Thursday, 15 April 2010

TEA PARTY MEDIA COVERAGE: THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Ken Berwitz

The "Tea Party" movement is one year old.  And it was quite a year.

Do you recall any other grassroots movement growing this fast?  I know I don't.

And do you recall a movement of any size generating so much terror in the hearts of our wonderful "neutral" media?  Same answer - I know I don't.

The Media Research Center, a conservative entity (yes, I note the ones that are leftward as well), has compiled data on just how biased the reporting of this movement has been.  Here is their executive summary, with a link at the bottom to the entire report. 

See for yourself:

Special Reports 

 

TV's Tea Party Travesty

How ABC, CBS and NBC Have Dismissed and Disparaged the Tea Party Movement


 

Executive Summary

 

 

The Tea Party movement launched one year ago, in response to the unprecedented expansion of government by President Barack Obama and congressional liberals, a massive increase in spending that will create economy-crushing fiscal burdens for future generations of taxpayers.

In that relatively brief period, the Tea Party has demonstrated it is a formidable political force. The pressure the movement brought to bear at the grassroots level put liberals on the defensive for much of the health care debate, and nearly succeeded in torpedoing the entire scheme in spite of Democrats overwhelming congressional majorities. And Tea Party activists proved decisive in a string of electoral defeats for liberals, culminating in Republican Scott Browns victory in the special election to succeed Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate.

So how have the supposedly objective media covered one of the biggest political stories in recent years? MRC analysts reviewed every mention of the Tea Party on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening newscasts, Sunday talk shows, and ABCs Nightline from February 19, 2009 (when CNBC contributor Rick Santelli first suggested throwing a Tea Party to protest government takeovers) through March 31, 2010. Among the major findings:

The networks first attempted to dismiss the Tea Party movement:

Given its demonstrated influence, network coverage of the Tea Party has been minuscule. Across all of their major programs, ABC, CBS and NBC aired a mere 61 stories or segments over a twelve month period, while another 141 items included brief references to the movement. Most of that coverage is recent; the networks virtually refused to recognize the Tea Party in 2009 (just 19 stories), with the level of coverage increasing only after Scott Browns election in Massachusetts.

Most of the networks 2009 coverage was limited to individual Tea Party rallies: six reports on the April 15, 2009 tax day protests, along with five other brief mentions; just one report on the July 4 rallies; and six full reports on the September 12 rally on Capitol Hill, plus eight brief mentions.

Such coverage is piddling compared to that lavished on protests serving liberal objectives. The Nation of Islams Million Man March in 1995, for example, was featured in 21 evening news stories on just the night of that march more than the Tea Party received in all of 2009. The anti-gun Million Mom March in 2000 was preceded by 41 broadcast network reports (morning, evening, and Sunday shows) heralding its message, including a dozen positive pre-march interviews with organizers and participants, a favor the networks never granted the Tea Party.

Network reporters were dismissive of the first Tea Party events in 2009. Theres been some grassroots conservatives who have organized so-called Tea Parties around the country, NBCs Chuck Todd noted on the April 15, 2009 Today, but the idea hasnt really caught on. On ABCs World News, reporter Dan Harris warned viewers that critics on the Left say this is not a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that its actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests.


By the fall of 2009, the networks had shifted to disparaging the Tea Party:

After the September 12, 2009 rallies, the networks suggested the Tea Party was an extreme or racist movement. On CBS, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer decried the angry and nasty Capitol Hill rally, while ABCs Dan Harris scorned protesters who waved signs likening President Obama to Hitler and the devil....Some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President.

Overall, 44 percent of network stories on the Tea Party (27 out of 61) suggested the movement reflected a fringe or dangerous quality. ABCs John Berman was distressed by a tone of anger and confrontation he claimed to find at the Tea Party convention in early February. In September, NBCs Brian Williams trumpeted Jimmy Carters charge that the Tea Party was motivated by race: Signs and images at last weekends big Tea Party march in Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes, and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.

