Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
"MSNBC News Live" host Norah O'Donnell on Wednesday dismissed the tea party rallies that took place across the country last week as "top down" and not organic, prompting a complaint from a Republican strategist over the network's coverage. The discussion arose during an interview with GOP strategist Karen Hanretty and a Democratic operative over the leadership of the Republican Party.
After Hanretty asserted that the tea parties were an example of grass roots conservative leadership, O'Donnell retorted, "Karen, what was organic about the tea party protest? Those were not from the ground up." She went on to label the nationwide events "top down," which prompted Hanretty to quip, "No. I know MSNBC likes to promote that those were top down, but that's not the case at all." (MSNBC hosts were relentless in their attacks on the the parties. Most famously, "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann on April 16 talked to actress Janeane Garofalo, who deemed the demonstrations racist.)
April 17 marked the 13th annual "Day of Silence," a gay rights protest event sponsored by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) that takes place in schools across the nation. Of course, gay groups can afford to be silent for a day, because they have the mainstream news media to speak for them.
"Day of Silence" is, according to the event's Web site, "a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools ...the event is designed to illustrate the silencing effect of this bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT."
Predictably, the media covered this year's event in a positive manner, leaving little room for discussions of it as an indoctrination tool pushed on students by gay activists. And they certainly didn't report that the LGBT community and its allies don't have a problem with "name calling, bullying and harassment" when it's directed against people who disagree with them.
How is it that MSNBC's Rachel Maddow toiled for years as a student before before earning a doctorate in political science at Oxford -- yet managed to avoid studying the American Civil War?
How else to explain Maddow's commentary last Thursday in response to tea party protests nationwide against dubious tax policy and runaway government spending?
Here's what Maddow said in previewing an upcoming segment --
Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, appears to have his sights set on higher office. What is higher office if you're already governor in Texas? Of course, that would be president of Texas. The return of Confederacy in American politics as seceding from the Union comes back into Republican fashion.
Yeah, I laughed too -- "Republican fashion"? Those pundits at MSNBC make the darndest claims, don't they?
On Tuesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, Mitchell hosted two liberal guests in a discussion about President Obama’s national service program and the prospects for more gun control laws being passed by Congress in the near future. Speaking to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mitchell repeated a grossly inaccurate statistic that 90 percent of guns used by Mexican drug cartels are manufactured in the U.S. Mitchell: "Mr. Mayor, first to you, why not go after the assault weapon ban, as President Calderone in Mexico is calling for? Ninety percent of the weapons used in the drug cartel crimes south of the border are said to have originated in the United States."
But, as previously documented by Mike Sargent, FNC's William LaJeunesse reported on April 2 that 83 percent of guns recovered from Mexican drug cartels are not from the United States. Most of these weapons are never submitted to the U.S. for tracing because they are clearly not American in origin.
After Bloomberg advocated passage of an assault weapon ban, but later indicated that almost all those killed using guns each day are killed using "illegal handguns," Mitchell did not take the opportunity to challenge the Mayor on just how much impact an assault weapon ban could have if such guns are are so rarely the weapon of choice by criminals. She then moved on to set up New York’s Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy to promote the passage of more gun laws. Mitchell: "And, Mr. Mayor, you mentioned Virginia Tech, Columbine anniversary was yesterday. Only weeks ago, we had the killings of police officers in Pittsburgh and in Oakland. Congresswoman McCarthy, is there any chance that something will be done in Congress? And also the gun show loophole which is sitting out there?"
The Dick Cheney-obsessed Chris Matthews opened Tuesday's "Hardball," by taking umbrage with the former Vice President's criticism of Obama declassifying CIA interrogation memos, as the MSNBC host compared Cheney to "The Empire," in Star Wars and called him "The Bush administration's tail gunner, manning his burp gun with that same nasty look we recall from the war comics." Matthews went on to wonder if Cheney's outspokenness was a good thing for the GOP as he questioned, "If the Republican Party really wants to be branded right now as the party of tax cuts and torture?"
Matthews didn't waste any time getting to the Cheney bashing as seen in the following intro to the April 21 edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The Empire Strikes Back! Let's play "Hardball!" Good evening, I'm Chris Matthews. Leading off tonight. Clash of civilizations. Two different views of the universe out there right now. That's what's at war in Washington today. The dark view of Dick Cheney that sees no shame in brutal interrogations. Indeed refuses to blame America for anything. That against the new view of Barack Obama that America does best in the world when it upholds a moral standard and admits past failings.
