Sudden Respect: CNN Now Enamored by Possible ‘Tea Party of the Left’ at Angry Town Halls

Throughout the day on Friday, CNN touted video of angry protesters at congressional Republican town halls in Tennessee and Utah to prove that it might be the emergence of a possible “Tea Party of the left.” In the process, it showed a stunning dose of sudden respect after how they and their media cohorts treated the Tea Party when it arrived on scene in 2009 and 2010.

In one segment, however, American Conservative Union (ACU) chairman Matt Schlapp was there to point out that the town halls were in strongly Republican districts so the left’s “orchestrated campaign[s]” were no more than them “doing a very good job of making their political points.”

At This Hour host Kate Bolduan introduced video of protesters screaming at Republicans Jason Chaffetz (Utah) and Diane Black (Tenn.) this way:

Voters are mad and they're letting their members of Congress know, as Republicans are planning how to get rid and how they’re going to replace ObamaCare. People are packing town halls across the country, including just two last night, one in Utah, where Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz faced off with the crowd, and another in Tennessee hosted by Congresswoman Diane Black. 

Bolduan added after some contentious video clips that she was “watching this and I’m saying — did we all just get back into a time machine and head back to 2009?”

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Schlapp was ready to respond, however, to these comparisons (seeing as how Chaffetz’s district is +25 Republican and Black’s is +15 Republican):

Yeah, right. I think the difference this time is that, you know, those two town halls that you picked, Tennessee and Utah, with very Republican districts, very Republican constituencies. You saw when he mentioned — when Jason Chaffetz mentioned the name Trump, the whole crowd erupted in boos. Look, the left is doing a very good job of making their political points. This is an orchestrated campaign. I think it’s probably smart for their politics but I don't think it’s going to make much difference in the minds of these legislators who can see this for what it is. 

Naturally, liberal CNN political commentator Angela Rye disagreed, ruling that such actions will “[make] a difference” and go straight to how “the Republicans have been struggling with” repealing and replacing ObamaCare “for some time on what repeal actually looks like.” 

Later, Bolduan pressed Schlapp once more on the comparisons: 

But if 2009 is the model, Matt, this is kinda how it will play out, people protesting at town halls. They’re not going to get their way. As you said, you don’t think it’s going to change anything where this go, but the tea party movement was born largely out of those town halls. That’s — Republicans, conservatives, stood up, and they changed Congress after that. Do you fear that this could happen, but it could be the tea party of the left this time? 

Once again, Schlapp distinguished the two and highlighted a case where Republican voters stood up against an elected official from the own party (albeit a weak one in Arlen Specter) and until “I see some of this behavior at Democratic town halls...I view it as left — a left-wing plan.”

As stated at the top, this case represents one of the best examples of sudden respect on the part of the liberal media. 

New York Times reporter Kate Zernike wrote in a 2010 book that the Tea Party was seen as symbolizing “an echo of slavery, Jim Crow and George Wallace” by critics. As for the makeup of the Tea Party, she dismissed them as “white and male, with a disproportionate number above 45, and above 65” with “less diverse” memories of American life.

Rich Noyes assembled a must-read special report in April 2010 on how the media “dismissed and disparaged” the movement, ranging from their characterization of conservatives to giving little to no coverage of rallies and events compared to The Nation of Islam’s Million Man March in 1995 and the anti-gun rights Million Mom March in 2000.

When it came to town halls from 2009, Noyes reported

The networks almost never associated the Tea Party with the anti-ObamaCare protests that erupted during congressional town hall meetings in August, which means such stories fall outside the scope of this study. But the MRC’s review of coverage at the time showed the citizens protesting at those meetings were derided in the media as “ugly,” “unruly,” “nasty” mobs, with reporters presenting the most odious images (such as pictures of Obama drawn as Hitler) as somehow representative of the entire group. In spite of the media onslaught against the protesters, public support for both President Obama and his ObamaCare program fell dramatically during the month.

Reporting for CBS Sunday Morning in fall 2009, liberal journalist Jeff Greenfield smeared

From the Tea Parties on tax day last April....to the rancorous town halls on health care in August, to the gathering last weekend at the Capitol, discontent is in the air. You can see it in the signs they carry, hear it from the most prominent voices on talk radio, all from the right....Some of it seems very traditional, an outcry against the government that critics say has grown too big....Some of it is aimed specifically and virulently at Obama — at his background, at his race, at his agenda: Fascist, Communist, both. 

