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:
While it seems like so many of Jon Stewart's adoring fans in the media are elated to see a counter-Tea Party, not many have been willing to call this event what it is - an event to belittle people who are exercising their rights as citizens to protest their government.
"So last week Jon Stewart announced he was going to hold a rally of his own in Washington D.C., to restore reason, sanity or whatever," Gutfeld said. "[N]ow, it's a cute idea - not as good as a gay bar next to a mosque [something Gutfeld had proposed in response to the "Ground Zero Mosque"] - but it's an appropriate, hipster response to the tea parties and Glenn Beck's thing. It's exactly the thing that the bald nerdy guy in glasses from The New York Times subscription commercial might attend and feel totally good about himself afterward - which raises an interesting question: would Stewart have announced his event if those other events had a decidedly liberal tilt?"
Collectively they gave her less than five minutes.
The Republican Delaware Senate nominee gave a speech at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. this afternoon from about 3:25 to 3:45 p.m. EDT. Of the three major cable news networks, Fox News showed none of the speech while MSNBC's Chris Jansing gave viewers just under a minute of O'Donnell audio before interviewing Time magazine's Jay Newton-Small about concerns some GOP operatives have about O'Donnell being a weaker matchup against the Democratic nominee than Rep. Mike Castle (R) would have been.
Only CNN's Rick Sanchez gave O'Donnell a substantial chunk of time: 3 minutes and 33 seconds. When Sanchez cut away from O'Donnell, he noted that she's "getting her first taste of the national spotlight" since clinching the nomination and promised that CNN would "continue to follow as the midterms in November draws near."
Closing out the "Media Mash" segment on the September 16 edition of his eponymous "Hannity" program, the Fox News host asked for NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell's reaction to NBC's Meredith Vieira telling House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that the Bush tax cuts "didn't succeed" and asking him "what's so good about them?":
Memo to Meredith [Vieira]: You can have a debate about what future tax cuts might or might not result in but a record is a record. Under George Bush, 8 million jobs were created with his tax cuts. With Ronald Reagan's tax cuts there were 20 million jobs created. We've done nothing but lose jobs with Barack Obama with the stimulus package. Truth is truth, facts are facts. Don't go on television saying it didn't work. It did work!
The economy-boosting, jobs-creating benefits of across-the-board tax cuts are not all the media are not telling the truth about. The Media Research Center founder and president also addressed how the media, particularly ABC's Christiane Amanpour are smearing everyday Americans as "Islamophobic" [Listen to MP3 audio here or download WMV video here]:
On Sunday, NewsBusters contributor and Media Research Center video producer Bob Parks attended the 9/12 rally in Washington, D.C., where he interviewed some black attendees to bust the liberal media meme that the Tea Party movement is a practically all-white affair.
On the September 11th Saturday Early Show, CBS News Middle East analyst Reza Aslan slammed opponents of the Ground Zero mosque as having "unapologetically politicized" 9/11 and being part of a "whole wave of anti-Muslim sentiment."
While he denounced others for trying to "take advantage of this symbol for their own political purposes," Aslan made his comments only seconds after live coverage of the first moment of silence for victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Co-host Chris Wragge accepted Aslan's characterization of the controversy and responded: "...this is not an opportunity to add controversy into the mix. If there's one day, you know what, to keep our mouths quiet and let's just reflect on the lives lost, today is it, you don't mess with that."
Aslan followed up by admitting: "I'll be honest with you, I hope that there is kind of a backlash against what's going on right now. As you know, at 1pm today there'll be a rally in support of the so-called Park 51 project, at 3pm there'll be this international rally against it. So, I'm hoping that Americans all over the country see these images and think we've gone too far."
He later specifically condemned mosque opponents: "...particularly in the case of this sort of international anti-Islam rally that's being brought by this group called Stop Islamization of America. And they're inviting all these European anti-Muslim politicians in to speak. I mean, that's really now taking this to a whole other level."
