On Wednesday's American Morning, CNN's Ed Lavandera focused on the "overwhelmingly white" turnout at the rallies sponsored by the Tea Party Express organization and played up the criticisms that there is an "anti-minority undertone" at the demonstrations.
Lavandera, who is covering the Tea Party Express' cross-country tour, highlighted the race issue from the beginning of his report, which first aired 13 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour: "The crowds turning out for the Tea Party Express rallies are overwhelmingly white. Is this lack of diversity a problem for the Tea Party movement? We're taking a closer look."
The correspondent noted some of the apparently "subtle efforts to make the tea party appear diverse," such as a hip hop performance and speeches by black tea party activist Lloyd Marcus. Marcus stated that "there's not a lot of black folks here, basically, because they haven't seen the light yet. They are still hypnotized by the first black or African-American president. But they haven't really looked at the man and what he's doing." This assertion is supported by a Gallup poll from earlier in March that found that President Obama's approval rating among blacks is at 89%, down slightly from 96% in August 2009.
Last night, Bill O'Reilly used recent instances of inflamed, occasionally violent liberal protests to give his viewers a lesson in Media Bias 101. Lefties dominate the mainstream press, and are reluctant to cover events that don't suit their agendas, he stated.
O'Reilly showed a number of clips of just the latest instances of leftist political outrage (video and transcript below the fold). He concluded that "One side gets scrutinized. The other side gets a pass. Awful." Indeed, while it seems one can hardly pick up a newspaper or turn on the television without hearing about the horrible, violent racists in the Tea Party movement, there has been relatively little coverage of the left's violence and vitriol.
Betcha didn't know this: The Tea Party movement's growth was fueled by unemployed people lying around looking for something to do, and will have a hard time sustaining itself if/when the economy improves. Oh, and they're so distressed about the country's circumstances that they're letting emotion trump facts in their advocacy.
Those are the themes of Kate Zernike's Saturday New York Times report with the snarky title ("With No Jobs, Plenty of Time for Tea Party") that was carried on the front page of Sunday's print edition. Really. This is the same Kate Zernike (pictured at top right) who saw racism where none existed at CPAC in February, and who Andrew Breitbart memorably called "a despicable human being." Seems about right.
Zernike's piece attempted to support its pathetic premises and implications as a result of discussions with three -- count 'em -- individuals. One of them is in her mid-60s and collecting Social Security, hardly the archetype of a disaffected unemployed person. Comically, the Times reporter characterized Dick Armey's FreedomWorks a "Tea Party group," even though it was founded in 1984, a quarter-century before Rick Santelli's memorable tea-party rant last year.
For one example, go back to 1995 during the welfare-reform debate. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who is now embroiled in a controversy as to whether a Tea Party protester hurled a racial epithet at him, employed the use of his own Nazi invective. (h/t MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham)
"Read the Republican contract," Lewis said on the House floor on March 21, 1995. "They're coming for our children. They're coming for the poor. They're coming for the sick, the elderly and the disabled." Lewis's comment paraphrased a famous passage by Rev. Martin Niemöller, who was in the resistance against the Nazis.
After devoting several stories to unsubstantiated allegations of racism and spitting by Tea Party protesters last weekend, the New York Times almost ignored an actual death threat made against a top Republican, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 Republican in the House, that resulted in the first actual arrest since the alleged wave of threats against politicians began.
Norman Leboon of Philadelphia was ordered held without bail pending a mental health evaluation after trying to post a video threatening Cantor onto the clip-sharing site Youtube.
The Times made do with a one-paragraph Associated Press brief buried in the National Briefing section on page 18, with an uninformative headline: "Philadelphia: Man Held in Threat on Congressman." (The Times also ran a four-paragraph story on the paper's "Caucus" blog Monday afternoon.)
By contrast, the Washington Post's Anita Kumar devoted a comprehensive story to the incident in Tuesday's paper, including details not included in the Times's AP dispatch, like the most threatening quote from Leboon's video: "You receive my bullets in your office, remember they will be placed in your heads. You and your children are Lucifer's abominations." The Post also reported that Leboon donated $505 to Obama's presidential campaign.
The Weather Underground and the Tea Party movement: Same thing?
In the wake of Obama-care's passage, New York Times reporter Benedict Carey took the country's political temperature, and found it running a right-wing fever, in a front-page Sunday Week in Review essay. It's ominous title was cribbed from the famous scene in the movie "Network," "RAGE's DNA: Mad As Hell. And..." The online headline is even blunter: "When Does Political Anger Turn to Violence?"
The story is accompanied by a photo illustration of an open book of matches, one of them lit.
