Fox News's Megyn Kelly Tuesday featured a marvelous comparison of how the media cover Tea Parties versus immigration protests.
As NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock reported Monday, ABC News logged dramatically different reports about the ObamaCare protests on Capitol Hill in March and the virtual riots that happened in Arizona after that state's governor signed a strict anti-illegal immigration law last Friday.
The former was depicted as "very ugly" while the latter, despite the number of riot police and arrests, was described as "mostly peaceful."
With this in mind, Kelly invited liberal talk radio host Mark Levine and conservative talk radio host Mike Gallagher to debate the disparity.
As you might imagine, Levine hysterically saw both reports as being accurate (video follows with commentary):
News outlets across the country have latched on to a survey that suggests TEA party supporters tend to be resentful toward minorities. Newsweek published two different pieces on the same item, while a handful of newspapers also gleefully relayed the findings.
There are just a few problems. First, the survey was conducted by a University of Washington professor bent on proving racism exists against President Obama. Second, his entire sample of white TEA party supporters comprised exactly 117 people. Finally, many of the questions had nothing to do with racial resentment.
But we can't have facts getting in the way of a media narrative.
As soon as the survey was released April 7, news outlets were all over it pushing the survey results as empirical evidence, and many not even pretending to sound neutral on the subject. The leader of the study, Political Science professor Christopher Parker, was not asked about his own political leanings or his apparent pre-occupation with finding racism afoot.
First up to bat was the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, whose blog writer Scott Sunde promoted the survey without question on April 8:
While America's media continue to depict the Tea Party as homophobic, angry racists, they shamefully ignore the REAL hate speech going on in our nation, namely what's being regularly hurled at this movement by its opponents.
Take for example the absolutely shocking voice-mail messages that have been left at the offices of FreedomWorks, a non-profit organization that has supported the Tea Party since its inception.
In response to a video that fired GEICO announcer Lance Baxter aka D.C. Douglas created last week that included messages he received from non-supporters after his termination, the folks at FreedomWorks on Monday published a collection of their own.
This video contains astonishingly vulgar and hateful voice-mail messages left for FreedomWorks employees that likely would be front-page and headline news if this was a liberal organization (video follows with commentary, STRONG vulgarity and content warning, h/t Right Scoop):
That was the takeaway from an April 22 CNBC "Squawk Box" segment in which the network's Washington correspondent John Harwood explained the upside for the Obama administration in taking an aggressive tack on financial regulation and pushing it through Congress.
According to Harwood, public opinion on this issue favors President Barack Obama. He explained that Wall Street is very unpopular and that's causing some Republicans to be willing to compromise with Democrats on the issue.
"He knows that things are rolling his way on this issue," Harwood said. "You had battle lines initially drawn - both parties took to the trenches, started firing heavy ammunition. But the throw weight is with the Democratic side on this. The public wants financial regulation reform. They don't like Wall Street, just as they don't like Washington. So this is a case where Barack Obama, instead of being the target of public anger, can direct some of it somewhere else. That is what causes Republicans at the end to say, ‘OK, it's time to negotiate, get serious about a deal.' And they're going to get some concessions in that bargaining in exchange for their votes. And they will then be able to stand up and say, ‘This bill was headed to be a bailout bill. We stopped the bailout and everybody can hold hands and say they did something good for the country.'"
Last month I noted Newsweek's Liz White's complaint about the term "ObamaCare" being used as shorthand for the Democratic health care legislation. White griped that the term was "ominous-sounding" and favored by the legislation's conservative opponents as reasons why mainstream media outlets should eschew the term.
Now a full 27 days later, White is back at it with her complaint about the term "ObamaCare." This time, she's citing none other than liberal Comedy Central "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart to back her up:
Stewart immediately jumps on O’Hara’s slip, calling him out on using the “derogatory” phrase and firing back by referring to O’Hara’s book as a “tea-bagger book.” O’Hara stammers for a few seconds and tries to defend his word choice, but concedes to calling it the health-reform bill instead. (It’s a law, by the way.)
