Occasionally a lefty gets it right. Then a conservative says much the same thing. Followed by liberals denouncing him for it.
Latest example -- Bill O'Reilly's remarks on race at the Sharpton-organized National Action Network conference on April 14 in New York City. Speaking after O'Reilly was liberal action hero Ed Schultz, who spun what was said at the conference on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" that night --
SCHULTZ: You would think that at a serious event to promote equality and civil rights that Bill would rein in the psycho talk. Well, no such luck. He showed zero comprehension of the venue and came out swinging, defending the tea partiers.
O'REILLY: The tea party is a largely white phenomenon, there's no doubt about that, because African-Americans overwhelmingly support President Obama. But it is an overwhelmingly white movement. And now we are seeing that it's being demonized as a racist thing too and the best example was that Capitol display where the African-American congresspeople walked through this gauntlet of protest and there were charges the n-word was used and spitting happened and this, that and the other thing. ... Even if the n-word was used, and it absolutely could have been, you don't demonize a whole group by the actions of one or two people. ... It's a much more interesting country, America, if we stop with the race business, I think. I mean, I'm not black so I don't know your struggle, and you don't know my struggle, all right, because you're not white. ...
On Monday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, when guest Mark Williams of Tea Party Express complained to Behar and fellow guest Ari Melber of the Nation about Tea Party activists being smeared as racist, the HLN host claimed that she had not brought up race during the segment, even though she opened the discussion by referring to stereotypes about Tea Party activists as she cracked that perhaps public opinion "might drive people to stop making racist signs and wearing hats made of teabags." Behar introduced the segment: "The anti-government sentiment that has driven the Tea Party movement seems to be working as four out of five Americans say they don`t trust the government. I wonder if these same sentiments might drive people to stop making racist signs and wearing hats made of teabags."
But Behar and Melber later developed amnesia as Behar claimed, "We didn’t mention race":
“There aren't a lot of African-American men at these events,” NBC News reporter Kelly O'Donnell, a white woman, told Darryl Postell, a black man at a Tea Party rally held Thursday in Washington, DC, pressing him, in an exchange she chose to include in her NBC Nightly News story, to address her prejudiced assumptions: “Have you ever felt uncomfortable?” Postell rejected her loaded premise that race must divide Americans: “No, no, these are my people, Americans.”
O'Donnell's story noted “skepticism over how the Tea Party is judged and labeled,” letting an attendee assert: “We're not racists, we're not any of the above that people claim us to be. We're ordinary citizens that love our country, and we're fighting for it.” O'Donnell soon wondered if it all may peter out, asking a man in the crowd: “Do you think this has enough energy to really last to November and to make a difference?”
Over on ABC, Jonathan Karl highlighted how “many of them blamed us, the news media.” A woman demanded: “We want honesty from you. We want fair time from you. We want you, the media, to represent all the people, not just a certain portion of the people.”
Painting conservatives as racists is a favorite pastime of the mainstream media and a recent move by Republican Virginia governor Bob McDonnell gave them more ammunition to do just that.
McDonnell issued a proclamation on April 2 stating April would be Confederate History Month, but failed to note the role slavery played in the U.S. Civil War that lasted from 1861-1865. Commentators and journalists seized upon McDonnell's omission as proof that conservatives are inherent racists, despite an apology and later inclusion in the proclamation of a strong statement condemning slavery.
In his apology, McDonnell called slavery an "abomination" and explained that the proclamation was "solely intended to promote the study of our history, encourage tourism in our state in advance of the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, and recognize Virginia's unique role in the story of America."
These allegations of racism against conservatives have percolated in the media since Barack Obama's election in 2008. "Confederate" or "Confederacy" has been used 60 times in news reports on ABC, CBS and NBC since November 4, 2008, but it's this proclamation, coupled with the anger over the recently passed health care reform, that had some in the media wondering if conservatives were ready to wage Civil War Redux.
Aww...New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, respected economist turned talking points purveyor for the left-wing blogosphere, has had his feelings hurt by a fellow Times writer, Andrew Ross Sorkin, and is demanding redress: "Andrew Ross Sorkin Owes Several People An Apology."
That's right. Krugman, who has accused the GOP of "eliminationist rhetoric" and global-warming skeptics of "treason against the planet," chided a fellow Times writer for "caricaturing" his view on an issue, "making it sound far more extreme than it actually was."
The source of Krugman's wounded feelings? These mild passages in Sorkin's Tuesday column, quoted by Krugman in his post:
You may recall that during the most perilous months of 2008 and early 2009, there was a vigorous debate about how the government should fix the financial system. Some economists, including Nouriel Roubini of New York University and The Times's own Paul Krugman, declared that we should follow the example of the Swedes by nationalizing the entire banking system.
They argued that Wall Street was occupied by the walking dead, and that no matter how much money we threw at the banks, they would eventually topple the system all over again and cause a domino effect worldwide.
Touchy Krugman hypocritically huffed in a Tuesday morning post on his nytimes.com blog:
NBC host Norah O'Donnell is taking it from all angles for pulling the race card on Newt Gingrich last Friday.
Speaking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Gingrich said "shooting three-point shots may be clever, but it doesn’t put anybody to work,” referring to President Obama's basketball skills. Norah O'Donnell embarrassed herself Friday by claiming the comment had racial undertones.
Since then, commentators on the left and right have criticized O'Donnell's race-baiting. Bill O'Reilly and Juan Williams have both condemned her remark, and Gingrich himself has repudiated the accusation.
"The left is becoming a parody of itself," Gingrich said Tuesday morning. He added that "it's relatively hard to go from 'we need someone who is a good president more than we need three point shots' to" racism.
This week, Americans of all political stripes will take to the streets -- so to speak -- to protest what they see as excessive and out of control government spending and intrusion into their daily lives. Among the many Tea Party protesters, however, will be individuals plotting to undermine the peaceful grassroots movement.
Blogger Glenn Reynolds spotted CrashTheTeaParty.org today, a website that claims to represent "a nationwide network of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are all sick and tired of that loose affiliation of racists, homophobes and morons; who constitute the fake grassroots movement, which calls itself 'the Tea Party.'"
Their plan is to "infiltrate" Tea Party protests to create the false impression that protesters are racists by … being racists. That's right, they will bring with them offensive signs and give wildly offensive interviews to reporters, all with the intention of smearing a movement that wouldn't bring those signs or give those interviews themselves. It remains to be seen whether the mainstream media will take the bait.
The following is a Twitter conversation I had with CNN's Roland S. Martin on Wednesday. He was upset at Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) issuing a proclamation declaring it Confederate History Month in the commonwealth without mentioning slavery. He had retweeted Donna Brazile's tweet that she was outraged that the RNC hadn’t condemned McDonnell. Her Tweet said: "RNC Chair should have condemned this statement,along with every GOP leader. But the double standards are so apparent with the media & blogs"And he doesn't like NewsBusters very much (discussion follows with my tweets in Italics):
It's incredible to see how many ways the mainstream media are able to analyze and dissect the Tea Party movement phenomenon on a regular basis. But lately it has been en vogue to challenge this movement on merits of race - a popular ad hominem talking point for opponents of the movement.
"They've been called Oreos, traitors and Uncle Toms, and are used to having to defend their values," Bauman wrote. "Now black conservatives are really taking heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement-and for having the audacity to oppose the policies of the nation's first black president."
Near the end of the Saturday edition of Fox & Friends on Fox News, co-host Clayton Morris introduced a segment on the media's double standard when it comes to covering the tea party movement versus left-wing protestors: "Mainstream media casting tea party protesters as violent and racist, the same media that characterized leftist protests against President Bush as patriotic."
Morris brought on a tea party activist to discuss the topic: "Well, our next guest is someone who's not afraid to stand up to biased coverage. Check out this heated exchange with a CNN reporter at a tea party rally last year." A clip was played of tea partier Kathy Barkulis berating former CNN reporter Susan Roesgen: "You are not talking to regular, mainstream people. You picked people to talk to." Roesgen was later fired from CNN in July of 2009, in the wake of her slanted reporting on the tea party.
After the clip, Morris asked Barkulis: "So what do you say here? That the mainstream media's casting tea party protests as violent, dangerous, extremist? Is there a double standard, as you see it?" Barkulis replied: "Oh, of course there is, there's always been a double standard and it's just getting worse.... they're misrepresenting us and I really don't even think they've ever been to a tea party rally and they don't really know what we're all about. They're just repeating what other left-wing sources have told them."