On Friday’s Hannity show on FNC, host Sean Hannity challenged former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw to speak out in response to Janeane Garofalo’s recent tirade on MSNBC host Keith Olbermann’s Countdown show on Thursday, a screed which seemed to have Olbermann’s approval as he appeared to agree with her accusations of racism against Tax Day Tea Party participants.
During a discussion with FNC’s Kimberly Guilfoyle and conservative columnist S.E. Cupp, Hannity addressed Brokaw as he introduced the clip: "I want to address this specifically to Tom Brokaw. Tom Brokaw, are you proud of this?"
Then played a portion of Garofalo’s comments:
JANEANE GAROFALO CLIP #1: You know, there is for more interesting than seeing a bunch of racists become confused and angry at a speech they're not quite certain what he's saying. It sounds right to them, and then it doesn't make sense, which – let's be very honest about what this is about. It's not about bashing Democrats, it's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about.
KEITH OLBERMANN: That's right.
GAROFALO: They don't know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging red necks.
Here’s a quick informal poll:Who has heard news of Russia’s recent troop buildup in the South Ossetia region of Georgia?
Most of our readers would immediately think of the Russian invasion of that region last summer, during the presidential contest, but the Russians are arguably saber rattling again with a fresh buildup of boots on-the-ground ahead of planned NATO exercises.
Last August, the media coverage immediately took the angle of breathless anticipation on how each presidential candidate would react to such a situation.John McCain’s position was easily established from his record over many years in the Senate.Then-Senator Obama’s position was much more difficult to ascertain – but the media gave him ample time to figure it out, helping the candidate defer those questions to the September 26 debate.In fact, a good example of such activism was shown in the Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland, who in his August 31 op-ed insisted:
"MSNBC News Live" host Contessa Brewer on Monday speculated as to whether the liberal-leaning Meghan McCain could become "the voice of the Republican Party." Brewer, who was talking to Washington Times reporter Christina Bellantoni about the daughter of the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, ignored the fact that Ms. McCain has admitted she supported Democrats John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000. [audio available here]
Instead, referencing the 24-year-old blogger'sspeech to the Log Cabin Republicans on Saturday, Brewer queried, "...Is it time for the Republican Party to be more inclusive of people from all different orientations?"She then asked Bellantoni, "...We talk about Limbaugh, Michael Steele, Sarah Palin, is it possible Meghan McCain becomes the voice of the Republican Party?" How bizarre is it that Brewer was asking if a woman who supported Gore and Kerry, and spoke to an organization of gay Republicans that refused to endorse George W. Bush in 2004, will one day lead the GOP? (In her latest Daily Beast blog, McCain attacked the "creepy" Karl Rove.)
When American citizens assert conservative principles, as they did last week with the tea party protests, it has a strange effect on liberals. They get angry. Some get in touch with their inner Beavis and Butthead, giggling endlessly over lame sexual innuendo. Some, like Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi, just get downright misogynistic.
In a blog post on tax day, Taibbi sleazed conservative writer Michelle Malkin, who supported and wrote about the tea parties. “I have to say, I’m really enjoying this whole teabag thing,” Taibbi wrote. “It’s really inspiring some excellent daydreaming. For one thing, it’s brought together the words teabag and Michelle Malkin for me in a very powerful, thrilling sort of way. Not that I haven’t ever put those two concepts together before, but this is the first time it’s happened while in the process of reading her actual columns.”
Taibbi then paused to slime Ann Coulter (“When you read Ann Coulter, you know you’re reading someone who would f*** a hippopotamus if she thought it would boost her Q rating.”) before really turning on the charm.
Despite all the criticisms of the Fox News Channel broadcasted on MSNBC for promoting tea party coverage, one thing hasn't been pointed out - how the NBC networks, including CNBC and MSNBC are given a pass for their shameless promotion of their Green Week and Green is Universal network events.
Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large for National Review and author of "Liberal Fascism," appeared on Fox News Channel's April 18 "Fox News Watch" and commented on FNC's promotion of the tea parties, but the double standard of MSNBC's criticism of Fox News.
"I think that there's a perfectly legitimate criticism against Fox for not so much the coverage, but the commercials, you know - promoting the coverage, which was in effect advertisements for these things," Goldberg explained. "But, this was all transparent, people knew that's Fox was doing. But let's flashback to what GE, to pick up a point that Jim [Pinkerton] made - that GE basically issued a fatwa to NBC for Green Week, where they did hundreds of hours of environmental messaging in all of their dramas, news coverage, "Today" show - throughout the network and it was all hailed as a wonderful progressive thing. That is a much more pernicious promotion than anything Fox did."
Count CNN's Lou Dobbs amongst the likely millions of Americans disgusted by Janeane Garofalo's vitriolic attacks Thursday when she claimed the previous day's Tea Parties "were about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks."