Last month, I took on this same issue. Should the bill be called Obamacare, or is that phrase, as Stewart puts it, derogatory by nature?
Liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz on Tuesday went absolutely berserk on a Democrat Tea Party member that didn't approve of how President Obama went back on his campaign promise to make healthcare reform hearings open and transparent.
"My reason for being with the Tea Party is is this whole healthcare stuff," said a caller named Jason who claimed to be a Democrat.
"I remember hearing President Obama talking about how it was going to be open and transparent, it was going to be on C-SPAN, we were going to know what's in the bill, and that's just not the way it worked."
This sent Schultz into a hissy fit of epic proportions concluding with him saying, "God, go pick up your gun and march if it makes you feel better because you're too stupid to read" (YouTube audio follows with partial transcript and commentary, h/t Radio Equalizer):
One clue that health care is not being well received among the public: Liberal media members, instead of celebrating the wonderful era of health-care access to come, can't stop obsessing over unsubstantiated allegations of racism among Tea Party activists, as if trying to change the subject.
New York Times columnist Frank Rich's super-sized entry on Sunday, “Welcome to Confederate History Month,” is the latest in the string. The text box is loaded with sarcasm: “The Civil War, like the war against Obama, wasn't about race.”
It's an unusually dumb entry for Rich, but typical in content -- beginning with an utterly irrelevant pop culture reference that's neither fitting nor clever, followed by 1,400 words all but accusing Republicans of racism (Rich prefers odious comparisons to direct accusations he'd have to back up).
At least he seems to be reading his criticism, and reacting hotly. Rich is evidently discussing this column by David Paul Kuhn of Real Clear Politics, which directly refuted Rich's previous column on this same tired subject, in which Kuhn lambasted Rich: “All he has are anecdotes of angry white activists. So he stereotypes. It's like a white person who watches a black criminal on the local news and draws racist generalizations.”
Friday follies. Before the weekend ends, two quotes from journalists worth noting made on Friday night shows:
♦ On MSNBC’s Hardball, NBC’s Chuck Todd forwarded the notion that if Florida Governor Charlie Crist drops out of the Republican primary -- where polls put him way behind conservative Marco Rubio -- and wins the Senate seat as an independent, “he becomes the most powerful Senator in the United States Senate” and “he becomes, probably, the viable third party candidate in the middle in the country” for President in 2012.
♦ A few hours later on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, David Remnick, author of the new book, ‘The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama,' outed the real liberal agenda behind ObamaCare as he predicted that instead of being an “albatross” that will hurt Democrats at the ballot box in November, all those new beneficiaries will be grateful and vote Democratic:
When you add 30 million people to the rolls of getting health care, access to health care, seems to me a huge gain and the potential widening of the base for the Democratic Party among a lot of people who might not necessarily vote before. So, I don't think you're going to see a repeat of 1994 come this fall.
Of course, few of those 30 million will have any better access to health care by this November than they had before the bill passed.
"I think that we're going to have a problem if we want to start talking about founding fathers, the founding documents, what the origins of our country because the mainstream media is not going to like what you have to say, and so I volunteered myself," Breitbart said. "And on day one, I had to contend with the fact that you guys were called ‘teabaggers.' And I had to deal with the fact an unfortunately named sister, by the name of Contessa Brewer on MSNBC, before you even spoke, told you what your grievances were to the country and our dissent his patriotic presidency. This person took a photo and cut off the head of a black man, and asked is the tea party nation - are the people who are protesting Barack Obama racist? The person was black."
Is President Barack Obama really instituting "cradle-to-grave" social policies and transforming the United States into a nanny state? Well, it may not be "womb-to-tomb" yet, but he's certainly creating a welfare state for Americans beyond their mid-20s.
"I think it's more likely to be stuck," Harwood said. "Now, ultimately, the hope for Democrats, and for the president, is the actual experience with the legislation. Forget the sales job, but once elements of that kick in, especially the more popular ones, letting kids stay on their parents' insurance policies until they're 26, and preventing insurance companies from kicking people off when they hit a lifetime max - those kinds of things, they hope, will make, fuel acceptance of this legislation."