While network reporters have strained to protect left-wing causes (such as the anti-war movement) with the outrageous acts of individual protesters, they were quick to smear the entire Tea Party based on isolated reports of poor behavior. On the night of the final vote on ObamaCare in March, for example, ABCs Diane Sawyer cast Tea Partiers as out-of-control marauders, roaming Washington, some of them increasingly emotional, yelling slurs and epithets. CBSs Bob Schieffer also cast a wide net, accusing demonstrators of hurling racial epithets and sexual slurs, and even conjured images of civil-rights era brutality: One lawmaker said it was like a page out of a time machine.


While the broadcast networks seldom devolved into the juvenile name-calling and open hostility evident at the liberal cable news networks, their coverage of the Tea Partys first year reflected a similar mindset of elitist condescension and dismissiveness. Given how the networks have provided fawning coverage and helpful publicity to far-less consequential liberal protest movements, their negative treatment of the Tea Party is a glaring example of a media double standard. Rather than objectively document the rise and impact of this important grassroots movement, the news networks instead chose to first ignore, and then deplore, the citizen army mobilizing against the unpopular policies of a liberal President and Congress.

Full Report Table of Contents:

Introduction | Giving Short Shrift to the Tea Party Rallies | The Idea Really Hasnt Caught On | Scorning the Tea Parties as Wacky, Extremist and Racist | The Tea Party: Liberals Secret Weapon? | More Tea Party Trashing | Smearing With a Broad Brush | Conclusion: Ignoring and Deploring the Tea Party

Formatted PDF Version of Full Report

Now, compare the coverage media have given the Tea Party movement with, say, "Code Pink" - which seems to consist of about a dozen or so of the same nutcakes getting massive media attention every time they show up to protest anyone at any time in any place.  And compare it to the years-long fawning coverage of cindy sheehan, whose main contribution, other than relentlessly exploiting her son's corpse, was to sit on a lawn chair, with a couple of dozen supporters, by the side of the road near President Bush's ranch in Texas.

It's not hard to see that the Media Research Center has a point.

But, despite the degree to which media have been terrified by, and thus have mercilessly attacked, the Tea-Partiers, this movement seems to be doing nothing but growing. 

Most recently, media fell all over each other to report the racial slurs Tea-Partiers allegedly made against a group of Black congresspeople (who, it should be noted, deliberately tried to provoke them).  When it turned out there was no evidence that it happened, did you read any retractions?  Did you see any footage of reporters demanding an explanation from the congresspeople who claimed they were insulted, asking them why, with all the audio and videotaping at that time, not one sound track has even one such insult on it?

Then they wonder why people call them biased......

Zeke .... There's an easy $100,000 forANYONE who can show a video of the Tea Party demonstrators shouting racial slurs at the congresscritters in DC. Standing offer by Andrew Breitbart (biggovernment.com, breitbart.com) -- just show him the video ... Strangely, with all sides & the stalwart media videoing the entire incident ... no one has thought to take the money. I don't believe you can look at ONE video of the incident, and not see a forest of cell phones, video cams. (04/15/10)


PRESIDENT OBAMA'S MIDDLE EAST CHOICE

Ken Berwitz

Who is President Obama casting his lot with in the middle east?

Investor's Business Daily has an excellent editorial on this subject.  Here it is:

Israel Or Terrorists

War On Terror: Are we still Israel's staunch ally? Or do we blame the Jewish state for Islamist violence? An increasingly anti-Israeli U.S. government cannot have it both ways.

We now have a president who buys into the longtime Islamist propaganda claim that the lack of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is causing Islamist terrorism.

Here's the line, taken to its logical conclusion: If only the Iranian-sponsored Hamas terror outfit were handed full control of what it's entitled to next door to Israel, Iraq would magically improve; the Taliban wouldn't fight so hard to make Afghanistan and Pakistan into Sharia states; Osama bin Laden would send a new audio tape to al-Jazeera thanking the Great Satan; and al-Qaida sleeper cells the world over would get orders to continue their slumber indefinitely.

Barack Obama isn't the first president to link a Palestinian accord to the "vital national security interest of the United States," as the president said this week. But he is the first with a policy of bullying the Israeli government to make friends with Muslim powers.

Consider his "New Beginning" speech in Cairo last June.

The Jewish state got plenty of lip service. We heard that "this bond is unbreakable" between the U.S. and Israel. The next day the president even visited the Buchenwald concentration camp to soften the speech's blow.

And what a blow it was. The Nazis' genocide of the Jews was given the "on the other hand" treatment.

Millions of Jews may have been sent to the gas chambers and ovens, but on the other hand, according to the president, "it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people Muslims and Christians have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they've endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations large and small that come with occupation."

And what is the main obstacle to those Palestinian aspirations?

The domestic policies of the Israeli state "the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," the president told an adoring, largely Muslim audience. "Israel must also live up to its obligation to ensure that Palestinians can live and work and develop their society ... progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be a critical part of a road to peace and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress."

The U.S. has embraced the kind of thinking found in political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's recent book, "The Israel Lobby."

"Israel may have been a strategic asset during the Cold War," the authors argue, "but it has become a growing liability now" that has "reinforced anti-Americanism around the world, helped fuel America's terrorism problem, and strained relations with other key allies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia."

The truth is that a Palestinian deal will almost certainly embolden Islamist terrorists and their state sponsors, because it would be celebrated as a Jewish defeat.

The likely result: more terrorist recruits, more attacks and more dead innocents, including Americans.

You can't be against the terrorists and against Israel too.

Yet that is exactly the new U.S. policy.

There you go. 

Simply stated, Palestinian Arabs have never had a better friend in the oval office than President Barack Obama.  And, conversely, Israel has never had less of a friend.

In the last election, 78% of all Jews, most of whom presumably support Israel, voted for Mr. Obama.  I hope they're happy with what they got.

Speaking as one of the other 22%, I can assure you I am not.

Ken Berwitz zeke - 100% right. Virtually the same number of Jews were driven out of Arab countries as Arabs who left what is now Israel. The difference is that most of the Arabs left on the advice of their grand mufti, who told them they'd return as conquerors after the Jews were driven into the sea. How'd that work out anyway? (04/15/10)

Zeke .... What about the Jews who were driven from their homelands in the middle east ? .... Where they had lived for centuries, and in many cases millennia (thousands of years). In 1948, they were thrown out of their traditional homes in Iran, Iraq, North Africa, (Libya, Tunisia, Egypt), Yemen. Years later, they escaped from Ethiopia, where they had dwelt since the days of King David and the Queen of Sheba. ..... .... Where is THEIR homeland.... ? ? ? .... .... The Palestinians have a homeland; it is called JORDAN. (04/15/10)


THE TODAY SHOW'S LATEST HIT PIECE ON SARAH PALIN

Ken Berwitz

This morning the Today Show had a feature on Sarah Palin.  It was done by that noted neutralist Andrea Mitchell.

Here is a summary of what she told us:

-First the overall theme:  Ms. Mitchell decried the fact that Sarah Palin had been asked to make a speech at Cal. State - Stanislaus (which was described as "a financially strapped school").  She spent virtualy the entire 3-plus minutes of her report assuring us that universities are struggling and Ms. Palin's fee, plus her demands for plane transportation, etc., are a disgrace. 

-After her opening salvo, Mitchell showed a couple of snippets from Tea Party speeches Palin had made, and then showed her on the 2008 campaign trail telling an audience how, as Governor, she got rid of the private plane that was there for her use.  It then went into detail about how well she is doing today, with her book sales, speeches, her gig on Fox News, etc. - as if Palin's success were something to be ashamed of.

Funny thing:  I don't recall Ms. Mitchell doing a similar feature on Bill Clinton or Al Gore, both of whom get huge speaking fees and have written books as well.  But, hey, why should consistency obtain here?

-Next, Ms. Mitchell noted that Ms. Palin's expectations are "typical for top-level celebrity speakers but not for the political circuit". 

Was this supposed to communicate that Palin was getting too much for her services?  If so I suggest that Ms. Mitchell speak to the university, not Ms. Palin.  They asked her to speak, not the other way around.  Then, maybe somebody could help Mitchell out by explaining that Ms. Palin is a top-level celebrity speaker and no longer holds political office. 

-At this point we were told that a copy of her contract was found in a dumpster (more on where it was found later), and it had the following demands:  Transportation for Ms. Palin was to be either a first-class seat on a commercial airline or a private plane (point of order:  the private plane was mentioned first, complete with a picture and the minimum size craft she wanted - but when the alternative of a first-class seat was mentioned, the private plane graphic remained in view.  I'm guessing this caused a lot of people to be unaware that Palin was perfectly willing to take a regularly scheduled flight). 

Additionally, we were told, Ms. Palin (gasp!) required two bottles of water with straws at the podium (at a cost of maybe $3) and pre-approval of the moderator who would be used for the question period (which any controversial speaker would ask for).  

-Now Ms. Mitchell forebodingly intones..."This from a college with furlough Fridays and a state system rocked by protests over budget cuts".   To hear those words, you would naturally assume Palin was being paid directly out of college funds. But wait - more about where her fee came from a bit further on.

To reinforce how badly the school's limited resources were being ravaged, Mitchell showed footage of a student complaining about Palin's speaking engagement.  She also told us an investigation had been initiated by the state's Attorney General - who just happens to be Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown (now there's a voice of impartiality). 

-Mitchell inserted footage of Mr. Brown talking about expenditures of "hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars".   But - another funny thing - she did not tell us Ms. Palin's actual speaking fee.  Not in this part of the report or anywhere else.  If the students had the contract, the amount was certainly known .  Why do you suppose she didn't tell us?  Is it just possible that the actual amount was one helluva lot less than "hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars"?  Take a wild guess.

-We are now 2:23 into a 3:06 report; three-quarters of the way through.  And, amazingly, it is only now that Mitchell tells us "the school says its foundation is paying the freight" - which means the money is not coming directly from school funds.  

To cover this teeny weeny little glitch in the hit piece, Mitchell quickly adds that critics say the foundation is led by the University President, based on campus and uses taxpayer-supported facilities. The problem?  Other than who the leader is, you could say the same thing about every political club on the school's campus.  So what?

-And at the very end (at 2:45 of a 3:06 report), Mitchell finally tells us the University President says Ms. Palin is being paid with "private funds", and that "she's driving ticket sales to unprecedented levels" (i.e. they maybe MAKING money on the speech).  Another huge hole in the hit piece, buried as a tossaway line.   Again, we only hear this after the indelible impression is created that the school is forking over money that would have gone to academic pursuits. 

-Finally, remember Mitchell's comment that the contract was found in a dumpster?  Her exact words:  "But a speech she's been hired to give at Cal. State - Stanislaus, one of 23 California campuses drowning in red ink, is causing a furor.  That's because students found a copy of Palin's contract for the black tie event in a trash bin".

Well the last thing she says in this hit piece is that the University President is investigating whether the contract was, in fact, stolen from a university office. 

So why did Andrea Mitchell first state, early in the report and with 100% certainty, that it was found in a dumpster?  Why didn't she say that it was in doubt?  Why did she leave viewers with the "knowledge" that it was just a lucky discovery?

Let me ask you:  which of the two has more credibility?  In considering this, please think about how often university students typically rifle through dumpsters looking for contracts.  That should give you the answer.

The bottom line?  This is not just a hit piece.  It is a thoroughly dishonest hit piece, which is intentionally tailored to leave people with an unfairly negative impression of Sarah Palin.