On Wednesday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez tried to connect the overwhelming opposition to the planned Ground Zero mosque to a Florida pastor's "Burn a Koran Day" event. Sanchez asked former New York Governor George Pataki, "Do you feel in any way that some of this backlash...led by some fine gentlemen like yourself...has kind of paved the way for that controversy, and if so, do you feel guilty at all?" [audio clip available here]
Sanchez interviewed Pataki during the prime time edition of his program. Just before the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour, the anchor raised Pastor Terry Jones's planned inflammatory protest: "Let me ask you one final question, if I possibly can. There's this new hullabaloo going on in Gainesville, Florida, with this pastor who wants to literally burn Korans. And now, we're getting protests in Afghanistan- our generals are saying this guy's going to get our troops killed."
UK Telegraph columnist Janet Daley blasted the BBC on Tuesday for treating the tea party movement "as if it were a cross between the Klu [sic] Klux Klan and the German neo-fascist brigade."
While Daley's piece is a stirring and hard-hitting indictment of the BBC's coverage, she seems to believe that its disdainful approach to the tea party movement stems from a failure to understand the American political tradition. But by that logic, American reporters, who presumably do understand that tradition, would refrain from such coverage.
Let's see: Nazi comparisons? Check. KKK comparisons? Check. The fact is the American media elite are more akin to their British counterparts than to the tea party protesters they all cover. Liberal elitism knows no borders.
The breaking news about James Lee's standoff at the educational channel's Silver Spring, Maryland office building dominated Sanchez's broadcast. Twenty-five minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, during an interview of former hostage negotiator Tom Fuentes, the anchor summarized Lee's manifesto: "He apparently wants the Discovery Channel...[to] broadcast certain commitments to save the planet...He's apparently anti-war....He's concerned about global warming, talks about Malthusian sciences, continues to come back to saving the planet." He then asked Fuentes, "So...if you get my drift, Tom, he's very concerned. He's an activist, may be very well-meaning, but he's now put himself in a situation where he, the police officers and his hostages' lives are endangered. What do you do?"
On Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty revisited one of his favorite subjects of ire, the Catholic Church, and this time called for the ordination of women. Cafferty highlighted the advertising campaign of a British organization which demands that Pope Benedict XVI allow for such simulations of ordination, and mocked a Catholic priest's defense of the all-male priesthood.
The commentator devoted his 6 pm Eastern hour Cafferty File segment to the issue of women's ordination: "'Pope Benedict: ordain women now'- that's the message that will be plastered on London buses when the pontiff heads to England's capital in a couple of weeks. A group called Catholic Women's Ordination is spending $15,000 for 15 buses to carry posters with that message around London for a month."
Cafferty then moved to the opposing viewpoint, and wasted little time before bashing it and one of its defenders: "Father Stephen Wang says women are not barred from the priesthood because of sexism....Wang says that Jesus chose 12 men, and no women, to be his apostles, and he adds that men and women are equal in Christianity, but that gender still matters. Wang compares the role of a priest to an actor, saying no one would be surprised if he wanted a male actor to play King Arthur. He then admits the analogy is weak. That's the most startling and profound thing he said in the message so far- terrible!"
New York Times reporter Kate Zernike, whose book on the Tea Party movement,"Boiling Mad," is due out next month, led off Saturday's National section by suggesting racism on the part of Fox News host Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial later that day.
Beck has outraged the left with the timing of the rally, the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King's March on Washington and the "I Have a Dream" speech.
Although Zernike and others in the media use "Tea Party faithful" as shorthand to mark the rally, the actual gathering on Saturday turned out to be far more religious than political, with Zernike herself likening it to a "large church picnic" in her Sunday coverage.
It seems the ultimate thumb in the eye: that Glenn Beck would summon the Tea Party faithful to a rally on the anniversary of the March on Washington, and address them from the very place where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I have a dream" speech 47 years ago. After all, the Tea Party and its critics have been facing off for months over accusations of racism.
There is something about CNN and the people writing chyrons for the alleged "most trusted name in news" with the "best political team on television." Last week, these geniuses clarified the White House's position on President Barack Obama's religion.
