UK Telegraph columnist Janet Daley blasted the BBC on Tuesday for treating the tea party movement "as if it were a cross between the Klu [sic] Klux Klan and the German neo-fascist brigade."
While Daley's piece is a stirring and hard-hitting indictment of the BBC's coverage, she seems to believe that its disdainful approach to the tea party movement stems from a failure to understand the American political tradition. But by that logic, American reporters, who presumably do understand that tradition, would refrain from such coverage.
Let's see: Nazi comparisons? Check. KKK comparisons? Check. The fact is the American media elite are more akin to their British counterparts than to the tea party protesters they all cover. Liberal elitism knows no borders.
After making the KKK and Nazi comparison allegations, Daley wrote on the Telegraph's website Tuesday:
The British generally and the BBC in particular have a real problem understanding the obsessive suspicion in which the power of central government is held in the US. This is not some funny redneck eccentricity: it is fundamental to the Constitution which gives individual states much greater sovereignty than the countries of the European Union enjoy. The states have independent judicial systems (some states have capital punishment, others do not) and separate taxation systems (some have sales taxes, others do not). Only a Supreme Court ruling can over-turn state law by, for example, declaring something (such as abortion) to be a legal right which a state legislature may not deny.
Traditionally there is only one nationally imposed tax - federal income tax - which is designed to pay for those functions that must be carried out by national government. Resistance to the Obama healthcare reforms is as passionate as it is precisely because it imposes a federal requirement to purchase health insurance which seems to contravene the basic economic freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. The BBC obviously finds it impossible to believe that ordinary people could actually take issues like this seriously. (They can only be racists or hillibilly know-nothings.) The Corporation really ought to encourage its correspondents to get out more and talk to some of the articulate Americans who don't spend their lives in liberal salons.
Who knows if Ed Scultz and Keith Olbermann spend their time in "liberal salons," but like their journalistic brethren across the pond, they have no compunction about painting the tea party movement as vicious racists or Third Reich-esque fascists (see links above).
Are they utterly ignorant of the American values Daley eloquently summarizes? They both have college degrees (please Keith, don't bring out the diploma again), and presumably learned a thing or two about American history.
No, they despise the tea party movement not because they don't understand it, but simply because it challenges their political agenda and hence must be debased and delegitimized with the most overwrought of historical epithets. Godwin would be proud.
In short, Daley is mischaracterizing the BBC's opposition to the movement. It has nothing to do with historical or political ignorance, and everything to do with an agenda. How do we know this? Well, the BBC's attitude mirrors that of our press.
There's nothing particularly novel about calling tea party activists Nazis. Olbermann and his ilk have been doing it for months.