Chris Matthews definitely took a "hard look" at the Tea Party, on Wednesday's "Morning Joe," in anticipation of tonight's MSNBC documentary "The Rise of the New Right." Tying the whole Tea Party movement together, the MSNBC "Hardball" host defined it as "McCarthyite," possessing a "fundamental questioning of authority," and viewing the federal government as an occupying force.
"It believes that this government is verging on tyranny," Matthews complained, pointing to the movement's use of the Revolutionary War-era Gadsden flag -- "Don't Tread on Me" -- in an ominous light.
When asked by Joe Scarborough if he would link members of the Michigan Militia featured in tonight's documentary (seemingly characterized in the preceding video clip as a radical fringe group), to Tea Party members who have campaigned for Scott Brown and Marco Rubio, Matthews answered that the various groups are all part of one movement.
"I'm tying the whole movement together," he asserted. "Because what you hear is that they all fly the same flag."
The legacy media love to paint steadfast conservatives as "far right" "ideologues" who are destroying the GOP's "big tent" and "purging" moderates. The notion that the Republican Party has drifted too far to the right, however, is contradicted by a new Gallup poll showing that Americans are more concerned about Democrats' fringe elements.
About half (49%) of poll respondents told Gallup that they thought the Democratic Party is too far left. Forty-two percent said the GOP is too far right. The former number is the highest it has been since 1994, when Republicans picked up 54 seats in the House and eight in the Senate.
Of course most journalists probably don't share that sentiment--indeed, a number have bemoaned President Obama's supposed refusal to move even further to the left. Since those journalists are well outside of the nation's mainstream, center-right political outlook, they will inevitably see Republicans as too far right and Democrats as moderate and centrist.
On the eve of the one year anniversary of the most recent Iranian presidential election, the Web site for The New Republic gave space to Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) to lament the Obama administration's feckless response to the corrupt Iranian regime's crackdown on protesters and its continued quest for nuclear weapons and terrorist sponsorship under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In response two days later, Time's Joe Klein resorted to his typical petulant bluster to berate the generally liberal magazine and divert attention from the real issue of Obama's leadership:
The New Republic perplexes me. It has some of the best and smartest writing around. And then it allows John McCain, whose lack of knowledge about Iran is encyclopedic, to hold forth in its pages.
Klein's June 13 Swampland blog post at Time.com focused on one brief excerpt of McCain's item, launching into how he felt McCain was not nuanced enough and hence lacks credibility to address the issue:
Meet the "so extreme," "far-right conservative" Sharron Angle, who won the Nevada Senate primary on Tuesday and will face Democrat Harry Reid in the fall. Those quotes aren't from Daily Kos or even a New York Times columnist, but from two of the Times's political reporters, Jennifer Steinhauer and Jackie Calmes.
(This post is based on two items previously posted on Times Watch.)
Further, Ms. Angle -- the Tea Party-blessed candidate who bested her two better-financed competitors in Tuesday's primary -- is an untested statewide candidate whose positions as a lawmaker put her firmly to the right of most mainstream Nevada voters. The hot lights of national exposure can be a liability for new -- and overly loquacious -- candidates, as Rand Paul, the Republican Senate nominee from Kentucky, quickly found.
Among her detractors and her supporters she is known as a far-right conservative and a thorn in the side of both parties, routinely voting no on almost everything that came before the Legislature. She is also a tireless campaigner. When a 2002 redistricting forced her to face off with a wildly popular Republican incumbent, Greg Brower, she went door to door nightly, won and ended his political career.
The establishment press is either getting tired of being beaten up over using the U-word ("unexpectedly," or sometimes "unexpected") to the point of excess when economic news disappoints, or has itself wearied of using the word.
Retail sales plunged in May by the largest amount in eight months as consumers slashed spending on everything from cars to clothing. The big drop raises new worries about the durability of the economic recovery.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer provided analysis of Tuesday's primary elections across the country, describing the South Carolina gubernatorial race "where they continue to draw their political plot lines from, you know, 'Desperate Housewives' or something" and how Nevada Democrats were "very happy" with the victory of tea party candidate Sharron Angle.
Speaking to Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez, Schieffer ran down the most watched races in Arkansas, California, South Carolina, and Nevada. When he got to South Carolina, he described gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley as "very conservative." After making the 'Desperate Housewives' comparison, he remarked how the GOP primary in the state was "providing some entertainment, as it were, for the rest of the country. I mean, you had Governor Sanford down there and his adventures. And now these allegations against Nikki Haley." He quickly added that the allegations of adultery against Haley were "without foundation" and that "Nobody has proven anything."
Rodriguez then asked if "Harry Reid is happy or fretting the fact" that tea party-backed Sharron Angle won the GOP senate primary in Nevada. Schieffer declared: "I suspect that Democrats in Nevada are very happy about this....I think the Reid people think that he would have a much better chance beating her than some of the other Republicans in the primaries."
CNN anchor Dr. Sanjay Gupta refreshingly made an implicitly pro-life argument during a report about how toxic chemicals possibly affect the unborn children: "Here in the womb, enveloped in darkness and warmth, a baby's life begins in earnest. It is a sacred space: pristine, insulated, more than nine months of safe refuge from the world outside" [audio available here].
Dr. Gupta made that statement as he gave a voice-over for the first segment of his "Toxic Childhood" special, which first aired on Thursday evening at 8 pm Eastern. CGI of a baby in the womb played as he described the "sacred space." The anchor continued on this note in his first question to Dr. Frederica Perera of Columbia University: "We imagine a baby sort of nice and safe and tucked away in the womb, impervious to all the assaults that occur on the body. You say, not so fast?" So Gupta twice referred to the unborn human as a "baby."
For over seven minutes this morning, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” panel expounded on the racial overtones of Matt Drudge’s Tuesday morning headline and other criticisms of the Obama administration.
It started when Time magazine’s senior political analyst Mark Halperin brought up the Drudge Report headline, “Obama Goes Street: Seeking ‘Ass to Kick’,” and alleged that it spun Obama’s comments to NBC’s Matt Lauer and portrayed Obama unfairly as a gangster.
“One of the problems Barack Obama faces in public life... is he cannot get angry and be an effective communicator as an African-American,” Halperin commented on the interview.
“So Matt Drudge takes the Matt Lauer quote, and he casts it as ‘Obama Goes Street.’ And it includes this photo of an angry-looking Barack Obama,” Halperin complained. “ I think it’s all pretty clear. It’s pretty clear to all of us what’s going on there.”
CNN anchor Don Lemon repeatedly defended rabidly anti-Israel columnist Helen Thomas as he interviewed Ari Fleischer late in the 7 pm Eastern hour of Sunday's Newsroom. After playing Thomas's remarks, Lemon lauded her in his first question to Fleischer: "Helen Thomas has broken down many barriers for women....She has a lifelong achievement...in journalism. Should that count for anything?" [audio clips available here]
The former press secretary strongly condemned Thomas's comments and proposed that "if somebody said that all blacks need to leave America and go home to Africa, they would have already lost their jobs," while stating that two of them "always ideologically disagreed, but I liked her." Lemon followed through on this point: "Yeah, that was my next point. It's- I know that people disagree ideologically- but you can still be friends or still be co-workers. Have you reached out to her at all? Have you tried to talk to her about why she said this?"
The Associated Press's Karl Ritter clearly doesn't recognize how close to parody his report ("Rightist group jolts Sweden's tolerant self-image") on the mini-rise of the right-leaning Sweden Democrats Party is (I'll use "SD" as an abbreviation in this post).
Ritter is not afraid to label the SD, but won't label others. He begins by telling us that the SD is "far-right" because it is "preaching sharp cuts in immigration and calling Islam the greatest threat to Swedish society" -- conveniently, I believe, omitting the term "radical" in describing Islam. Other parties, of course, are "mainstream."
The AP reporter describes Sweden as having "a self-image of being more tolerant."
Self-image notwithstanding, a reader who gets as far as the nineteenth paragraph of Ritter's report learns that "tolerance" is a decidedly one-way street (bolds are mine):
On Wednesday's Rick's List, CNN's Drew Griffin pressed former Clinton administration official Robert Reich on his call for a federal takeover of BP and its efforts against the Gulf oil leak. Griffin first questioned Reich if his proposal was serious, and later stated that the Democrat's idea "sounds not only highly illegal...but seems to me to smack of something that we might see in Venezuela" [audio clips available here].
The CNN personality, who was filling in for anchor Rick Sanchez, brought on the current University of California, Berkeley professor to discuss his proposal, which he first made in a May 31 column (as noted by Jeff Poor at MRC's Business and Media Institute). After summarizing Reich's position, that it was "time for the government to seize control of BP and take over the company's oil spill recovery efforts in the Gulf," Griffin bluntly asked the former labor secretary, "I've got to tell you, I have always considered you a very serious person, but this doesn't sound serious to me at all. Are you serious about this, or was this some kind of a joke to get things going?"
Leave it to the liberals at Newsweek to find a way to whine when another terrorist gets his just deserts.
"Does Killing Terrorists Actually Prevent Terrorism?" Ben Adler's June 1 The Gaggle blog headline asked. With the death of al Qaeda's #3 leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid aka Sheik Saeed al-Masri, "[t]he U.S. has killed another terrorist, but there are more terrorist plots than ever," lamented the subheadline.
Adler went on to suggest that it may be time to start negotiating with al Qaeda and/or the Taliban rather than simply attempting to eradicate them:
On Monday's Rick's List, CNN's Gloria Borger waxed ecstatic over Al and Tipper Gore, even as the two announced their separation: "This is a genuine couple....They have always been a real team." Borger also described them as "two very thoughtful people" and sang individual praises to both, lauding Tipper for being an "accomplished photographer" and labeling Mr. Gore "deliberative" [audio clips available here].
Anchor Rick Sanchez brought on the senior political analyst 16 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour to discuss the announcement by the former "second couple" that they were separating after 40 years of marriage. After showing the famous kiss by the couple at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, Sanchez commented that "you can't be someone like myself or yourself, I would imagine, who's covered the Gores for quite some time, and not really be kind of taken aback, almost feeling a little sad for the end of this relationship, right?"
Borger replied with overwhelming enthusiasm over the Gores:
That's why one needs to mix it up, perhaps by suggesting that they're akin to the radical Islamic clerics that inspire terrorism.
Just ask MSNBC's Chris Matthews.
During the "Political Sideshow" segment of his June 1 program, the "Hardball" host compared Sarah Palin's Facebook page posting about author Joe McGinniss renting the house next door to a "fatwa" aimed at "rev[ving] up anger at the author" from amongst her "mob" of followers [MP3 audio available here]:
Editor's Note: The following originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
Bill Maher a racist? Who’da thunk it? Actually, anyone who pays even remote attention to the far-left comedic mouth piece could have figured that out pretty quickly. Yes, Bill, I am calling you a racist. This accusation which he so glibly levels at anyone slightly to the right of Che Guevera may come as a shock to him. But he is too busy heaping his moral superiority upon those lynch mob troglodytes who inhabit “fly-over country” to ever bother to take a look at himself. If he did, he might come to realize that being truly colorblind or, to borrow a Hopey McChange slogan, “post racial” means more than fist-bumping Will.I.Am at a Golden Globe after after party. It means truly seeing the world through the prism of individual not racial identity politics.
A promo for a new Chris Matthews special on the "Rise of the New Right" is pretty much what you'd expect: Rand Paul, 9/11 Truther Alex Jones, and lots of militiamen shooting guns. That is the doctrinaire leftist snapshot of the Tea Party movement, so it stands to reason that Matthews will extrapolate it into some dire warning about our political future.