On ABC’s This Week, when retired ABC newsman Sam Donaldson recommended that President Barack Obama nominate, to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, someone who “is going to stand up for the principles – on the left, if you will – that he believes in,” Cokie Roberts jumped in: “I’m not so sure he is so far to the left.” Donaldson agreed: “Well, I’m not sure either.”
Minutes later, Roberts contended the efforts of state attorneys general, to get a federal court to rule unconstitutional ObamaCare’s requirement every citizen get health insurance, reminded her of the “nullification” which led to the Civil War:
You have these fourteen states attorneys general saying that they want to have the court overturn the recently passed health care law. I must say, I was just with my grand kids at Fort Sumter, and the notion of nullification made me extremely nervous because it was, of course, the first step toward the Civil War.
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" last evening mocked President Obama, healthcare reform, and the census while strangely adding what some could find a tad anti-Semitic.
Trying to explain why the census isn't "some Socialist plot to spy on the American people," Fred Armisen in what's becoming his signature role walked through the questions being asked of citizens this April.
Following some largely sophomoric and somewhat tasteless sexually oriented items, Armisen moved on to the topic of healthcare.
After that, he asked a question about Jews destined to raise a few eyebrows (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Linda Douglass, the former ABC News and CBS News Washington correspondent who signed aboard the Obama campaign in May of 2008, is resigning next week from her post as Communications Director for the White House’s Health Reform Office, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported Thursday afternoon on the paper's “44” blog (which I saw plugged on DCRTV.com). Kurtz described her as “a top pitchwoman for President Obama's health care plan.”
Is another media gig in the offing? No word yet. Kurtz quoted her statement, which only said she wants “to step off the treadmill for awhile and rediscover the experience of dining with my husband on a regular basis.”
Douglass, who appeared frequently on MSNBC's The Ed Show to disparage conservative criticism and champion ObamaCare, “said she will be 'cheering with pride from the sidelines as this historic law takes effect,'” Kurtz relayed. And maybe not really making a full break: “Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer says Douglass 'will continue to be a valued adviser to this President and this White House.'”
Commenting on the new health care law, on Wednesday’s Late Show with David Letterman, comedian/actor Chris Rock cracked: “I feel sorry for the people that were against it” since “that's going to be a tough one to explain to your grand kids.”
Rock, on to promote his new movie, Death at a Funeral, barbed that ObamaCare opponents remind him of those against civil rights in the 1960s who years later had to answer, “grand daddy, is this your ‘I Hate Martin Luther King’ hat?”
After harping on unsubstantiated reports of racial epithets hurled at black congressmen during protests against Obama-care, no reporter for the New York Times bothered to cover in print an actual arrest made in the case of an actual death threat against Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 Republican in the House. (The paper made do with an Associated Press brief.)
Yet David Herszenhorn filed a 10-paragraph story Wednesday on news that an arrest was made in regard to death threats against a prominent Democratic senator, Patty Murray of Washington: "Threats to Kill Senator Lead to Arrest." (The print version is slightly condensed from the online version.)
As the Obama-loving media continue their predictable victory lap following the passage of vastly unpopular healthcare reform, a state of mass confusion about how the bill impacts John and Jane Q. Public grips the nation.
"Questions reflecting confusion have flooded insurance companies, doctors' offices, human resources departments and business groups," wrote McClatchy's Margaret Talev Tuesday.
"'They're saying, "Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?" said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com. The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states."
And those were just the first surprises from the historically liberal news outlet (h/t NB reader Tom 'Not the Actor' Hanks):
In the New York Times's latest "Political Points" podcast, posted April 1 at nytimes.com, reporters David Herszenhorn and Jeff Zeleny talked to host Sam Roberts about the health care law as a referendum on the Obama presidency. Though the Times didn't bother to identify the reporters by name on the audiocast, it was almost certainly Herszenhorn (confirmed by comparing his voice pattern with that of another voice later identified as Zeleny's, plus by watching a recent clip of Herszenhorn) who immediately injected discredited accusations of racism into the discussion, in response to Roberts's relatively innocuous conversation starter.
