Milling around the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally today, I couldn't quite figure out the point. The acoustics were so bad also that you could barely hear anything unless you were right by the stage. Straining here and there, I was able to catch a smattering of dialogue but Colbert and Stewart really could not be heard during most of the time in the various locations I was at. Not being able to hear anything didn't seem to bother most of the attendees however, most of whom were wandering around looking at many of the funny (and attempted funny) signs.
Not all of the signs were trying to be funny, however. Most of the ire of the angry demonstrators seemed to be directed against Glenn Beck and Fox News. There were also a few anti-Republican signs as well, including at least one of Republican politicians Sarah Palin, John Boehner, and Eric Cantor with Adolph Hitler mustaches alongside conservative talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
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.
Sometimes the liberal media's bias is subtle and nuanced, even, dare I say, clever.
This is not one of those times.
On Sirius host Lynn Samuels's eponymous program yesterday, Richard Bey, a liberal talk show host, peddled the laughable assertion that, compared to former President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama has governed as an inclusive, consensus-building chief executive.
"We embrace debate," declared Bey, referring to Democrats and liberals. "They don't. And if you want an example of that, go back and look at some of George Bush's town halls and then look at President Obama and some of the people who have approached him so closely that they're able to engage him in critical discussion, critical of his presidency, for quite a long period of time." [Audio here.]
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 Tuesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric warned of violence against abortion doctors, based flyers being circulated by a pro-life group: "Their pictures are showing up on posters. Now doctors who perform abortions fear for their lives." The posters in question did not call for any violence whatsoever.
Despite that fact, Couric later introduced the story by declaring: "Now some doctors in North Carolina...fear they're being marked for murder." Correspondent Michelle Miller reported: "They look like wanted posters from the wild west, but they're not photos of criminals, but of doctors in North Carolina who perform abortions." She noted how the doctors in question "asked us to block their faces." In dramatic fashion, a doctor with a blurred face and altered voice argued: "It doesn't say 'wanted dead or alive,' but the implication is very clearly there."
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.
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).
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":
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:
It’s been more than six months since the left accused Tea Party protesters of calling members of the Congressional Black Caucus “racial epithets” while they were walking to the Capitol to cast their historic votes for health care reform.
Despite the fact no video or audio (until now) has surfaced, showing any Tea Party protester in the act of racially slurring elected officials, and despite the fact that Andrew Breitbart has offered $100,000 to anyone who could provide that proof, liberals continue to perpetuate the false accusation and the media has never retracted and/or apologized for their slanderous accusations.
While the "media will wade into a Tea Party event with hundreds of thousands of people looking for that one brain-dead Lyndon LaRouche follower" who says something asinine that they can plaster "all over the news," they have ignored the insane rhetoric coming from featured speakers at last Saturday's "One Nation Working Together" rally, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told viewers of the October 7 edition of "Hannity."
Appearing on last night's 9 p.m. Eastern program for the popular recurring "Media Mash" segment, the Media Research Center quoted the extreme rhetoric of musician Harry Belafonte, which was ignored by the mainstream media:
The New York Times, which is opposed to First Amendment protections for political advertising, has an untrammeled view of free speech when it comes to violent video games and even the picketing of soldiers' funerals by the family of Fred Phelps, infamous for their "God Hates Fags" signs and other despicable messages.
The New York Times Co. has filed a "friend of the court" brief with the Supreme Court (along with 20 other news outlets) in support of Phelps's church, which is being sued by the family of fallen Marine Matthew Snyder for picketing his funeral, displaying signs like "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates you."
The Times found the matter important enough to devote Thursday's lead editorial to it -- "Lamentable Speech."
To the American Nazi Party, Hustler Magazine, and other odious figures in Supreme Court history, add the Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. and the members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. Their antigay protests at the funeral of a soldier slain in Iraq were deeply repugnant but protected by the First Amendment.
All of the sympathy in the case of Snyder v. Phelps, which was argued on Wednesday at the Supreme Court, goes to the family of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, the fallen Marine. But as the appeals court in the case observed, using words of Justice Felix Frankfurter, "It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have often been forged in controversies involving not very nice people." That happened when the court protected Hustler's right to mock the Rev. Jerry Falwell and the right of American Nazis to march in Skokie, Ill.
Kate Zernike, the New York Times's Tea Party reporter, can add another scalp to her collection. This one belongs to ‘obscure' Nobel Prize-winning economist Freidrich Hayek and his wacky theories like "rule of law."