On his radio program Friday, Dobbs took issue with the actress, comedian, and activist, referring to her as a "nasty piece of business," " a one woman, you know, hate event," and "an appalling human being."
Dobbs also pointed fingers at the network responsible for this disgraceful broadcast, MSNBC, for thinking "their responsibility as a media is to be a conduit for the Obama administration. They think they are the bastion of the, the 21st century socialistic thought. They're as left-wing as it can get, and they apparently are hell-bound to be the conduit for the Obama administration, the venue for left-wing politics and zaniness in this country."
The audio of Dobbs' marvelous monologue is available here courtesy our friend Johnny Dollar, with a transcript below the fold (h/t Jeff Poor):
During an appearance on Friday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews certainly didn't parrot the liberal line while discussing Fidel Castro and Cuban policy. In the midst of a an interview with host Joe Scarborough about the relaxing of certain rules towards the communist country, Matthews growled, "...I just am not a Castro fan. You know, he bought the wrong ticket. He bet on communism. He bet on the Soviet Union." Just getting warmed up, the "Hardball" host derided, "He made the wrong decision, morally, historically, whatever. He's on the wrong side of history. He ought to pay for it." [Audio available here.]
Making himself very clear, Matthews summed up, "I hope he dies a communist, ends up that way. I don't want to lift a finger to help that guy or his brother." In perhaps a sad commentary on the state of the left, both Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski seemed surprised at their colleague's fervent anti-communism. Responding to the whole riff, Scarborough joked about a conservative analyst for the network: "Have you been talking to [Pat] Buchanan this morning?" Brzezinski retorted, "I know. Is Pat in the Washington bureau?"
Is this the new politics Barack Obama promised to bring to Washington? His hand-picked DNC Chairman just went on national TV and denied that the Obama administration requested Georgetown University to cover up the IHS monogram representing the name of Christ. Confronted with a CNSNews.com article flatly reporting that such a request had indeed been made, Tim Kaine resorted to the hoary dodge of claiming he hadn't seen the story. Adding insult to injury, Kaine even claimed to be ignorant of CNSNews.com itself, NewsBusters' sister organization.
Kaine made his credulity-busting claims during a Morning Joe appearance today.
During last year's election campaign, liberal media members treated Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin with a hatred most Americans had never witnessed from the press.
On Thursday's "Countdown," MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and his guest Janeane Garofalo defamed fellow citizens who attended the prior day's Tea Parties with the same vitriolic contempt.
Garofalo actually called Party-goers "a bunch of teabagging rednecks," adding "this is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up."
But that's just the beginning, for what Olbermann and Garofalo engaged in Thursday evening is amongst the most vile, hate-filled attacks on average American citizens ever conveyed on national television by so-called journalists. Please brace yourself (video embedded below the fold with transcript corrected from closed-captioning, h/t NBer Jeff Fuller):
Has "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough had enough of MSNBC's mocking, sexually-laced taunts about "teabagging?" Several anchors on the liberal cable network, including David Shuster and Rachel Maddow, have used crude references and language to deride the tax day protests that occurred on Wednesday. On Thursday, Scarborough complained, "You look at these huge rallies, and I'm not going to mention names of people on networks that made sexual jokes, childish sexual jokes, about tens of thousands of Americans who went out and wanted to get involved in their government."
The MSNBC host continued, "I mean, it was really middle school jokes being made. I didn't hear those jokes being made when people on the left protested over the past eight years." Earlier in the 6am hour, he offered criticism that, one might assume, would have to be directed at his own network: "But, if a media outlet wants to expose its bias, they can mock tea parties, if they like."
Continuing the unnamed critique, Scarborough asserted that he would expect such juvenile actions from liberal bloggers, however, "I would expect more...from news outlets. And it happened on several networks yesterday." (The last part is certainly true. CNN has also engaged in such talk.)
[UPDATED: 2009-04-16 15:01:00] "MSNBC News Live" host Contessa Brewer on Wednesday reported four times on the possible threat of right-wing violence against the government. And for several of those segments there was a graphic in the background that featured the elephant logo of the GOP and the words, "New Right-Wing Threat?" Speaking to Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, Brewer asked about a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report warning of "right-wing extremists." In a bewildered tone, she wondered, "...Is it just a leap to think that they're talking about Republicans? They didn't even mention conservatives in the report."
If the DHS report didn't mention conservatives or Republicans, why did MSNBC feature a graphic that included an elephant, clearly a symbol for the GOP? In an earlier segment, NBC correspondent Pete Williams explained, "Now, we're not talking about [the] political right here. We're talking about extremist groups. Neo-Nazi groups, white supremacist groups, anti-government groups, hate groups." Brewer promptly responded, "So to be clear here, not just extreme conservatives." Not just extreme conservatives?
When a senior editor from Newsweek goes on MSNBC to discuss conservatives who protest the massive tax and spend agenda of the Obama Administration, why shouldn't he join in the fun of disparaging them with juvenile sexual innuendo? After all, he's among friends and fellow travelers.
But eventually, someone may call that senior editor to account for his "pornographic" slurs, as St. Louis radio host Jamie Allman did to Newsweek's Daniel Gross on April 14.
Gross had appeared on MSNBC's "Countdown," on April 10 and told guest host David Shuster, "I think when it comes to tea bagging, the president should probably ignore this ... to get bogged down with what seems to be a fringe group of people throwing consumer products into the lakes and rivers of this nation, ah, doesn't seem to be worthy of his attention."
On February 7, 2008, MSNBC's David Shuster claimed Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by her mother Hillary Clinton's, presidential campaign.
Retribution quickly followed. News broke the very next day that Shuster's comments had earned him a two-week suspension. The National Organization for Women (NOW) quickly issued a statement that called on NBC to "skip the sexism and report the news." And while NOW praised NBC for its "swift and decisive action" against Shuster, the group also pointed out "a pattern at MSNBC: insult, apology, insult, apology."
Yet, just over a year later, the network and NOW are hewing to a very different standard when it comes to women on the right. MSNBC personalities refer to a Republican congresswoman as a "Mata Hari," and call a former female Republican vice-presidential nominee a "mail order bride" and characterize her as a dragon and a dog, and there's no apology and no outrage.
For conservative women, it appears the strategy at MSNBC is "insult, insult, insult."
MSNBC featured the Republican Party's elephant logo in a segment on Wednesday's "MSNBC News Live" about the possible rise of right-wing hate groups. Anchor Contessa Brewer introduced the piece by asserting, "The White House is warning that a bad economy, combined with the election of the nation's first black President, could draw new extremist right-wing members, especially war veterans, to a dangerous cause." An onscreen graphic behind her featured a red and blue Republican elephant and fretted, "New Right-Wing Threat?" Even if one were to believe the report, how fair is it for MSNBC to link one of America's two major parties to such violence?
A second graphic for the remainder of the segment hyperbolically wondered, "Rise of the Radical Right?" Brewer interviewed Washington Times correspondent Eli Lake, who broke the story of the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report on Tuesday. After Lake pointed out that a footnote in the DHS analysis defines right-wing extremists as both hate groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, and also those concerned with state rights, Brewer inquired, "Are there any of these groups that have shown violent tendencies, trying to organize, overthrow the government or anything along those lines?" Lake chuckled and mused, "I mean, other than, I guess, you know, people in the Revolutionary War in 1776?"
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, at the beginning of a segment about the Obama family’s pet dog, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford, joked about FNC host Bill O’Reilly being a dog. Picking up on Olbermann’s earlier suggestion that he gets tired of hearing about presidential dogs, Crawford opened the discussion by ribbing the Countdown host about the possibility of the show getting its own pet dog.
After Olbermann disagreed, Crawford came back with a lame joke: "Well, you’ve already got O’Reilly’s show.
Olbermann responded: "That would be a female dog."
The over-the-top name-calling against the FNC host came just minutes after Olbermann used his "Worst Person" segment to slam Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as he lectured the conservative talk radio hosts that one does not have to "spend every waking hour trying to annihilate" a political figure because of policy disagreements.
But Olbermann is well known for devoting a large portion of his program daily for the last several years to slamming President Bush – not only calling Bush a "fascist," but also suggesting last December that Bush administration members, presumably including President Bush himself, deserve to be "in hell" for some of their actions in the Iraq war. Olbermann: "I don’t know what, if any religion you belong to, but I suspect you’ll agree that people who ignored that many foretellings of preventable death should have a long time to think about it in hell!"
The insular world of NBC News and MSNBC. In her Tuesday NBC Nightly News story on President Barrack Obama's status of the economy speech, reporter Savannah Guthrie emphasized how “the White House billed today's speech as a 'major' one” and so it was “carried live on cable” where “analysts said it was short on rhetoric and long on policy.”
Guthrie's expert “analysts” turned out to be one analyst, her boss. In a clip lifted from MSNBC earlier in the day, NBC Nightly News viewers heard NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker effuse: “Well, there was a moment of church in that speech, but the rest of it was pure law school.”
Everything you thought you knew about MSNBC political slant - throw it out the window, because one MSNBC host says you're probably wrong.