Herszenhorn is known at Times Watch as a strong cheerleader for Obama-care.
From the April 1 podcast:
Host Sam Roberts: "David and Jeff, we've been writing that health care became a touchstone, a proxy for larger disagreements and deep divisions in an increasingly fractured society. What is it the surrogate for, do we think?"
Herszenhorn: "Well there's so many things, Sam. One is clearly there's a racial component. Some members of Congress you know, had epithets hurled at them as protesters marched around the Capitol on the day of the big House vote."
Andrew Breitbart at Big Journalism.com has offered a $10,000 reward to anyone with evidence of racial epithets being hurled at members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who made the charge in the first place. So far no takers, despite the Hill being dense with Blackberries, camera phones, and video equipment of all kinds the day of the vote on Obama-care.
This week, the MRC’s regular Notable Quotables newsletter, documenting the latest outrageous quotes from the liberal media from the past two weeks, could not fit in its normal 3-page format, so we created a super-sized special edition, “Celebrating ObamaCare, Demonizing Its Opponents.” It’s chock full of quotes touting the wonders of the liberal health care scheme, and slamming the Tea Party and other opponents as vicious racist thugs. The whole thing is posted at www.MRC.org; here’s a sample:
If You’re Anti-ObamaCare, You Must Be a Bigot
“What are the Tea Partiers really angry about? Health care reform, or the fact that it was an African American President and a woman Speaker of the House who pushed through major change?” — MSNBC’s Chris Matthews at the top of Hardball, March 29.
Forget those polls, like the current one conducted for CBS News, that show most Americans disapprove of President Barack Obama's health care scheme. And ignore accounts like the one in today's Politico highlighting the grief some Democratic congressmen are getting for voting with Obama on health care. No, focus instead on stories like the one in today's print and Web edition of the Chicago Tribune. "Health insurance reform profiles" is a "look at how the new law will affect four people in different circumstances." And guess what? Every single one of them approves of ObamaCare. Isn't it funny how it just works out that way?
A 56-year-old woman who lost Medicaid eligibility when her children left home says: "Health reform isn't perfect, it's only a first step, but by God it will make a difference to me." A 62-year-old man covered under his wife's policy "is confident the greater changes are all for the good." A 22-year-old male is relieved he'll continue to be carried on his parent's health insurance when he goes to art school. If not for ObamaCare, "I would have either taken the risk and opted out or looked for work instead of going further in school." A 40-year-old- freelance writer confides that he is "was "'thrilled' to see the health care overhaul signed into law."
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, who in February demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?”, on Friday found her champion in the Superintendent of Maine’s Bureau of Insurance, hailing Mila Kofman as a “super-cop” and a “gladiator” for rejecting a rate hike requested by Anthem Blue Cross.
Kofman proclaimed “we are the super-cops on the street. I take that responsibility as an insurance regulator very seriously,” a self-promotional description Sawyer adopted in her introduction, touting “a woman in Maine who is acting as a super-cop, and telling the insurance companies ‘no.’”
Reporter Bill Weir recounted how Kofman turned down an 18 percent increase in premiums for individual policies, allowing “11 percent. Enough for Anthem to cover their rising costs, but not enough to make a profit. She says they're doing just fine.” Presuming nefarious motives by insurance companies, Weir asserted the new health care law “depends on state regulators to keep them honest every day.”
Touting how “the Democratic National Committee has turned a lemon into lemonade,” MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Friday afternoon proudly held up a DNC-produced T-shirt which picks up on Joe Biden's comment that passage of health reform is a “big f***ing deal.” Matthews exclaimed: “Just $25 for a piece of delightfully unscripted history!”
The Hardball host reported “the shirts have temporarily sold out, but,” he boasted as he held up one in front of him, “I've got my own right here. If you had to ask, extra large. There it is. 'Health care reform, BFD.' There it is.”
He then plugged his next topic: “Up next, the latest example of the far right gone mad...”