Late last week, CNN announced its plan to team up with the Tea Party Express to co-sponsor a Republican presidential debate in September. While this creates the possibility that Republican candidates will actually face questions of interest to Republican primary voters (as opposed to the typical liberal media agenda), it’s also probably the first time a media organization will partner with a group that its on-air correspondents and commentators have trashed over the past two years.
CNN’s liberal commentators have been savage to the Tea Party. Back in 2009, longtime CNN house liberal Paul Begala slammed the Tea Party as “a bunch of wimpy, whiny, weasels who don’t love their country.” A couple of weeks before this year’s election, CNN’s 8pm ET co-host Eliot Spitzer said the Tea Party was “vapid” and leading America “down a dangerous road....They’re going to destroy our country.”
But CNN’s supposedly objective correspondents and anchors have showcased a similar hostility to the Tea Party, attacking them as racist, extremist, pawns of Fox News, or using the vulgar “tea-bagging” nickname favored by left-wing activists to disparage the group. A few of the choicer examples from the MRC’s archive (including video):
There is a scene in Hamlet when the prince tells Polonius (the Joe Biden of medieval Denmark) to look after the newly arrived theater troop, making sure they are "well used."
Polonius sniffs, "My lord, I will use them according to their desert."
"God's bodykins, man," snaps Hamlet, "much better: use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"
Obviously, Polonius and Hamlet weren't talking about the players' arid, sandy region. "Deserts," despite the old-style spelling meant their "just desserts" or what they were due. Old Polonius, a palace insider, was just reflecting polite society's disdain for actors during Shakespeare's time, telling Hamlet he'd put them up in a style befitting lowly itinerant entertainers. But Hamlet understood that, given the fallen nature of humanity, we need to treat everyone better than they deserve.
Every member of Shakespeare's audience, from a laborer to the queen herself, might have nodded in understanding at that line, accustomed as they were to the concept of original sin.
In what is generally being interpreted by most as a surprise move, CNN has recently decided to cover the Tea Party movement from an angle foreign to most in the main stream media - combating stereotypes that are heavily promoted by liberals.
That comparison alone raises some questions, however. How does a network which featured the Roesgen debacle, suddenly find respect for the movement? How does the organization whose award-winning journalists refer to the people as ‘tea baggers', seek to dispel the degrading stereotypes propagated in the media? And how does a network, who just over a week ago minimized a Nevada Tea Party Event of roughly 20,000 people, by speculating that ‘at least dozens' were in attendance, suddenly believe the movement to be legitimate and important?
Most importantly, is the network actively seeking a shift to more fair and balanced coverage, or are they seeking the admiration of conservatives driving the ratings of Fox News? Michelle Malkin for one is skeptical, calling it a desperate move for a ‘ratings-starved CNN'.
The curiosity of the CNN shift has only been exacerbated by the network's desire to have the story covered by conservative writers.
CNN political producer Shannon Travis surprisingly acknowledged that the mainstream media has stereotyped the Tea Party movement in a Wednesday article on CNN.com: "When it comes to the Tea Party movement, the stereotypes don't tell the whole story." Travis continued by emphasizing positive aspects of the nascent grassroots movement and noting the presence of minorities.
The producer's article, simply titled "Reporter's notebook: What really happens at Tea Party rallies," recounted what he saw during five days of the Tea Party Express's convoy across the nation. He first summarized the slant often found in the media's coverage of the conservative protests: "Here's what you often see in the coverage of Tea Party rallies: offensive posters blasting President Obama and Democratic leaders; racist rhetoric spewed from what seems to be a largely white, male audience; and angry protesters rallying around the Constitution."
After recounting the alleged racial incidents against Representatives John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver, Travis contrasted the stereotype with what he actually observed: "But here's what you don't often see in the coverage of Tea Party rallies: Patriotic signs professing a love for country; mothers and fathers with their children; African-Americans proudly participating; and senior citizens bopping to a hip-hop rapper."
On Wednesday's American Morning, CNN's Ed Lavandera focused on the "overwhelmingly white" turnout at the rallies sponsored by the Tea Party Express organization and played up the criticisms that there is an "anti-minority undertone" at the demonstrations.
Lavandera, who is covering the Tea Party Express' cross-country tour, highlighted the race issue from the beginning of his report, which first aired 13 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour: "The crowds turning out for the Tea Party Express rallies are overwhelmingly white. Is this lack of diversity a problem for the Tea Party movement? We're taking a closer look."