In short, just another day at the office for the Today Show and its frontal assault on Sarah Palin. 

Great work, guys.  You're certainly adhering to your standards.

Montana Almost daily we listen to her trash talk (she is in the Quayle and “W” league), all thanks to the man who now claims that he never called himself a maverick, McCain, right, tell us another. She spends her days trash talking it is only fitting that someone found a great place for her contract. You know she is a VP silver metal winner. I guess some dumpster diving found it, All’s Well That Ends Well. (04/15/10)


THE JOBLESSNESS PICTURE: EVEN BLEAKER THAN BEFORE

Ken Berwitz

Remember all that fanfare about the "162,000 jobs created" last week?  Remember how the administration and its willing media complicitors downplayed the facts that a) the expectation was 200,000, so this was less than expected, and b) most of the jobs were temporary - in no small part due to census hiring - and would go away in a few months?

Well, here is a dose of reality.  From Reuters:

Jobless claims jump in post-Easter volatility

On Thursday April 15, 2010, 8:39 am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly soared last week as applications held back during the Easter holiday were processed, government data showed on Thursday.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 24,000 -- the largest increase in two months -- to a seasonally adjusted 484,000, the Labor Department said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected claims to dip to 440,000 from 460,000 the prior week, a number that was unrevised in Thursday's report.

A Labor Department official said the increase in claims last week was mainly due to administrative factors rather than economic ones. "I don't think there is a whole lot of layoffs going on," he said.

The four-week moving average of new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 7,500 to 457,750.

Got that?  They expected 440,000, but it's 484,000.   And I'm not interested in the excuse about Easter.  That would have been incorporated into the estimate, wouldn't it?

But hey, not to worry.  It's just due to administrative factors rather than economic ones. 

Just ask the "labor department official".  I mean, the people in this administration never lie, do they?

Zeke .... Guess the gub'mint did not expect Easter. .... ..... Does ANYONE believe the crap coming out of Washington? People see the economy all around them: Friends, family (and themselves) unemployed. ... 15% of all home mortgages in default or foreclosure. .... Retail stores unoccupied. ... States verging on bankruptcy. Companies showing profits by downsizing ... a shell game that is essentially selling off assets and claiming that is revenue. ... The bleeding of the Federal treasury to pay off Obama's cronies, supporters and contributors. (04/15/10)


BENJAMIN HOOKS, R.I.P.

Ken Berwitz

Dr. Benjamin Hooks, a true giant of the civil rights movement, died today in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 85, after a long illness.

When Mr. Hooks became executive director of the NAACP in 1977, the organization was virtually moribund.  Its membership was shrinking and it was deeply in debt.  Young people saw it as a relic of times past, incapable of getting very much done.  By the time he left, 15 years later, the organization had grown appreciably in membership and was again seen as an important part of the civil rights struggle (how sad that its renewed vibrancy under Mr. Hooks is largely gone again today).

Many people today probably have never even heard of Benjamin Hooks.  And even those who have, know less about him than they ought to. 

Here is an excellent summary, excerpted from the Associated Press:

Hooks' inspiration to fight social injustice and bigotry stemmed from his experience guarding Italian prisoners of war while serving overseas in the Army during World War II. Foreign prisoners were allowed to eat in "for whites only" restaurants while he was barred from them.

When no law school in the South would admit him, he used the GI bill to attend DePaul University in Chicago, where he earned a law degree in 1948. He later opened his own law practice in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn.

"At that time you were insulted by law clerks, excluded from white bar associations and when I was in court, I was lucky to be called 'Ben,'" he once said in an interview with Jet magazine. "Usually it was just 'boy.'"

In 1965 he was appointed to a newly created seat on the Tennessee Criminal Court, making him the first black judge since Reconstruction in a state trial court anywhere in the South.

President Richard Nixon nominated Hooks to the Federal Communications Commission in 1972. He was its first black commissioner, serving for five years before resigning to lead the NAACP.

