Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday scolded New York Times columnist David Brooks for his snobby, elitist treatment of the Tea Party.
Ingraham began her admonishment, "Your judgment on the Tea Party has been fairly brutal" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: Your judgment on the Tea Party has been fairly brutal. I mean, back in I think it was September of last year, you wrote that “The movement carries viruses that may infect the G.O.P. in the years ahead. Its members seek traditional, conservative ends, but they use radical means. They’ve picked up the worst excesses of modern American culture: a narcissistic sense of victimization, an egomaniacal belief in one’s own rightness and purity, and a willingness to distort the truth so that every conflict becomes a contest of pure good versus pure evil.”
I mean, if I’m going to pick an elite paragraph out of any column that you’ve written, that probably jumps out.
DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, okay, well so let me say a couple of things. One: I do think some of the things that have been said by some of the people like Michele Bachmann are over the top. I don’t apologize for that. I was on “Meet the Press” with her, and I think some of the things she said were over the top and not responsible. On the other hand, if you read a subsequent column you’ll see a different take on the Tea Party as I’ve seen it and I’ve gotten to know it a little better, and there was one column where I tried to describe people who are active in the Tea Party, and I basically described people who play by the rules: went to high school, did the courses, maybe went to a little college, learned to be an accountant, doing a job, bought a house they could afford…
INGRAHAM: They’re just Americans, aren’t they? I mean, they’re just Americans. These are just folks who are interested in the future of their country, David…
BROOKS: I’m trying to explain the attitude…
INGRAHAM: …and it seems really snobby. I mean, I was surprised because I like you, and I just thought that was really, I thought that didn’t seem like you. That just seems like it was, it was something I’d expect from frankly a production meeting at ABC or NBC, but not from you. I didn’t expect that from you.
BROOKS: Well, the biggest, well, again, go to the column where I’m trying to describe the regular people who are active in the movement, and I don’t think you’ll find that snobby. Do you want me to say do I think Michele Bachmann is right to call Obama a gangster government? No, I don’t. Do I think some of the candidates who ran for Senate and lost were saying things that were a little over the top? Yes I do. So, maybe that makes me establishment…
INGRAHAM: Yeah, well I think, I think. No, no what I’m saying is there are flaws in every group. I mean, my goodness, I mean, I’m the most flawed person out there. I say that all the time, but the Tea Party for the most part, I’ve been to a bunch of these things. There’s some fun people, some people dressed up as Uncle Sam. I mean, you get all types at the Tea Party. So I just, I don’t know, I just think every time I see something in the New York Times which is talking about the Tea Party movement when they just seem like regular, most of them just regular people. I mean, I, I, I didn’t see the big need to write that kind of stuff.
For the record, I could not find a column Brooks wrote subsequent to the September 17, 2010, one Ingraham cited wherein he said such positive things about the Tea Party. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but I've done a LexisNexis search of all the articles Brooks has written since that date which included the words "Tea Party" and none of them contained glowing praises for this movement:
- The Politicized Mind - January 11, 2011
- National Greatness Agenda - November 12, 2010
- The Second Marriage - November 2, 2010
- No Second Thoughts - October 26, 2010
It is possible Brooks was referring to a column he wrote prior to "The Backlash Myth" or that LexisNexis is not identifying what he's talking about.
Regardless, Ingraham's point about the general tone at the New York Times concerning the Tea Party was spot on.