"Once-obscure texts by dead writers" such as Hayek, wrote Zernike, are full of "long-dormant ideas" and strange arguments like Hayek's claim, as summarized by Zernike, that "government that intervened in the economy would inevitably intervene in every aspect of its citizens' lives." Who would believe that?
Hayek, meanwhile, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974 and is widely considered to be one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century. But Zernike just can't get over his radical views, principally that he advocates "a return to the principles of Austrian economics" and "the rule of law." I know, real wingnut stuff.
On Sunday, New York Times labor-beat reporter Steven Greenhouse attended the left-wing “One Nation” rally for “Liberal Groups rally in Washington, Offering a Challenge to the Tea Party.” Unusually, Greenhouse led off with a specific (and rather generous) crowd estimate of “tens of thousands,” something the paper was unwilling to do for larger rallies held in D.C. by the Tea Party and talk show host Glenn Beck. (Kate Zernike and Carl Hulse referred to the crowd at Beck's rally as "enormous" at the top of an August 29 story.)
The Associated Press wasn’t as impressed as Greenhouse with the "One Nation" crowd size, finding only “Thousands of people” and admitting: “While the Beck rally stretched well down the National Mall, Saturday's event was shaping up to be far smaller, with sparse groups lingering around the reflecting pool and other monuments.”
Reason.com has comparison photos that, with some caveats, show a vastly larger crowd for Beck’s August 28 rally than for the “One Nation” rally on Saturday.
Here’s Greenhouse’s snappy lead:
Tens of thousands of union members, environmentalists and peace activists rallied at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, seeking to carry on the message of jobs and justice that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. trumpeted at a rally at the same site 47 years ago.
There are so many problematic items in the establishment press's treatment of yesterday's "One Nation" rally in Washington that it's difficult to know where to begin.
So let's start at the very beginning. Among the many howlers in the coverage is a claim the Associated Press's Philip Elliott pass without response towards the end of his 12:21 p.m Saturday report (saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes; bold is mine):
One Nation organizers said that they began planning their event before learning about Beck's rally and that their march is not in reaction to it.
It would appear that either Elliott felt that this statement would easily withstand scrutiny, and thus performed none himself, or that he knew better, and let it get into his report anyway.
Given the fact that so-called progressives have been continually monitoring Beck's activities and pronouncements for several years, One Nation's organizers would have to prove that they began substantively "planning their event" before November 21, 2009. Good luck with that.
An official NAACP video for Saturday's One Nation rally (featuring their leader Ben Jealous, among others) claims that their movement includes "Conservatives and moderates, progressives and liberals." But a look at the actual "endorsing organizations" on the One Nation website doesn't list conservative groups, but it does include the Communist Party USA, the Committee of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (founded as a "moderate" wing of the CPUSA), the International Socialist Organization (publishers of SocialistWorker.org), and the Democratic Socialists of America (as well as its Chicago, Detroit, and New York chapters).
And the liberals get mad when you associate them with socialism. Well, what are these groups doing on this list, then? Where are the media worrying about "fringes" and "extremists"?
These endorsements have been missing from news accounts. AP's pre-protest dispatch by Nafeesa Syeed surgically began "Groups pushing for progressive policies will gather in the nation's capital this weekend for a march aimed at recapturing momentum for their agenda and mobilizing supporters before next month's midterm elections." Krissah Thompson left this angle out in her Washington Post story.
On the National Public Radio show Tell Me More, host Michel Martin welcomed in three liberals on Wednesday, but tried so very hard not to identify them or the march as "liberal" or "left-wing." The issue of fringy endorsing organizations never came up. She began:
Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart argued against Maher after the Real Time host linked conservative protesters to images of President Obama with a Hitler moustache, and went on to recount his own observations of left-wing protesters depicting conservatives with Hitler moustaches. This portion of show could be seen on the Web site during the Overtime portion of the show.
Breitbart also recalled the case of conservative activist Kenneth Gladney being physically attacked and called by a racial epithet by left-wing SEIU members, and his own experience of being called "gay" by protesters on the left.
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Friday, September 24, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO:
As Politico reported on Wednesday, during a gathering in a Richmond, Virginia home, President Obama "seemed to offer a ringing endorsement" of Daily Show host Jon Stewart holding a 'Rally to Restore Sanity' in Washington DC, supposedly as a way to allow moderate nonpartisan voices to be heard.
