greenwood, to the point that he could easily be mistaken for the singer if he ever strolled through Nashville. And, listening to Miller speak, you hear echoes of Greenwood's famous tune. The tea party may not be looking for a single spokesman or leader, but in Joe Miller it has its personification: an outsider, a constitutionalist and someone who's thoroughly fed up with the political system's disrespect for the common man.
If I brought Greenwood up to Miller, he wouldn't wax nostalgic about the '80s, or assess the fine pleasures of a Hannity Freedom Concert. Miller would probably want to know why I spent three sentences talking about anything other than policy solutions. There's no shooting the breeze with Joe Miller. When he recently dropped by National Review's Capitol Hill office, the Alaskan was, in the words of my colleague Bob Costa, "cool as ice."
Miller's coolness is refreshing in such hot political times. A former U.S. Army officer who earned a Bronze Star in the first Gulf War, Miller gives the impression of great seriousness. He's a man on a mission.
Perhaps the people at National Public Radio are worried that a new Republican Congress could threaten the lavishness of its federal subsidies again. Or maybe NPR is just a sandbox for the Left. But on Wednesday, the show Fresh Air spent most of its hour suggesting the Republican Party was dangerously infested with extremists. The guest was socialist Princeton professor Sean Wilentz, who has written that George W. Bush practiced "a radicalized version of Reaganism." Host Terry Gross was promoting Wilentz's article in The New Yorker on Glenn Beck and the Tea Party:
GROSS: Can you think of another time in American history when there have been as many people running for Congress who seem to be on the extreme?
WILENTZ: Not running for Congress, no. I mean even back in the '50s.
This is par for the course, since Gross promoted a New Yorker piece by Jane Mayer just a few weeks ago (on August 26) on how the Koch brothers were funding the Tea Party as part of a "war" on that secular saint, President Obama. What stuck out in this interview was the use of "extreme" labels for the conservative movement and the GOP -- twelve of them. In Sesame Street lingo, the hour was brought to you by the letter E for Extreme. Most of them came in Gross's restate-the-thesis (or in this case, restate-the-attack-ad) "if you're just joining us" reintroductions.
Conservative Richard Viguerie brought his criticism of CNN's "left-of-center" bent on Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, and recommended that the network bring on more "articulate conservatives." The two CNN hosts, whom Viguerie recently criticized in a recent column, did their best to support his allegation by bringing on four liberals as guests during the program.
The conservative wrote an August 17, 2010 column in the Washington Examiner criticizing CNN for claiming that they're "playing it right down the middle," when in reality, they lean towards the liberal side. Parker launched right into addressing her guest's criticism: "So, we're going to go ahead and get the elephant out of the room, and I'm not talking about you. But you did write about me....that I am a 'pleasantly wishy-washy, mostly plain vanilla Republican.' It's hard to see your words applied when the person is actually present, isn't it?"
Viguerie replied by half-jokingly taking back his label, but immediately gave her another:
After getting spanked in the November 2 election, Christine O'Donnell needs to find herself a good Christian man to submit to. Or she could open a Wiccan supply store.
Those are just two of the six mocking suggestions that Newsweek's David Graham came up with yesterday on the magazine's The Gaggle blog for the Delaware Republican Senate nominee's future.
Graham's list is just more evidence that O'Donnell seems to have inherited Sarah Palin's mantle as the conservative female politician liberal journalists most love to write arguably misogynistic screeds against (emphasis mine):
When mainstream media folks like Harry Smith dismiss the Tea Party movement as merely voters venting their anger, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell is reminded of the dismissive reaction of journalists back when Republicans won control of Congress 16 years ago.
Here's what he told viewers of the October 15 "Fox & Friends":
While media liberals obsess about negative ads funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, federal worker unions are savagely attacking the Tea Party in a forthcoming radio ad campaign. "We would love to be very bipartisan, but it's hard to be bipartisan when one side is just trying to cut your throat," said John Gage of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) in Friday's Washington Post.
Reporter Ed O'Keefe concluded that "the union aired a similar public awareness campaign last summer." But is it "public awareness" to associate ideas in the GOP Pledge to America -- a federal hiring freeze and spending restraint -- with releasing terrorists, ending food inspection, and polluting rivers? O'Keefe relayed the script:
"The Republican tea party Pledge to America says, 'Cut taxes for the rich and cut government,' " AFGE President John Gage says in the ad. "Some have even said, 'Close the government down.' Then what? Food and mine inspection - gone. Forget about border patrol or keeping terrorists locked up. And returning veterans? Give them a cheap voucher instead of a quality VA hospital. Let's dump in the rivers and pollute the air again."
Not that we needed a study to tell us this, but according to one conducted by a UCLA grad student, media coverage of Tea Party rallies has dramatically overrepresented the presence of racist or other offensive signs there.
According to the Washington Post, which laudably reported on the study today, UCLA grad student Emily Ekins found that "media coverage of tea party rallies over the past year have focused so heavily on the more controversial signs that it has contributed to the perception that such content dominates the tea party movement more than it actually does."
Ekins, who, it should be noted, is a former intern at the libertarian Cato Institute, actually attended the September 12 rally (imagine that) and kept a tally of the types of signs she saw there: