Jun
15
2011

Tea Party: Anti-Corporate Corruption Fighters?

Some in the press still seem to have trouble defining whatever it is that motivates the Tea Party movement. I noticed this in an L.A. Times piece last week (6/5/11): Americans possess a long-standing wariness of power and its potential as a corrupting influence, especially in the hands of large institutions. That instinct bred our government system of checks and balances and, more recently, led members of the "tea party" to embrace the nation's founders (repackaged as a band of small-government crusaders) as the guiding lights of their movement. So "wariness of power" and the "corrupting influence" of "large institutions" […]

Apr
05
2011

Not Tea Party? Not News

Protests were held across the country yesterday to pay tribute to the legacy of Martin Luther King and to push back againstattacks on workers' rights. AlexSeitz-Wald at Think Progress provides thistake onone D.C. rally: In Washington, D.C., today, an estimated 2,000 protesters marched on Koch Industries' Washington, D.C., offices and attempted to give Charles and David Koch an invitation to come out and speak with the protesters. Not surprisingly, the building's doors were locked and no one was allowed inside. However, a representative from the real estate company which managed the building told an handful of organizers who attempted to […]

Apr
04
2011

Only Hotheads Talk About the Effects of Budget Cuts

Corporate media's preference for"centrism" canoftentranslate intoreporting that casts two sides of a debate as equally belligerent or unwilling to compromise. ABC reporter Jonathan Karl's report yesterday on This Week (4/3/11) offers a perfect example of the absurdity of this worldview. His focuses was on the battle over the federal budget. On one side are Tea Party activists who want deeper spending cuts. Karl notes that this createssome frictionbetween the activists and GOP leaders. Then there's the other side of the debate: KARL: Democrats have their hot heads, too. One Obama administration official said the Republican bill, which cuts $5 billion […]

Apr
01
2011

Tea Party Rally? Alert the Liberal Media!

I was struck by how much coverage yesterday'srather small-looking Tea Party rally in Washington got in the national media. Slate's Dave Weigel has a piece(3/31/11) explaining that the event wasn't as "extreme asDemocrats would like it to be," as the subhead says. But the movement'salso not nearly as popular as the media coverage would lead you to believe. As Weigel notes, this rally was rather sparsely attended–especially if you weren't counting reporters: About 200 Tea Party activists trod over damp grass to hear their leaders respond to [House Speaker John] Boehner. There was at least one reporter for every three […]

Jan
26
2011

After Obama, CNN's Right-Wing Double Dip

It's normal for the opposition party to deliver a rebuttal address to the State of the Union. Last night Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was given that responsibility. But further-to-the-right Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota delivered the "Tea Party" response to the State of the Union, which was initially scheduled to air on the Tea Party Express website. That is, until CNN decided it would air it on television. Which meant, as Washington Monthly's Steve Benenput it, CNN broadcast "the president's address, followed by a speech by a far-right Republican, and then followed by another speech by a different far-right […]

Nov
01
2010

NYT's Bai: Tea Party = MoveOn.org?

New York Times reporter Matt Bai had a long piece Sunday (10/31/10)that argued that Tea Partiers are really the right-wing version of Bush-era MoveOn activists and bloggers (the "netroots"). Bai writes of "the larger forces that unify many self-styled activists on both the left and right," and suggests that "the recent uprisings on both ends of the ideological spectrum shouldn't be viewed as opposing trends, but rather as points on the same cultural continuum." The only way topull this offwith a straight face is to decide that political beliefs that motivate both groups are not worth inspecting or critiquing. Thus […]

Oct
27
2010

Tea Party Endorses 'Lamestream' Media Coverage of Tea Parties

Amy Gardner'srecent reporting on the Tea Party in the Washington Post has been very insightful. Today's piece (10/27/10) deals with the activists' views of the media.There's astandard right-wing whine about mainstream media neglect, but actual Tea Party activists see things differently: Most local tea party organizers interviewed in an extensive canvass this month by the Washington Post said media coverage of their groups has been fair, suggesting that perceptions of antagonism between the tea party and traditional news media are overstated. Seventy-six percent of local organizers said that coverage of their groups is either very fair or somewhat fair. Only […]