Next week, the Media Research Center will be releasing a special report documenting media coverage of the tea party movement over the past year.
In the New York Times's latest "Political Points" podcast, posted April 1 at nytimes.com, reporters David Herszenhorn and Jeff Zeleny talked to host Sam Roberts about the health care law as a referendum on the Obama presidency. Though the Times didn't bother to identify the reporters by name on the audiocast, it was almost certainly Herszenhorn (confirmed by comparing his voice pattern with that of another voice later identified as Zeleny's, plus by watching a recent clip of Herszenhorn) who immediately injected discredited accusations of racism into the discussion, in response to Roberts's relatively innocuous conversation starter.
Herszenhorn is known at Times Watch as a strong cheerleader for Obama-care.
From the April 1 podcast:
Host Sam Roberts: "David and Jeff, we've been writing that health care became a touchstone, a proxy for larger disagreements and deep divisions in an increasingly fractured society. What is it the surrogate for, do we think?"
Herszenhorn: "Well there's so many things, Sam. One is clearly there's a racial component. Some members of Congress you know, had epithets hurled at them as protesters marched around the Capitol on the day of the big House vote."
Andrew Breitbart at Big Journalism.com has offered a $10,000 reward to anyone with evidence of racial epithets being hurled at members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who made the charge in the first place. So far no takers, despite the Hill being dense with Blackberries, camera phones, and video equipment of all kinds the day of the vote on Obama-care.
On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly took the time to speak with an African-American Tea Party activist named Kevin Jackson about his experiences at Tea Party events and what he thinks of liberal commentators – presumably referring to a number of MSNBC hosts – who have charged that racism is common among Tea Party activists. O’Reilly asked of Jackson: "Okay, now obviously you know the controversy. There have been a number of commentators that have called the Tea Party people racists, branded them, you know, a white power organization or whatever you want to call it. So you hear that and you say what?"
Jackson defended the integrity of Tea Party activists:
With an increasing attempt by the left to paint Tea Party protestors as racist loons, it becomes of great importance to identify those who purport to represent conservative values, but in reality are nothing more than radical individuals.
As NewsBusters has previously reported, liberal Web sites - particularly Talking Points Memo (TPM) and the Huffington Post - have continually cited the Tea Party links of one Dale Robertson. Why? Because he further promotes the concept of the tea partier as racist. Robertson once demonstrated a level of racial ignorance that boggles the mind by being photographed with a sign reading "Congress = Slaveowner, Taxpayer = N***ar".
But the reality is that Robertson has predominantly self-described links to the Tea Party movement, while legitimate factions of the movement have been trying to distance themselves from the man. His claims of influence within the Tea Party have turned out to be mildly embellished. Now, it turns out his web of tales is growing ever more tangled.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite recently interviewed Robertson, in which he claims that the sign that made him famous for the wrong reasons was simply a fake. As Mediaite reports:
Opposed to ObamaCare? Maybe you're just a secret segregationist . . .
As absurd as it sounds, that's the possibility that Chris Matthews posed this evening. His guest was Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, a Democrat who has declined Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue's request to sue the federal government over ObamaCare.
Matthews reached back to 1964 to suggest that Perdue might also have opposed the Civil Rights law:
In case there are any residual doubts about how bad the tea partiers have been treated, here are the Top Five ways the left and the media have abused a grassroots movement. The coverage has been so hateful and so biased, it was almost impossible to narrow the list. Here they are in reverse order, just in time for the big tea party events April 15:
5) Protesters are Anti-Government
The media and the left portray tea parties as "anti-government" because it undermines a patriotic grassroots movement. Tea partiers aren't anti-government, they are anti-big government. That's just not the story journalists tell. The "anti-government" theme is strong, cropping up in more than two dozen stories in The Washington Post and New York Times combined. Very few of them mentioned the word "big" in reference to government.
Instead, it's NPR's Liz Halloran claiming tea parties have been boosted by "restive Republicans who have found refuge in the year-old anti-tax, anti-government uprising." Or Frank Rich of The New York Times who compared tea partiers with Andrew Joseph Stack, the man who flew a plane into an IRS building. "Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a ‘Tea Party terrorist.' But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner."