At the FCC, he addressed the lack of minority leadership in media and persuaded the commission to propose a new rule requiring TV and radio stations to be offered publicly before they could be sold. Minority employment in broadcasting grew from 3 percent to 15 percent during his tenure.

He later was chairman of the board of directors of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and helped create The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis

Mr. Hooks truly led a life well lived.  Productive and meaningful.  Would that more of us did the same.

May Benjamin Hooks rest in peace.  He certainly earned it.


ERIC HOLDER'S RACIAL COWARDICE

Ken Berwitz

Today is April 15th; the deadline for people without extensions to file their income taxes. 

But did you know there was another deadline just yesterday; one that was ignored by the Attorney General of the United States?

From Adam White at the Weekly Standard:

Eric Holder, still hiding from the Philly Black Panthers case

By: Adam J. White
Weekly Standard
04/15/10 12:22 PM EDT

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke yesterday at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, extolling the Justice Department's central role in "today's struggle to promote tolerance, peace, justice and the rule of law."  His timing could not be more ironic, because on the very same day, the attorney general failed to comply with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights's deadline to report whether the DOJ will allow its employees to testify in the commission's investigation of the DOJ's extraordinary decision to drop its prosecution of Black Panther Party members who menaced voters at the polls on Election Day 2008.

The attorney general certainly talks a good game -- not just at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, but elsewhere, as we saw in his infamous description of Americans as a "nation of cowards" on racial issues.  But if the attorney general is really so opposed to cowardice on sensitive issues of race, then why is he so scared to talk to the Civil Rights Commission?

This is the same eric holder who, last year, called us a nation of "racial cowards".  But as of yesterday, he proved to be either so cowardly regarding the Black radical lunatics in question - or so sympathetic to their racist cause - that he ignored the laws he is sworn to uphold.

Every day eric holder is the Attorney General is a day too long.  If there were a shred of integrity at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he would have been told to take a hike at 12:01AM this morning.  Or any time thereafter.

The fact that it won't happen tells you volumes about this administration.


EDITORIAL: ERIC HOLDER AND TERRORIST TRIALS IN NYC

Ken Berwitz

This editorial appeared in today's New York Daily News.  The bold print is mine:

Get the hell out of here: 9/11 trial positively cannot be in New York, Mr. Holder

More than two months have passed since the White House ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to search for a place other than Manhattan for bringing Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, mastermind of 9/11, to trial.

And roughly the same amount of time has elapsed since Washington put out what seemed the definitive word on the subject:

"White House abandons plan to hold Khalid trial in Manhattan," reported the Daily News.

"New York is out," an administration official told The Washington Post.

And yet there was Holder yesterday, called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and asserting that "New York is not off the table" as a venue for putting Mohammed not just on trial, but on trial in civilian criminal court.

Holder is either a captain who is resolutely determined to go down with his ideological ship or one who doesn't have a clue about how to chart a steady course.

Why, it was only in February that Holder signaled he was open to trying Mohammed before a military tribunal - after, according to The Washington Post, President Obama planned "to insert himself into the debate about where to try" the mass murderer and his fellows.

If the President has done so, it is not readily apparent. The decider needs to decide.

As Sen. Chuck Schumer said yesterday: "We know the administration is not going to hold the trial in New York. They should just say it already."

Long Island Rep. Pete King, the ranking Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee, got to the heart of the matter by calling on Obama to shoulder Holder aside and end all this vacillating and confusion.

At virtually the same time Holder was testifying, Federal Protective Service Director Gary Schenkel was telling King's committee that his agency would be swamped trying to provide courthouse security for proceedings that could last a couple of years.

There is no question that the price would be high. Mayor Bloomberg has estimated the NYPD would have to lay out $200 million annually.

Stop the madness, Mr. President. Start the military tribunals.

My only criticism is that the Daily News said it a lot nicer than holder and Obama deserve. 

Why does this administration make itself look so ridiculous?  And why is eric holder still the Attorney General?


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