The correspondent noted some of the apparently "subtle efforts to make the tea party appear diverse," such as a hip hop performance and speeches by black tea party activist Lloyd Marcus. Marcus stated that "there's not a lot of black folks here, basically, because they haven't seen the light yet. They are still hypnotized by the first black or African-American president. But they haven't really looked at the man and what he's doing." This assertion is supported by a Gallup poll from earlier in March that found that President Obama's approval rating among blacks is at 89%, down slightly from 96% in August 2009.
[Update, 5:24 pm Eastern: Audio and video clips from Acosta’s report added.]
CNN’s Jim Acosta continued his network’s bias against tea party protesters on Wednesday’s American Morning by depicting them as “recession raging,” and questioned one participant over her depiction of President Obama as the personification of death: “Do you think having the President dressed up as the Grim Reaper is a little over-the-top?” Acosta then asked, “You think it’s appropriate?” [audio clip available here]
The correspondent’s report on Wednesday was the first in a series titled “Welcome to the Tea Party.” During his presentation, which first aired 39 minutes into the 7 am hour, Acosta followed his network’s model of focusing on the negative depictions of President Obama at tea party gatherings and painting the protests in a negative light. Over 5 months earlier, his colleague Jim Spellman followed the cross-country caravan of the Tea Party Express organization before the massive 9/12 rally in 2009, and zeroed-in on the protesters who labeled the President a Nazi, brought firearms to rallies, or held “outlandish conspiracy theories.” He labeled all these “a dark undercurrent.” Much more infamously, former CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen took personal offensive at a depiction of the chief executive with a Hitler mustache, while three years earlier, she thought a similar portrayal of President Bush was “comic.”
CNN’s Campbell Brown was quick to point out the apparent biases of competitors MSNBC and Fox News during her program on Wednesday, but ignored that of her own network as she tried to portray it as unbiased: “Some of us, like my colleagues here at CNN, are still trying to do journalism....I’m not critical of what my friends at Fox News and MSNBC do, but it is apples and oranges when compared to what we at CNN do.”
Brown concluded the 8 pm Eastern hour with remarks initially directed against the Obama administration for its campaign against Fox News. The CNN anchor thought it was “silly” for the White House to go after the 24-hour news network: “I mean, really, the White House is only just now figuring out Fox in prime-time has a conservative bias? Really? I think our friends at Fox News have been pretty up-front about it, and frankly, pretty unapologetic, for that matter. What confuses me is that if the White House is really so concerned about bias in the media, then why are they only targeting Fox?”
The last time we saw CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen, she was arguing with folks at the April 15 Tea Party in Chicago claiming the event was "anti-government, anti-CNN [and] highly promoted by the right-wing conservative network Fox."
Although CNN officials won't blame the decision specifically on this event, the network has decided not to renew her contract.
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.
Susan Roesgen, the hack who harassed tea party goers, was a driving force behind the flawed Jena 6 narrative that circulated the MSM cesspool back in 2007. The level of professionalism which made her famous on tax day has clearly been par for course in Roesgen's career. Patterico has uncovered the extent of her involvement pushing the absurd and reprehensible racially charged narrative:
In today's You've Got To Be Kidding Me moment, former CNN personality Frank Sesno scolded Fox News for its coverage of last week's Tea Parties while defending the disgraceful behavior of Keith Olbermann and Susan Roesgen.
This from a man who is now a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University.
Appearing on CNN's "Reliable Sources," this was Sesno's opinion of the Tea Party involvement of Fox News's Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck (file photo):
So, we are all well aware of the so-called reporter from CNN, Susan Roesgen whose on-air haranguing of those she was ostensibly reporting on made obvious her anti-Republican bias. Well, for the past day Americans have been emailing her to let her know how they feel about her unprofessional attitude. Apparently, CNN does not appreciate hearing from its viewers, though, because all of a sudden anyone that sends an email to Roesgen's CNN email address will have it returned as address unknown!
We reported on Roesgan's outrageous "interviews" from the Chicago Tea Party later that evening and since the airing of her debating those she was supposed to be reporting on, folks have been jamming CNN's email boxes with complaints.
It is pretty telling that on-air "reporter" Roesgen's email address suddenly returns as address unknown, isn't it? Why is CNN so afraid of hearing from its viewers?
CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen showed America Wednesday exactly how journalists shouldn't behave when interviewing regular citizens; she should take some tips from this endearing nine-year-old who masterfully covered yesterday's Tea Party in Santa Clarita Valley, California (presented with Daddy's permission):
CNN's coverage of Wednesday's Chicago Tea Party, and in particular, Susan Roesgen's despicable performance, might end up being the lowlight in how the press reported yesterday's historic protests.
Yet, there's much more to this story.