There's also a really strange choice of photo caption on the jump page: an archive photo, courtesy of Getty Images, of the late-1960s left-wing domestic terrorist group The Weathermen, including Obama friend Bill Ayers, directly above a similar picture of marching Tea Party protesters from last Sunday. Here's the caption, which suggested that while the two movements are not the same they share some DNA:
VARYING DEGREES OF RAGE The Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, second from right, during the Days of Rage in 1969, and anti-health reform protesters in Washington on Sunday.
Monday's Washington Post continues the "ugly" health-care protest theme by somehow making a national story out of a protest "which never included more than three people at a time" outside the home of freshman Rep. Steve Driehaus in west Cincinnati. That's on A-3.
The Post said the poor Democrat found "angry protesters wouldn't allow him a full escape from the raw and vitriolic discussions that have embroiled the health-care debate for more than a year."
In the Metro section, the Post took days to acknowledge that the GOP headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia discovered two bricks thrown through its "very thick" double-pane glass windows on Friday morning. That's in the bottom left-hand corner of B-6.
Perhaps tuning in to NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" isn't high on your list of priorities, outside of wanting the chance to catch Dan Rather suggest something bizarre like President Barack Obama couldn't sell watermelons. However, if you had watched the March 28 broadcast of the program, you would have found the show's roster of panelists think the Tea Party movement is a black mark on the Republican Party, as far as it pertains to unseating the Democratic majority in Congress.
Matthews' show featured NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, Newsweek's senior Washington correspondent Howard Fineman, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger and Atlantic senior editor Andrew Sullivan. In the aftermath of the passage of ObamaCare into law, some have suggested this was a defeat for the Tea Party movement. Matthews asked if the mere existence of this movement was a plus or minus for the Republican Party.
"OK, all things considered, if there were no Tea Party crowd, we never saw them demonstrate - would that be better for the Republican Party, or is the Tea Party a plus for them in November, winning elections?" Matthews asked.
If the media outlets are going to report on tea party events, they're not likely to get any benefit of the doubt much of the time.
Case in point - at the Tea Party Express event on March 27 in Searchlight, Nev., which former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke, CNN's Fredricka Whitfield wasn't quite prepared to give the rally credit it was due as far as participation. She estimated that hundreds, but if not, "at least dozens of people" were in attendance. (h/t fstaff with assist from Mark Finkelstein)
"Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin there in Searchlight, Nev., was the backyard of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but today it's the backdrop of this Tea Party Express - making a stop here," Whitfield said. "Hundreds of people, at least dozens of people - we haven't gotten a count of how many people turned out there. We heard Sarah Palin talk about everything about the campaign, to unseat Sen. Reid to what she calls ObamaCare, on the heels of that health care vote and even talking about her definition of her love of America."
However, as MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski suggested, discretion should be exercised with the amount of attention given to these radical components of the opposition to President Barack Obama's health care reform endeavors.
"Yeah, call it out but also I think we have to be careful along the way," Brzezinski said on the March 26 broadcast. "I think this happened during the campaign. I think this happened during the final hours of the health care debate where certain fringe, really minute members of it were highlighted."
Not content with simply reporting on threats against lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare, the liberal media has taken it upon itself (with a bit of direction from the Democratic Party) to blame the Tea Party and the GOP.
The coverage stands in stark contrast to the litany of similar instances involving conservatives and Republicans. They were treated as isolated incidents, if discussed at all.
CNN's Rick Sanchez certainly got the memo. On his show yesterday, he accused "crazy talk show hosts" and the Republican Party of inciting violence against lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare. He took to Twitter later that night to ask, "are our fundamentalist zealots different than the ones we fight in afghan and iraq?"
The crescendo of bigotry by the left-wing media against the Tea Party movement reached a disgusting pinnacle yesterday with MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann indicting the entire movement as being homophobic racists based on the actions of a few fringe protestors.
The media coverage from other networks - particularly ABC and CBS - the past few days has followed suit, attributing to the millions of Americans who fiercely oppose ObamaCare the disgraceful outbursts of a few.
In response, Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell issued the following statement today:
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.
Is The Washington Post playing favorites with causes that inspire people to exercise their First Amendment rights and take to the streets to protest? When it comes to opposition to Democratic efforts to reform health care versus opposition to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it appears so.
In a March 20 Washington Post story headlined "Obama delivers plea to 'help us fix this system,'" Ben Pershing, Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery suggested House Democrats were gaining momentum in their pursuit of the 216 votes needed to pass health care reform legislation, despite "hundreds" of "tea party" protesters rallying outside the U.S. Capitol. (h/t Amanda Carpenter)
"Outside the Capitol, hundreds of 'tea party' protesters rallied against the legislation, jeering Democratic lawmakers as they passed and holding signs reading 'We'll Remember in November' and 'Revolution,' Pershing, Kane and Montgomery wrote.
[Update, 10:21 am Eastern on Monday: Knoller responded on Sunday on Twitter to the criticism he was receiving online, stating that 'I wasn't aware there was any slur or pejorative associated with that term. The moment it was pointed out, I stopped using it." (H/t: Clay Waters of TimesWatch, Stephen Gutowski of NewsBusters).]
CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller revived the use of a vulgar sexual term to refer to Tea Party protesters on Saturday afternoon via Twitter: "Obama's motorcade arrives at Capitol Hill. Boos and jeers passing tea bagger protests."
CNN.com has an article on its website extolling the virtues of the Coffee Party. The glowing language the piece uses to describe the movement stands in stark contrast to the cable network's treatment of Tea Party groups over the past year.
It is plain now that CNN harbors no such ill will towards the Coffee Party, which reporter Jessica Ravitch described as just a bunch of everyday Americans gathering to express their dissatisfaction with the political status quo (gee, that sounds a lot like the Tea Party movement, but I digress).
CNN's Jim Acosta omitted the left-wing affiliation of pro-ObamaCare protesters during a report on Wednesday's American Morning, referring to them as only "health care advocates and labor groups." Acosta, like his colleague Nancy Cordes at CBS, also highlighted child protester Marcelas Owens, and labeled him a "brave young man."
Kiran Chetry and John Roberts introduced Acosta's report, and the anchors also failed to mention the political bent of the protest, which was organized by the Health Care for America Now coalition (HCAN's members include the AFL-CIO, NAACP, and Planned Parenthood). Chetry remarked that "thousands though rallied in Washington against what they call 'insurance industry bullying.'" Roberts stated that the demonstration was "one for the books."
After ignoring the Tea Party movement for two months, it took the New York Times just one week to jump on the leftish "Coffee Party" in a report by Kate Zernike criticized by Times Watch and others for its gushing tone and for failing to identify the new group as a left-wing opponent of the Tea Party protesters.
By contrast, a follow up by Zernike on the front-page of the Sunday Week in Review made sure to quickly label the Coffee Party as "a leftish alternative to the Tea Party movement."
But then there's the headline over her story: "Democrats Need a Rally Monkey." Who says the Democrats "need" anything? Does the Times have a rooting interest in Democrat success?
On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN anchor Ali Velshi unexpectedly supported Starbucks' decision to stand by its policy of letting gun-owning customers openly-carry their weapons in states where it is legal to do so. Despite hinting he didn't see the need for guns in coffee shops, Velshi stated it was "better for businesses not to weigh into this unwinnable debate."
The anchor weighed in on the Starbucks controversy during a commentary at the end of the 2 pm Eastern hour. Velshi didn't mention that it was specifically the Brady Campaign for Prevent Gun Violence that was pushing for the company to turn its coffeehouses into "gun-free zones," as reported by the AP on Thursday. He only stated that "gun control advocates want Starbucks to take a stand." The CNN anchor also omitted that in its statement on the controversy, Starbucks requested that "all interested parties to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners into the middle of this divisive issue."
But as one reads Zak's article, it becomes clear the nascent "Coffee Party" movement is a decaf brew of mostly liberals whining about how the rabble are roused by the Tea Parties while they, the sophisticates "have real political dialogue with substance and compassion":
Furious at the tempest over the Tea Party -- the scattershot citizen uprising against big government and wild spending -- Annabel Park did what any American does when she feels her voice has been drowned out: She squeezed her anger into a Facebook status update.
let's start a coffee party . . . smoothie party. red bull party. anything but tea. geez. ooh how about cappuccino party? that would really piss 'em off bec it sounds elitist . . . let's get together and drink cappuccino and have real political dialogue with substance and compassion.
As my colleague Tim Graham brought to my attention this morning, Newsweek is not content to let its advocacy for ObamaCare lie in the realm of biased writing. Nope, it appears the gang at Newsweek wants to help along President Obama by lampooning earnest Americans who expressed their displeasure last year at town hall meetings.
Why Newsweek chose now to roll out its photo gallery on "The Town Hall Face" now is anyone's guess, but I believe it's part of an effort by Newsweek to deride the skeptical American public as too deranged to understand how good ObamaCare will be for them.
Here's how the editors prefaced their 23-image slideshow, wherein most targets of derision were ObamaCare critics:
The left's comedic mud-slingers have been working overtime lately. Bill Maher injected his latest bit of invective Friday when he labeled the Tea Party movement a "cult" and hurled epithets at major conservative figures. Angry that Americans would dare object to his particular brand of ultra-liberal politics, Maher has recieved a bit of press lately for his unending stream of hatred for anyone who disagrees with him. He consistently mocks Sarah Palin and her son Trig. And he certainly has a lot of disdain for the American people--you know, the ones who "love the troops the way Michael Vick loves dogs" and are "not bright enough to really understand the issues." So Maher's latest bit of vitriol on HBO's "Real Time" - reserved for Americans who have the gall to voice their political principles - was hardly a surprise (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
The liberal press is determined, it seems, to tie Joe Stack's apparent suicide in Austin today to the Tea Party movement. NewsBusters has reported on three such attempts, and now New York Magazine has thrown its hat in the ring.