However on CNN Aug. 28 coverage of Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, which CNN reporters and anchors seemingly held their collective noses up and reported on throughout the event, the chyron on the screen was something likened to one of those parlor games where you circle the numerous errors involved. (h/t Inside Cable News)
First off, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's name was misspelled. Second, she was identified as a former presidential candidate, when she was actually the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008. And finally, it's labeling Beck as Palin. Just not a good day for CNN.
A reporter for the St. Louis paper the Riverfront Times has a message for all the members of the Tea Party movement he smeared with false accusations of political violence: "I have no regrets."
Chad Garrison penned a blog post last week speculating that a member of the Tea Party had firebombed the office of Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo. "Given what we know of [the perpatrator] - 50, white, angry - he certainly fits the demographics of a Tea Party member," Garrison wrote. " "On second thought," he added, "maybe he's not a Tea Party member. Firebombing your opponent's office seems a little too, um, sane for that group."
But it turns out the man was actually a disgruntled former Carnahan staffer and blogger for the left-wing site Talking Points Memo, not a member of the Tea Party. Members of the movement asked Garrison to retract. His response: lighten up, wingnuts.
Just like NBC and ABC this morning, CBS’s The Early Show had a hostile take on Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally scheduled for Saturday on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Correspondent Whit Johnson labeled Beck a “controversial conservative,” event speaker Alveda King (a niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.) a “longtime advocate for conservative causes,” and suggested that the fact that some attendees “will get there on Tea Party-sponsored buses” contradicted the idea that this would be a non-political event.
Yet talking about liberal rabble rouser and onetime Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton, Johnson offered no ideological labels or even a tag that Sharpton might be “controversial.” Instead, Sharpton’s event was described as a rally “hosted by civil rights leaders,” and showcased his slam: “The things that Beck stands for are antithetical to the civil rights movement."
For good measure, Johnson brought in a second Beck critic, Daily Beast writer and frequent CNN talking head John Avlon. “Where Martin Luther King was a uniter,” Avlon slammed, “Glenn Beck is a professional divider.”
UPDATE (7:05 PM): Color of Change's executive director responds. See his response, and my response to his response, below the fold.
Reading through material from the "Turn Off Fox" campaign, one gets the very clear impression that the folks at the Fox News Channel are bald-faced liars. They have "no regard for the truth," and use "half-truths" to push a "stream of misinformation" and "distortions of the truth."
Turn Off Fox is a project started by Color of Change, the far-left political organization founded by neo-Marxist and black liberation theologist Van Jones.
Despite Turn Off Fox's righteous indignation, the same document making the above accusations pushes blatant misinformation about both Fox and the Tea Party movement. Got that? The Turn Off Fox campaign wants FNC to tell the truth, and uses demonstrable falsehoods to bolster its case.
The document accusing Fox of pushing misinformation claims that Bill O'Reilly got former USDA official Shirley Sherrod fired, and claims that Tea Party protesters shouted racial slurs and spit on black congressmen outside the Capitol. Both claims have been thoroughly debunked.
Wasn't comparing your political opponents to Nazis once a no-no? I mean, just remember how upset the liberal concern police would get if some wayward individual at a Tea Party event in some random place in the United States had a homemade sign protesting President Barack Obama and invoked Nazi Germany symbolism?
Well, you would think - or at least expect a national TV host (even with considerably lower ratings than his competition) would certainly avoid using Nazis symbolism to attack those with which they disagree, right? No, apparently it's just a double standard. On MSNBC's Aug. 25 "The Ed Show," a seemingly angry host Ed Schultz said he was "fired up" about the Aug. 28 Glenn Beck event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
"This is the story that has me fired up tonight - Glenn Beck is distorting Martin Luther King's dream and his Tea Party followers are on edge," Schultz sais. "You know, I just sense that we are going down a very dangerous road right now when a political organization like the Tea Party has members trying to intimidate elected public officials."