"There is a rising tide on the right," Matthews's ominously declares. "The tea party is determined to take power, what does that mean for America?" A claim by a militiaman that "the government's too big" is immediately followed by gunshots - a not too subtle way to paint Americans who favor less government (a majority, by the way) as extremists ala the infamous Hutaree Militia.
The promo opens with Rand Paul's "message from the Tea Party: we've come to take our government back." Paul's recent gaffe - he said he would not have voted for Title II of the Civil Rights Act - will probably give Matthews an easy segue into discussion of the horrible racists that make up the movement. The presence of Alex Jones suggests that Matthews will try to paint Tea Partiers as conspiracy theorists as well (video below the fold).
Newsweek's Lisa Miller again lashed out against the Catholic Church in her column on Thursday, defending an excommunicated Catholic nun in Arizona for her "compassionate and impossible decision" in supporting a hospital patient's abortion. Miller also condemned a Vatican cardinal's investigation into American nuns as a whole as "authoritarian meddling."
The religion editor for the dwindling magazine began her column, "Female Troubles," by sympathizing with Sister Margaret McBride, an administrator at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, who ruled with her hospital's ethics committee that a first-trimester abortion which took place in late 2009 was medically necessary:
Earlier this month, in something of a surprise, a nun at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix was excommunicated for approving a first-trimester abortion last year at that hospital to save the life of a critically ill patient....The irony here is thick: it has taken years, sometimes decades, to bring sex-abusing priests to justice, but this observant sister, Margaret McBride, was excommunicated in a matter of months for making a compassionate and impossible decision for one of her parishioners.
MSNBC’s May 26 special on immigration reform, “A Nation Divided,” was replete with unbalanced interviews with liberal activists and one-sided segments featuring only liberal positions on the controversial issue.
MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer pitched softballs to Democrats Michael Nowakowski, vice mayor of Phoenix, and Raul Castro, former Arizona governor, without brining on guests to counter their liberal perspectives.
“The other thing that this really does is it puts businesses in the enforcement business, and responsible for making sure that their employees are here legally,” Brewer told Nowakowski. “The consequences for which could mean business owners lose their livelihoods.”
In the same interview, Brewer set up Nowakowski to bemoan the supposedly high cost of enforcing Arizona’s new immigration law, which empowers state authorities to inquire into a person’s legal status if there is reasonable suspicion that a person is in the country illegally.
CNN's Anderson Cooper first defended the Obama administration's initial response to the Gulf oil leak and then criticized him from the left on Tuesday's AC360: "A month ago, it seemed like the federal government was on top of this. They were beating back claims...that this was Obama's Katrina." He later continued that "it doesn't seem like there's much pressure being applied to [BP], if it's there at all."
Cooper brought on CNN senior political analyst David Gergen and liberal presidential historian Douglas Brinkley for a panel discussion on the environmental disaster 25 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour. The anchor included his apologetic of the early response by the administration in his first question to Gergen: "David, I mean, a month ago, it seemed like the federal government was on top of this. They were beating back claims by conservatives that this was Obama's Katrina, and now, it seems that may have been premature."
In Wednesday's "Bill Puts Scrutiny on Detainees' Lawyers," New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage sank his teeth into a Republican proposal that would crack down on lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees suspected of taking actions to harm the military.
A provision tucked into a defense bill before Congress would direct the Pentagon's inspector general to investigate any suspected misconduct by lawyers for Guantánamo Bay detainees, opening a new chapter in a recurrent political controversy over legal ethics and the representation of terrorism suspects. .... The provision would require the Pentagon inspector general to investigate instances in which there was "reasonable suspicion" that lawyers for detainees violated a Pentagon policy, generated "any material risk" to a member of the armed forces, violated a law under the inspector general's exclusive jurisdiction, or otherwise "interfered with the operations" of the military prison at Guantánamo. .... In introducing the proposal last week, Representative Jeff Miller, Republican of Florida, focused on the John Adams Project, a joint enterprise of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. It provides research and legal assistance to the uniformed lawyers defending detainees who are facing prosecution before a military commission.