Like Time Magazine, MSNBC, and the Washington Post, New York Magazine cherry-picked portions of Stack's apparent suicide note, which he posted online, in order to support the contention that he was acting out of a radical hatred of the IRS and the federal government in general.
Also like the those three bastions of media liberalism, NY Magazine did not include the final two lines of Stack's note. They are perhaps the most politically consequential lines in the entire note, yet they were suspiciously absent from the piece. They should also put to rest any notion that this man was in any way affiliated with the Tea Party movement.
On Feb. 6, former President Ronald Reagan would have celebrated his 99th birthday. Since he's thought of as a conservative icon, some have wondered what he would have thought of the modern conservative movement, specifically the tea parties and the rise of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
If you listen to Reagan's son Ron, who has recently appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball" and HLN's "The Joy Behar Show," and tends to have a left-of-center perspective, one might think Reagan would have looked down upon the tea party protests and Palin. That's not the case according to his other son Michael.
The liberal website Talking Points Memo continues to report on a bigoted individual who speciously claims to represent 6 million members of the Tea Party movement as a "leader."
In fact, he doesn't represent anyone but himself.
Readers can only infer from TPM's consistentcoverageofone Dale Robertson that the website is attempting to play up the most radical figure it can find who associates with the Tea Party movement. The website referred to Robertson today as a "prominent Tea Party leader" in the first sentence of a story headlined, "'Warning: Tea Party In Danger': Leader Slams Palin As 'Wolf In Sheep's Clothing.'"
But not only doesn't Robertson represent any faction of the movement, he has also been publicly and consistently rebuffed by a number of Tea Party groups who want nothing to do with his message. Even liberal blogs have noted the duplicity in associating him with the Tea Party movement.
"I’m reminded the term Teabaggers is pornographic. Didn’t know that until MSM told me. Let’s face it: The Baggers own it now." — The latest from Roger Ebert’s [depicted at left in 2003 file photo at right] Twitter, presumably in response to this.
Ebert’s seen a lot of films but obviously hasn’t learned very much from them. When he disappeared into the hospital for all those months, those of us who disagreed with his politics put those meaningless differences aside as we worried and prayed for the robust return of the thumb that had become such a part of our lives. But who would’ve guessed he wouldn’t come out of his near-death experience like the movies taught him to: as a kinder, more understanding, more tolerant and patient man with a new appreciation for the simple and human things in life? No, he went the opposite way and the story of Roger Ebert’s life will now look as though the projectionist got the reels for “Regarding Henry” confused.
It’s been extraordinary to watch this once beloved critic squander all the universal affection and goodwill he had built up over a lifetime in just a few short months. And over nothing. No one bad-mouthed his mother or rang his doorbell and ran. We disagree on the size and scope of the federal government. We disagree over the idea that increased government control will improve our health care. We’re not as enamored as he is with the man currently occupying the Oval Office. Disagree, argue, that’s all fine. But he’s calling us “teabaggers,” and he knows full well what that means. And he’s calling us “teabaggers” because he doesn’t have the guts to come right out and call us “c***suckers.”
Since Tea Party protests became an influential movement on the national scene last year, the left in general and the liberal media in particular have tried (unsuccessfully) to render it irrelevant in the eyes of the American people. By throwing around accusations of racism and dire warnings of impending violence, these pundits have tried, unsuccessfully to undermine the movement.
University of Virginia Professor Gerard Alexander explored this trend more generally in yesterday's Washington Post poses the question, pondering, "Why Are Liberals So Condescending?" In his column, Alexander details four types of condescension widespread among the far-left and omnipresent in its talking points. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all four have been employed by left-leaning journalists to bash the Tea Party movement.
"American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives," Alexander writes, "appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration."
When tens of thousands gather in Washington to protest legalized abortion, The New York Times has in recent years mostly ignored it – which seems especially odd when they spotlight tiny liberal protests as newsworthy. It happened again on Thursday, as the Times ran a photograph of about ten protesters of the National Prayer Breakfast – outside the Capitol Hill house of "The Family," the secretive evangelical group that sponsors the event.
Times religion reporter Laurie Goodstein offered a story loaded with liberal Prayer Breakfast critics, and no supporters. (A spokesman for "The Family" offered several comments on the group and its secrecy, but not on the breakfast.) The headline was "Prayer Breakfast, Long a Must in Washington, Draws Controversy." She began by suggesting the breakfast is a longtime networking event of "scrambled eggs and supplication."
She then described how Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), described only as an "ethics group" and a "government watchdog group," advocated that government leaders should not show up, and that C-SPAN cameras should go away, all because of the "a combination of the intolerance of the organization’s views, and the secrecy surrounding the organization."