Here are the relevant portions of the transcript from CNN’s At this Hour with Kate Bolduan on February 10:

CNN’s At this Hour with Kate Bolduan
February 10, 2017
11:29 p.m. Eastern

KATE BOLDUAN: Voters are mad and they're letting their members of Congress know, as Republicans are planning how to get rid and how they’re going to replace ObamaCare. People are packing town halls across the country, including just two last night, one in Utah, where Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz faced off with the crowd, and another in Tennessee hosted by Congresswoman Diane Black. Take a look at this. 

[CROWD CHANTING “DO YOUR JOB”] 

REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN JASON CHAFFETZ (Utah): Hold on, I'm trying to answer the question. 

WOMAN AT TENNESSEE TOWN HALL: We're effectively punishing our sickest people. 

PROTESTER AT CHAFFETZ TOWN HALL: Shut the hell up.

CHAFFETZ: Easy, easy, please. 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN AT TENNESSEE TOWN HALL: I have to have coverage to make sure I don't die. [SCREEN WIPE] And you want to take away this coverage with nothing to replace it. 

CHILD PROTESTER: Do you believe in science? Because I do. 

CHAFFETZ: So President Trump nominated — [AUDIENCE BOOS] By far Donald Trump was the better choice. By far. [AUDIENCE BOOS] 

BOLDUAN: Jason Chaffetz can handle it, I can tell you that — handling that stage, but joining me now, let’s discuss this. Matt Schlapp is here, former political director for George W. Bush and chairman of the American Conservative Union. Angela Rye is here as well, CNN's political commentator, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. So Matt, I’m watching this and I’m saying — did we all just get back into a time machine and head back to 2009? 

MATT SCHLAPP: Yeah, right. I think the difference this time is that, you know, those two town halls that you picked, Tennessee and Utah, with very Republican districts, very Republican constituencies. You saw when he mentioned — when Jason Chaffetz mentioned the name Trump, the whole crowd erupted in boos. Look, the left is doing a very good job of making their political points. This is an orchestrated campaign. I think it’s probably smart for their politics but I don't think it’s going to make much difference in the minds of these legislators who can see this for what it is. 

BOLDUAN: Do you think — I mean, Angela, do you honestly think, while I'm sure you like to see what's going on at these town halls, do you think it’s going to make a difference? 

ANGELA RYE: I do think it makes a difference. I think it's really important and really a fundamental part of our democracy is our legislators hearing from their constituents about what matters them. And I think we can go back to the leaked tape –— the Republicans have been struggling with this for some time on what repeal actually looks like. This is the reason why Barack Obama stood before us with all types of swag, Kate, saying, well, you show me your plan and I'll support the thing because they’ve been here, done this. If they had a plan to repeal and to actually place, they wouldn't have voted to repeal 60 plus times in earlier sessions, they would have actually had a replacement plan. 

(....)

BOLDUAN: But if 2009 is the model, Matt, this is kinda how it will play out, people protesting at town halls. They’re not going to get their way. As you said, you don’t think it’s going to change anything where this go, but the tea party movement was born largely out of those town halls. That’s — Republicans, conservatives, stood up, and they changed Congress after that. Do you fear that this could happen, but it could be the Tea Party of the left this time? 

SCHLAPP: No. I agree with Angela completely. This is part of democracy. I think when ordinary voters can have their voices heard, I think it's a great thing. Remember, the Tea Party 2009 moment, the moment that really sticks out in my head is when conservative activists in a the community stood up to Arlen Specter, a Republican. Somebody you’d thought would be the party he would be a part of — 

BOLDUAN: I can’t remember. Was he a Republican then or was a Democrat then? I can’t remember. 

SCHLAPP: No, that's a fair point, but the point is this. He was playing footsie with President Obama and the Republicans didn't like it. When I see some of this behavior at Democratic town halls, I will see this is a grassroots movement. Until then, I view it as left — a left-wing plan. 

BOLDUAN: We will see. I don't think it's going to stop because they’re getting a lot of attention.

RYE: Exactly.

NB Daily Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Sudden Respect CNN Other CNN Video Diane Black Angela Rye Kate Bolduan Jason Chaffetz
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links