Year-End Awards: The Tea Party Terrorists Award

Today’s installment of the Media Research Center’s “Best Notable Quotables of 2013,” as selected by our 42 expert judges: “The Tea Party Terrorists Award.” The establishment media have been hostile to the Tea Party from the moment it appeared on the scene in 2009, impugning participants as racists, “tea baggers” and terrorists ready to blow up the political system.

“Winning” this category in 2011, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman falsely suggested Tea Party complicity in the grievous wounding of Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, announcing in a blog post written just two hours after news broke of her shooting: “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was....It’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.” (This year’s winners and videos below the jump.)

First prize for 2013 went to former Boston Globe Magazine writer Charles Pierce, who sneered at the Tea Party in an October 1 post to’s “The Politics Blog.”

“We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable that it insists the nation be ungovernable, too....We have elected a national legislature in which the true power resides in a cabal of vandals, a nihilistic brigade....We looked at our great legacy of self-government and we handed ourselves over to the reign of morons.”

Next came an October 5 column from the Washington Post’s Colbert I. King, where he placed the Tea Party as the ideological heirs of the secessionist Confederate States of America:

“The New Confederacy, as churlish toward President Obama as the Old Confederacy was to Lincoln, has accomplished what its predecessor could not: It has shut down the federal government, and without even firing a weapon or taking 620,000 lives, as did the Old Confederacy’s instigated Civil War....But don’t go looking for a group by the name of New Confederacy. They earned that handle from me because of their visceral animosity toward the federal government and their aversion to compassion for those unlike themselves. They respond, however, to the label ‘tea party.’ By thought, word and deed, they must be making Jefferson Davis proud today.”


On July 25, longtime Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter joined the panel on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner, where the group decried the Tea Party as like “terrorists” and “hostage-takers” when it came to negotiating over the budget:

MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter: “It’s like negotiating with terrorists....”
Host Alex Wagner: “Hostage takers, sure.”
Alter: “...They [Republicans] must understand that they will pay a price with patriotic Americans who understand that shutting down the government, which is what the Republicans are talking about, is an unpatriotic act....They have to feel the heat over and over again that they are acting against the best interests of the United States. That’s not happening, yet.”
MSNBC contributor Joy Reid: “To put it another way, when somebody is threatening to bomb the stadium, you don’t go out and make a speech about how you’re willing to dismantle the stadium in order to appease them.”

Lastly, on July 15, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman decried the defeat of a 10-year, $940 billion farm bill as evidence of “pathological mean-spiritedness” among conservatives.

“Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable....Somehow, one of our nation’s two great parties has become infected by an almost pathological mean-spiritedness, a contempt for what CNBC’s Rick Santelli, in the famous rant that launched the Tea Party, called ‘losers.’ If you’re an American, and you’re down on your luck, these people don’t want to help; they want to give you an extra kick. I don’t fully understand it, but it’s a terrible thing to behold.”

Tomorrow, recalling the media’s freak-out over the tiny budget “sequester,” and how they savaged conservatives over the government shutdown. The full report, with 15 categories plus the judges’ selection of Quote of the Year, is available at:

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Tea Parties Washington Post New York Times MSNBC Paul Krugman Joy Reid Jonathan Alter Colbert I. King Charles Pierce