Mr. Miller characterized the John Adams Project as a "treacherous enterprise," referring to accusations that its researchers took pictures of interrogators and gave them to military defense lawyers, who in turn showed them to detainees.
The lawyers have defended the legality and propriety of their efforts. They contend that the detainees were illegally tortured in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency, and they want to raise that issue at trial. To do so, they need to identify potential witnesses to the interrogation sessions.
So far unobjectionable, though we could have learned more about those photographs: Were researchers trying to make targets out of interrogators?
But Savage went off the rails in the last two paragraphs:
CNN did its part to perpetuate the liberal talking point about Arizona's supposedly racist campaign against illegal immigrants by airing a report three times on Monday that spun the state's standards for English teachers as an "accent ban" or "crackdown." Anchor Kyra Phillips even opined that it was "just wrong to judge a teacher by his or her accent as to judge on their hair or skin color."
The network's American Morning program first aired correspondent Thelma Gutierrez's report 27 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour. Three minutes earlier, anchor John Roberts previewed the upcoming segment by noting that "some schools in Arizona [are] cracking down on English teachers who have accents." Roberts then introduced Gutierrez's report, stating that "state education officials want immigrant teachers with heavy accents removed from classes for students who are still learning English. They say they're simply following federal guidelines that were set up by the Bush administration back in 2002. But critics are calling it an ethnic witch hunt."
The "guidelines...set up by the Bush administration" line by Roberts was actually a reference to the No Child Left Behind law which passed with bipartisan support in Congress in 2001, and signed into law by then-President Bush in January 2002. Gutierrez mentioned this during her report as she introduced the Arizona state education official defending his state's guidelines: "State School Superintendent Tom Horne says, as part of No Child Left Behind, he's been monitoring ELL teachers for bad grammar and mispronounced words for the past eight years." But instead of mentioning this detail, the CNN anchor labeled it as being from the Bush administration.
When I saw the Associated Press's headline ("Disgraced former Ohio congressman dies at 79"), I started thinking about whom the wire service might be referring to.
Of course I knew he would be a Republican, because the establishment media never treats Democrats, even those who leave women who aren't their wives to drown in a submerged car, as "disgraced."
But even I never thought that the AP would reach back 20 years and attempt to give the national spotlight (raw feed proof as of 6:30 p.m. ET is here) to a former Ohio politician whom even most Ohioans -- even most Southwestern Ohioans -- don't remember. I clearly underestimated AP's cravenness. I guess "The Essential Global News Network" needed to find something to offset the hurt coursing through liberal circles today from seeing the GOP gain a seat, however temporarily, in Hawaii.
No "Name That Party" post would be complete without referring to how Democratic politicians in somewhat analogous situations were handled by AP upon their death. That's coming up.
But first, here is most of the wire service's story (for fair use and discussion purposes, of course) about the former congressman's death, complete with multiple party and political philosophy references, as well as guilt by association:
The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards that minimize the separation of church and state and say that America is not a democracy but a "constitutional republic."
Really? The second point is ludicrous to describe as "controversial." The U.S. system of government is not direct democracy but a representative republic regulated by a constitution, hence a "constitutional republic." As to the first allegation in Birnbaum's lead paragraph, this writer did some homework and found the actual text of the newly-approved standard in question, which applies to government courses:
Examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed its free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and compare and contrast this to the phrase “separation of church and state.”
The notion that that standard "minimize[s]" the notion of "separation of church and state" must be read into the text of the actual newly-approved standard, it certainly isn't logically concluded from it.