Oct
08
2010

NYT on Dems, Tea Parties and 'Social Issues'

Jodi Jacobson from RH Reality Check joins CounterSpin this week to talk about the media's decision to let Tea Party activists define their movement as one that doesn't focus on red meat "social issues." As Jacobson argues, that distinction doesn't really square with the far-right views espoused by leading Tea Party Republican candidates. The New York Times (10/7/10) offered a fresh example of this kind of reporting, in a piece by Kirk Johnson headlined "Democrats in Tight Races Put Focus on Abortion Rights." Johnson notes the perilsof this strategy: The Democratic strategy is at least drawing the attention of voters. […]

Sep
20
2010

NYT's Carr to Jon Stewart: Get Off the Field!

The New York Times' David Carr (9/20/10) compares involvement by media figures in politics–exemplified by CNBC's Rick Santelli and various Fox News figures fueling the Tea Party movement, and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's dueling answer rallies to said movement–to "a football game where the reporters and commentators, bored by the feckless proceedings on the field, suddenly poured out of the press box and took over the game." Writes Carr: "In politics, it seems as if the media is intent on not just keeping score but also calling plays." Regardless of what one thinks of any particular media figure's political […]

Apr
27
2010

What Would the Tea Party Look Like if It Were British, and Totally Different?

As a U.S. political columnist, the Washington Post's Anne Applebaum ("Britain's Spot of Tea Party," 4/27/10) might be excused for calling the Liberal Democratic Party "Britain's historically insignificant third party"; historically speaking, it was actually one of Britain's two major parties in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It's Applebaum's misunderstanding of the politics of her own country that's harder to forgive. Applebaum's column asks, "What would the Tea Party movement look like if it were British"–and the answer is, like the Liberal Democrats, as embodied by candidate Nick Clegg. Presumably it's not his support for immigration or his […]

Apr
19
2010

E.J. Dionne: Tea Party a 'Media-Created Protest Movement'

E.J. Dionne has a good column in the Washington Post today (4/19/10) looking at the Tea Party movement, and pinning a fair amount of blame on the press: "The news media's incessant focus on the Tea Party is creating a badly distorted picture of what most Americans think and is warping our policy debates." Looking at the most recent poll of Tea Party supporters, Dionne concludes that racism is clearly a factor in motivating many of these activists. And he makes this point: This must be the first "populist" movement driven by a television network: Sixty-three percent of the Tea […]

Apr
16
2010

Howard Kurtz and Tea Party Coverage: Too Much Is Not Enough

From his Web column today (4/16/10): After initially dismissing the tea types as an unimportant sideshow, the media are drinking deeply from that particular cup, especially with today being Tax Day and all. If by "dismissing" Kurtz means "featuring on the network evening newscasts," he might have a point–since that's how last year's Tea Party Tax Day protests were actuallycovered. But Kurtz has always had weird ideas about how much coverage the Tea Party events should receive. A year ago he criticized several newspapers for not devoting enough coverage to the protests–though the actual protests, uhh, hadn't happened yet: "The […]

Apr
06
2010

Tea Party Stupid and Racist? They're Not All Republicans, Says O'Reilly

Like Andrew Malcolm (FAIR Blog, 4/6/10), Bill O'Reilly (O'Reilly Factor, 4/5/10) has a bone to pick with how the "left-wing media" have representing the Tea Party movement. First, he complained, "Tea Party folks were labeled stupid, too dumb to understand complicated issues." Then the media said that "many Tea Party people are racist and far-right cranks." O'Reilly then refuted these charges by citing a poll that suggested that "the majority of Tea Party supporters in America are not Republicans." If I were a Republican, I'd be offended.