Did Frank Rich read Charles Blow's column and sub-consciously subsume it? Rich's NY Times opus of March 27 is a virtual echo of Blow's item of March 26.
Coincidence or not, the two Timesmen are very much on the same wavelength. Their shared theory: conservative opposition to Obamacare is fueled not so much by the substance of PBO's plans as it is by the racism, homophobia and sexism of people who can't bear to witness America's changing demographics.
Compare the eerie similarities in the two columns [emphasis added].
CNN put “INCITING VIOLENCE?” on screen under video of Sarah Palin earlier in the day Saturday in Searchlight, Nevada, as anchor Don Lemon announced:
Sarah Palin takes on one of the highest ranking Democrats right in his own backyard, all while causing another uproar by urging tea parties to quote “reload.” And the question is, are comments like that inciting violence and name-calling over the health care bill and the like?
In the subsequent segment, titled “DANGEROUS RHETORIC: When heated words incite threats & violence,” CNN’s panel agreed Obama’s political opponents are inciting violence and are motivated by racism -- undeterred by Palin’s assurance, which CNN played:
When I talk about it's not a time to retreat, it's a time to reload, what I'm talking about -- now, media, try to get this right, okay? That's not inciting violence. What that's doing is trying to inspire people to get involved in their local elections and these upcoming federal elections. It's telling people that their arms are their votes. It's not inciting violence. It's telling people, don't ever let anybody tell you to sit down and shut up, Americans.
Lemon demanded: “Is it responsible for someone to say that? Especially a leader, considering the anger that's going on right now?”
In the lead story of Thursday's National section, New York Times congressional correspondent (and Times Watch favorite) Carl Hulse quickly put the Times's stamp of approval on Democrat attempts to discredit anti-Obama-care protesters as violent racists in “After Health Vote, Democrats Are Threatened With Violence.” He even drug Internet images from the RNC and Sarah Palin into the mix. By contrast, the Times was conspicuously quiet during the 2004 presidential campaign concerning vandalism of G.O.P. campaign offices.
Hulse detailed the Democratic message of the week -- violent conservative protesters -- with no hint of how the party is exploiting the anecdotes of violence (some of which have not been documented). Interestingly, he includes Rep. Bart Stupak on the list as having “reported receiving threatening phone calls,” though Hulse fails to say whether they transpired before or after Stupak caved in and voted in favor of the health “reform” legislation.
Democratic lawmakers have received death threats and been the victims of vandalism because of their votes in favor of the health care bill, lawmakers and law enforcement officials said Wednesday, as the Congressional debate over the issue headed toward a bitter and divisive conclusion.
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann reaffirmed his accusations of racism against both the Republican party and Tea Party activists, and even tied in the recent racist statements made over the intercom at a Wal-Mart by a disgruntled employee as he tried to link isolated incidents of racism to these mainstream organizations. After recounting reports that someone shouted the "N" word at black members of Congress as they walked past protesters outside the Capitol, Olbermann continued:
But in a backwards, sick-to-my-stomach way, I would like to thank whoever shouted at Mr. Lewis and Mr. Carson for proving my previous point. If racism is not the whole of the Tea Party, it is in its heart, along with blind hatred, a total disinterest in the welfare of others, and a full- flowered, self-rationalizing refusal to accept the outcomes of elections, or the reality of democracy, or the narrowness of their minds and the equal narrowness of their public support." On Saturday, that support came from evolutionary regressives like Michele Bachmann and Jon Voight. On a daily basis that support comes from the racists and homophobes of radio and television: the Michael Savages and the Rush Limbaughs.
Racists against Obama-care? New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse didn't take it quite that far, but he made a point to juxtapose protests against Obama-care to violent 1960s-era protests against black civil rights, as personalized in the main subject of Hulse's Monday piece, civil rights icon and Democratic Congressman John Lewis: "Mr. Lewis said he was not intimidated as he walked to the Capitol with his colleagues, including Ms. Pelosi. In 1965, Mr. Lewis was bloodied and beaten by the police as he marched for civil rights."
Hulse first laid into "venomous" conservative protesters on Sunday afternoon, in his contribution to the live blogging of the House debate at nytimes.com. From his 3:25 p.m. post "Angry, Vituperative Protests."