Later in the article, Birnbaum insisted that "the new standards... draw an equivalency between Jefferson Davis's and Abraham Lincoln's inaugural addresses." Here's the actual language of the newly devised standard:
The Associated Press's Sophia Tareen has apparently had a lot of time on her hands the past couple of days, and her wire service bosses couldn't find much for her to do. How else to explain Tareen's devotion of almost 1,000 words to the burning question of whether cartoon character Dora the Explorer is an illegal immigrant?
You read that right, but it's worse than that. Tareen claims that images of Dora "are being used by those who oppose and support Arizona's law," but could only cite actual instances of usage by leftists at the Huffington Post and at a a Facebook page whose category is "Just for Fun - Outlandish Statements."
Along the way, Tareen oh-so-predictably resurrects the late-1990s "Teletubbies are Gay" kerfuffle (incompletely, of course); waits until the 27th paragraph to tell us that the image at the top right, which "is circulating widely in the aftermath of Arizona's controversial new immigration law," has really been around since last year (originating at freakingnews.com); and quotes a "gender studies" professor at the University of Arizona who -- undisclosed to readers, naturally -- is virulently anti-capitalism.
The former Newsweek editor snarked on GQ.com's The Wire blog earlier this afternoon about Missouri Republican Roy Blunt's "follow Friday" (#ff) tweet urging his Twitter followers to check out and follow Best Buddies International and the Special Olympics.
In a post entitled, "Really? You're Using #FollowFriday To Score Cheap Political Points?", Devin Gordon snarked:
Yesterday I tackled how Newsweek's Howard Fineman was attacking Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul for picking a fight that the liberal media, in fact, was whipping up.
Today, it's Fineman colleague Ben Adler and his insistence that conservatives are fixated on smearing both Elena Kagan and softball players everywhere as gay.
Adler made his argument in his May 20 The Gaggle blog post, "What Is With Conservatives, Gays, and Softball" by picking apart a comment Fox Business Network's John Stossel made on Fox News Channel in which he defended Paul's comments regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964.What annoyed Adler most was Stossel's quip that gay softball leagues, for example, should not be forced to admit straight players:
The gay softball team? The proverbial black student association has long been every anti-civil-rights pundit's favorite shibboleth, but why suddenly gay softball team? Do gay people have separate softball teams that don't allow straight people to play for them? If so, it's still an awfully random example. Oh wait, no it isn't, it's a dog whistle to everyone who thinks that women who play softball are gay, and that therefore Solicitor General Elena Kagan is gay. Stay classy, John.
There are two problems with this. First and foremost, it was gay groups that first made a stink about an innocuous photo by the Wall Street Journal that was clearly selected as a clever tease for a story in the May 11 edition. The headline and caption for the Kagan-playing-softball photo were as follows:
While viewers might have expected to see the latest on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or Tuesday's electoral primaries, CNN's Campbell Brown devoted the first two segments on her program on Monday to highlighting the apparent religious bigotry inside the U.S. Army - specifically, the upcoming lawsuit of a Muslim who alleges he was harassed and ridiculed due to his religion.
Brown played the interview of the soldier, Specialist Zachari Klawonn, during the first full segment, which began 2 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Klawonn was joined by his lawyer, Randal Mathis, as well as the commanding officer of his battalion, Colonel Jimmy Jenkins. As she introduced the segment, the anchor emphasized how the specialist is "a model soldier," "exactly what the Army says it is looking for," and how he "has an exemplary service record, and has earned the praise of both his commanders and his Army buddies."
Appearing on the May 13 "Hannity" program for a "Media Mash" segment, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell tackled the media coverage of the Elena Kagan nomination. After the Fox News host played some clips of network anchors focusing on how the Obama Court nominee loves opera, softball, and poker, Bozell noted it was par for the course.
While "from the moment he was nominated, [Clarence Thomas] was savaged," whenever a liberal is nominated by a Democratic president, the media label him or her a moderate and focus on humanizing them, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell noted.