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer, appearing on "The Mark Reardon Show" on St. Louis KMOX 1120 AM radio on April 13. Brewer defended her network against the perception that it is a liberal cable news channel.
"No, but we're not liberal," Brewer said. "No, we're not liberal. We're not liberal. That's crazy - that's crazy talk."
According to Brewer, since MSNBC has a program hosted by former Republican Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough and has Pat Buchanan as a contributor that absolves the network of having the "liberal" label attached to it.
MSNBC prides itself as being the place for politics, the seemingly clever marketing slogan could be used to describe the network as the place where hosts try to use dirty humor about important political events.
David Shuster, filling in for MSNBC loose-cannon Keith Olbermann on his April 13 broadcast, and his writers probably thought they were pretty clever when they pieced an item denigrating the tax protests by using the sexual term "teabagging." Urbandictionary.com, cited multiple times by one MSNBC guest, describes it as when a man places his testicles "onto someone's face, or into their mouth."
"For most Americans, Wednesday, April 15th will be Tax Day," Shuster said as he began a soliloquy with about a dozen separate oral sex puns. "But in our fourth story tonight: It's going to be teabagging day for the right-wing and they're going nuts for it. Thousands of them whipped out the festivities early this past weekend, and while the parties are officially toothless, the teabaggers are full-throated about their goals.
The good folks at MSNBC have been disparaging tax protesting Tea Parties by referring to them as the sexually charged double entendre "teabagging."
As decency prevents a clinical explanation of the term, curious readers not in the know should check the Urban Dictionary with an objectionable content forewarning.
With that as pretext, MSNBC's David Shuster filling in for Keith Olbermann on Monday's "Countdown" made numerous references to this sexual practice during his segment about the upcoming Tea Parties.
He began the story: "It's going to be teabagging day for the right-wing and they're going nuts for it. Thousands of them whipped out the festivities early this past weekend, and while the parties are officially toothless, the teabaggers are full-throated about their goals."
And that was just the beginning. See if you can count them all: (video embedded below the fold with partial potentially offensive transcript):
On Monday night's "Hardball," the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore challenged Chris Matthews to come out to one of the many tea parties protesting taxes and the government bailouts, as the former Club For Growth President egged on the "Hardball," host to prove he is "a man of the people," but Matthews ducked the invitation and yelled back: "Steve stay in your box!"
As Matthews was wrapping up a segment with Moore and radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, Moore got in the following parting shot:
STEPHEN MOORE, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Chris! Chris! Chris! My question is you're a man of the people, why aren't you out there at these April 15th rallies? I mean c'mon! You know you, you say, you speak for the middle-class guys?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: What is this? Intramurals? Michael Smerconish, thank you and Steve stay in your box!
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," showcased "Saturday Night Live" skewering Joe Biden but he conspicuously ignored the "Weekend Update" clip, from the same show, making fun of his fondness for Obama in which he was depicted as daydreaming about Obama in a "loin cloth." The MRC's Brent Baker caught the clip from this past Saturday's show making fun of Matthews. However Matthews -- who in the past has enjoyed SNL's Darrell Hammond's impersonations of him so much that he invited the impressionist on his MSNBC show -- ignored the most recent quip made at his expense.
The following moment was aired during the "Sideshow" segment on the April 13 edition of "Hardball":
Last Friday, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer expressed her shock and disbelief that Arizona State University would not award President Barack Obama an honorary degree since he was their commencement speaker.
However, over the weekend, the University announced it would instead name "their most important scholarship" after Obama - instead of awarding the president an honorary degree.
"Here's the statement from ASU President Michael Crow: ‘We never felt an honorary degree was the only or event the best means of honoring his tremendous service to our country,'" Brewer said. "‘Naming the scholarship program after President Obama that will affect the lives of thousands of students is an honor befitting, not only the president's exceptional achievements, but also his value as an individual.'"
That didn't impress Brewer, responding on MSNBC in a segment on April 13. "Whoop-dee-do! That's my reaction," Brewer said
After the premiere of his MSNBC cable show on April 6, liberal radio host Ed Schultz spent considerable time telling his listeners about the television show.
Here's Schultz on Thursday, boasting of alleged high journalism standards at MSNBC while speaking with a caller (click here for audio) --
Where I work, they don't put stuff on the air unless it's correct and they differentiate between opinion and fact. And in my world I think that's kind of important. On The Ed Show (Schultz's program on MSNBC), I'm not going to tell you something that I know isn't the truth.
All of two minutes later, after playing a clip of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich criticizing Obama for naming gay rights activist Harry Knox to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Schultz showed how the distinction between opinion and fact hasn't permeated the rest of his "world," specifically his radio show (audio link here) --