The mood inside the House chamber was tense as lawmakers headed toward climactic health care votes on Sunday, but the atmosphere outside the Capitol was downright venomous.
As the House engaged in initial parliamentary maneuvering, hundreds of anti-reform protesters gathered on the south side of the Capitol between the building and the House office buildings across Independence Avenue, chanting and jeering Democrats and applauding House Republicans who egged them on.
The Associated Press seems to have two unwritten rules on how and when to write stories about leftist controversies and setbacks:
Rule Number 1 -- Do little or nothing with the story until you can figure out a way to make center-right critics or victors look like the bad guys.
Rule Number 2 -- If you're thinking about covering the story any other way, refer to Rule Number 1.
On Thursday, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Columbus, Ohio, which describes itself as "an independent legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse," announced a significant legal victory for Buckeye State residents interested in clean elections:
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law achieved victory in its state RICO action against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN has agreed to settle the case and will cease all Ohio activity as a result. In its settlement with the 1851 Center, ACORN agreed to surrender all of its Ohio business licenses by June 1, 2010. Further, the organization cannot support or enable any individual or organization that seeks to engage in the same type of activity.
That seems like a pretty clear-cut result, doesn't it? Not if you're the Associated Press's JoAnne Viviano, whose brief item on Saturday followed the rules above, fabricated a supposed loophole in the settlement, and gave an unnamed spokesman an open mic to despicably play the race card:
On Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, during a discussion of Mitt Romney’s recent altercation with rapper Sky Blu on an airplane, host Maher seemed to suggest that Romney might have been motivated by anti-black racism in confronting the rapper as the Real Time host brought up racially tinged quotes from former Mormon church president Joseph Fielding Smith – who died in 1972 at the age of 95 after serving two years as president – as if the words were relevant to Romney’s scuffle. Maher: "I just couldn't help but think maybe this has something to do with the fact that the Mormons traditionally have not had a great relation with the black people."
After reading a quote from Smith that came from a 1963 article in Look magazine, in which Smith contended that "I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. Darkies are wonderful people," Maher claimed that the words were only 20 or 30 years old. Maher: "I'm just saying if you're a Mormon and this is the ‘pope’ of your church and he says things like this about Negro and darkies – and this is only like, I don't know how long ago this was, 20, 30 years ago." The HBO host then read a quote from the book, The Way to Perfection, published by Smith in the 1930s, without divulging the date.
Has Joy Behar run out of things to talk about? Is the HLN host and "The View" co-host allowing producers to select her topics?
On HLN's March 10 "The Joy Behar Show," Behar suggested it might be time for conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh to go after making certain remarks involving embattled New York Gov. David Paterson and former Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y.
"This whole Massa controversy gave him an excuse to make a racial slur against New York Governor David Paterson," Behar said. "Not that Rush needs an excuse to make a racial slur."
The comments that offended Behar involved Limbaugh saying Paterson was going to be a "Massa," a double entendre Behar asserted was racist.
I dream that my 10-year-old son of pale skin hue will one day grow to maturity in a nation where he won't be dismissed by liberals as some old white guy with a fetish for firearms. Rather, that my son will be judged by a still-revered belief in the singular importance of character.
Agreed, such an expectation is probably more delusion than dream, seeing how often left-wingers in positions of influence gratuitously invoke race.
Here, for example, is Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show this past Thursday talking about a volunteer law enforcement effort called "Operation Exodus" (the segment can be seen in its entirety here) --
MADDOW: These folks, these guys are volunteers in something called Project Exodus in Bossier Parish, La. The sheriff in Bossier Parish, Sheriff Larry Deen, put out a press release recently announcing the creation of this Operation Exodus group. It's now been reported by the Shreveport Times and that local reporting has been picked up nationally by Zack Roth at Talking Points Memo.
The Anderson Cooper 360 blog on CNN.com capped a leftward trend during the week of March 1 with a post on Friday from Obama supporter Tanya Acker, who accused pro-life activists of "racial paternalism" for highlighting the high abortion rate among blacks. Earlier in the week, the blog promoted the latest anti-conservative study from the Southern Poverty Law Center and sought anti-Jim Bunning sob stories.
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?"
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?"