Members of FoundingBloggers.com continued to videotape Roesgen after her much-publicized argument with a Party-goer, and you'll be surprised at what transpired (video embedded below the fold h/t NBer Blazer, vulgarity warning):
CNN reporter Susan Roesgen became a pseudo-"journalistic" anti-hero yesterday for her obnoxiously belligerent interview of one Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party participant and her overall assessment of the more than 750 events around the country as amongst other derogatory things "anti-government."
But in another segment, she delved into rank hypocrisy the likes of which we rarely find even in the woefully biased liberal media pantheon.
In it she sought out another TEA Party participant who had a mocked-up sign in which President Barack Obama is melded with Adolf Hitler. She immediately began arguing with this gentleman as well; amongst the things she angrily said were "Why be so hard on the President of the United States with such an offensive message?" and "Do you realize how offensive that is?"
We will admit that portraying President Obama as Der Fuhrer is a bit over the top. But Miss Roesgen's sensitivity to being "so hard on the President of the United States with such an offensive message" seems only to arise when the Hitler-izing involves Democratic Commanders-in-Chief.
Media Research Center's Seton Motley appeared on FNC's Fox & Friends on April 16th to talk about the egregious media bias in covering the tax day TEA Party protests. And there was no shortage of bias to talk about.
CNN is finally covering the tea parties - by attacking the participants. After anchor Anderson Cooper made an obscene sexual joke about attendees, CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen rudely interrupted one of the protestors and slammed the event for being "anti-government," "anti-CNN," and "not really family viewing."
Roesgen asked a man holding his toddler, "Why are you here today?" The man started to respond saying, "Because I hear a president say that he believed in what Lincoln stood for. Lincoln's primary thing was he believed people had the right to liberty and they had the right..."
But Roesgen cut him off, saying, "But sir, what does that have to do with taxes? What does this have to do with your taxes?" She continued asking questions over him as he asked her to "let me finish my point." One crowd member was heard to yell "shut up" to Roesgen.
When the man finished his statement about people having the "right to the fruits of their own labor" and "government should not take it," Roesgen began arguing with him again and other protesters began to get upset.
During a report on Friday’s Situation Room, CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen failed to mention the left-wing affiliation of the “activists” who were protesting near the Chicago home of President-elect Barack Obama. She only labeled them as “pro-Obama” and that they “promote a list of campaign promises they want Obama to remember -- promises to bring the troops home, to stop foreclosures, to make a plan for universal health care.”
Roesgen’s short report, which began 36 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with a description of the tight security outside Obama’s home, and how “anyone who wants to make a political statement is pretty much pushed off to the side.” She described the group of people making the demonstration as “small in number, big in spirit.”
The CNN correspondent went on to describe the “activists” and their agenda:
CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen, reporting live from in front Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," presented a sympathetic view of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his house of worship as being "under siege" -- from the national media. "Beyond what they say is the hurtful glare of the cameras, church leaders also say parishioners are hounded by reporters and they say the church received bomb threats. A church that feels under siege, now getting national support." Nearly the entire three minute segment, outside of Roesgen’s voice-overs and on-camera reporting, consisted of sound bites of the supporters of the church.
Besides featuring nobody but its supporters, Roesgen also painted the church and its congregations as victims of the controversy and of the news media. "I think they feel angry and they feel used. When they have talked about certain reporters, they were basically talking about reporters who were rude enough to go into the pews and hand out their business cards during the services, something of course CNN would never do."
Does President Bush resemble Adolf Hitler and Satan? That seemed to be the implication during the 9am half hour of CNN's American Morning. A protester wearing a George W. Bush mask, complete with a colored in Hitler-esque mustache and red horns attached to the forehead was deemed a Bush "look-alike" by reporter Susan Roesgen. In her report on how the bureaucracy at FEMA is delaying federal funds for rebuilding New Orleans, Roesgen highlighted a group of female Catholic school students demonstrating for money to repair the city's levees. The students, as Roesgen noted, "hoped the President would stop by" the protest. It was then that the demonstrator wearing the Bush mask was highlighted on camera, while Roesgen narrated, "But while a look-alike showed up with a wad of cash, Mr. Bush did not." The "wad of cash" in the demonstrator's hand was actually several phony dollar bills mocking the Bush administration.
Susan Roesgen: "City officials aren’t the only ones wondering when federal money will materialize. Catholic school girls marched on Jackson Square. They and their teachers say more money is needed to fix the levees, and they hoped the President would stop by after his meeting with business leaders. But while a look-alike showed up with a wad of cash, Mr. Bush did not." Real Player or Windows Media