Obama declared: "...apparently he's going to host a rally called something like Americans in favor of a return to sanity....And his point was 70 percent of the people – it doesn't matter what political affiliation –70 percent of folks are just like you. They go about their business. They work hard every day. They're looking after their families. They don't go around calling people names. They don't make stuff up."
Stewart has claimed that the rally is nonpartisan and designed to promote moderation: "If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence... we couldn't. That's sort of the point." However, Obama's endorsement clearly demonstrates a decidedly liberal slant to the event. In addition, NewsBusters' Tim Graham earlier reported that the rally was being organized by two former aides to Bill Clinton.
As we near the midterm elections, left-wingers will be reading from the same tired playbook – the attempted marginalization of the Tea Party movement, but just more of it. But more and more, they are discovering the tactics are tougher to defend, as their side has their own fringe, loose-cannon elements.
KERNEN: I want to talk to you about something, later about -- you're calling Tea Party people wing nuts and fruit loops? RENDELL: Not all of them. KERNEN: Not all of them? You saw the president, the president basically said that most of them, most of the Tea Party “are directed and financed by powerful and special interests lobbies,” this is in the Journal today. That's most of them and the rest of them are bigots. So you're either directed by special interests … RENDELL: I don't believe it. KERNEN: Seventy-one percent of Republicans, according to this poll today in the Journal identify – so, you've just trashed the entire half of the country. CARUSO-CABRERA: He says slowly but surely, the GOP is taken over by whackos. RENDELL: There’s no question about that.
Lately the Fox News Channel’s overnight program “Red Eye” has offered a plethora of media criticism – much of it dead-spot on. Last week during this his “Gregalogue” segment, host Greg Gutfeld took on the so-called “Rally to Restore Sanity” offered up by Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
“So President Obama was just interviewed in Rolling Stone magazine -- that thinning pamphlet for our country's dwindling supply of pony-tailed pensioners,” Gutfeld said. “When asked about Fox News, this is what our Commander-in-Chief had to say.”
If Arianna Huffington, an admitted “progressive,” announces she’s offering transportation to individuals that desire to participate in Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s “million moderate march,” can it really be described as “moderate?”
“We are getting a Huff Post bus. If there is anybody unsure how to get there, talk to me,” Huffington said. “[J]ust come to the Huffington Post, 560 Broadway in SoHo. The bus will be there. We’ll take you with us.”
A terrorist group bombs a police funeral? It must be some "patriots" upset about health care reform and our black president, or something.
That, at least, is what some viewers took away from the season premiere of CBS's hit show "CSI". The episode starred teen pop star Justin Bieber as "a domestic terrorist with Tea Party leanings," in the words of the New York Times, implicated in the bombing of a Las Vegas police officer's funeral.
In the show, a cell phone used to trigger the bomb is traced back to a group of "patriots" - those government-hating extremists the Southern Poverty Law Center keeps warning us are on the verge of waging violent revolution - that are, according to some viewers (including the Times, apparently), crude portrayals of Tea Party protesters.
For the last several weeks there has been a debate raging over whether the grounds surrounding where the 9/11 attacks in Lower Manhattan are sacred and if it would be an appropriate place for an Islamic place of worship to be built. But if it isn’t appropriate, would it be an appropriate place for a Tea Party rally to be held? Possibly not.
But whether that’s the case or not, Newsweek’s David A. Graham would have you believe there will be a so-called “Election Day Tea Party rally” held at Ground Zero, led by former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, as an effort to shore up support for a 2012 presidential bid.
“Tonight, free-market capitalism on the comeback trail,” Kudlow said on his Sept. 15 program. “That is one of the messages of the Tea Party power. We saw a lot of that power last night in the primaries. I tell you what folks, that Tea Party power, that free-market capitalist power is so totally bullish for the stock market.”
In his 7-question September 22 Q&A with Markos Moulitsas, Time magazine's Ishaan Tharoor timidly challenged the left-wing blogger on his extremist rhetoric about how conservative Americans, particularly religious ones, are the "American Taliban."
Moulitsas was interviewed as part of his publicity tour for his new book, "American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right" which "takes aim at what Moulitsas thinks is animating this right-wing revival," Tharoor noted. "You refer to a whole swath of U.S. conservatives as American Taliban. Is that really helpful?" Tharoor began meekly. Moulitsas, of course, cranked it up to eleven and let loose with a boilerplate screed about how evil and subversive American conservatives are: