During Wednesday’s The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham pointed out how the media have strenuously objected to the use of the word “mob” to describe left-wing protesters but did not seem to mind using the word “mob” at all when describing tea party protesters back in 2009.
She opened her segment by declaring that “only the media can tell you, the American people, when a mob is or isn’t an actual mob.” Ingraham played a clip of CNN’s Don Lemon dismissing the idea of “mob behavior” becoming an epidemic on the left earlier this week, describing liberal protesters as “people who are upset and...angry with the way...the country is going.” Ingraham contrasted Lemon’s description of the left-wing mob with a clip of Lemon from 2009 asking: “Democracy at work or is it mob rule? Angry protesters disrupt healthcare town halls.”
Lemon had denied that he would have called the tea party a mob when pressed by one of his guests on Tuesday’s CNN Tonight, but history appears to have proven otherwise. It still seems unlikely that The Washington Post will award Lemon “four pinocchios” for his declaration that he would not refer to the tea party as a mob.
Ingraham transitioned to another set of clips, featuring MSNBC's Chris Matthews doing the same thing. In 2018, Matthews said that “[t]he President and his Republican allies tried to channel their supporters’ outrage over protests into a winning issue by casting Democrats as an angry mob.” But Matthews in 2009 had a different take when describing the tea party protests: “Town hall meetings on healthcare are turning into mob scenes; noisy, angry, vengeful crowds are shouting down members of Congress.”
Ingraham took away a “clear message” from the montage: “When a GOP crowd shows up, it’s definitely a mob...But when liberal activists accost Senators in elevators and scream folks out of restaurants, they are just voicing their opinion very forcefully.”
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York suggested to Ingraham that “it’s almost as if now that President Trump is using the word, it has now become a forbidden word in some places of the media.” Ingraham eventually played some more clips of liberals labeling right-wing protesters as “mobs” back in 2009, back when the word “mob” was not a “forbidden word,” including one from Keith Olbermann wondering “are we free or are we slaves under conservative mob law?”
A transcript of the relevant portion of The Ingraham Angle is below. Click “expand” to read more.
The Ingraham Angle
LAURA INGRAHAM: Only the media can tell you, the American people, when a mob is or isn’t an actual mob.
DON LEMON: I will answer your question that you asked of her. Is it mob behavior? No it’s not mob behavior.
MARIA CARDONA: Thank you.
MATT LEWIS: Yes it is.
CARDONA: No, it’s not.
LEMON: It’s people who are upset and they’re angry with the way the, the way the country is going.
LEMON: It is Thursday the 6th of August and here are the top stories right here in the CNN Newsroom. Democracy at work or is it mob rule? Angry protesters disrupt healthcare town halls.
INGRAHAM: And here’s Chris Matthews of MSNBC performing the very same time warp trick.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The President and his Republican allies tried to channel their supporters’ outrage over protests into a winning issue by casting Democrats as an angry mob.
MATTHEWS: Town hall meetings on healthcare are turning into mob scenes; noisy, angry, vengeful crowds are shouting down members of Congress.
INGRAHAM: Well, the clear message is, when a GOP crowd shows up, it’s definitely a mob, even if they are wearing, like, period garb. But when liberal activists accost Senators in elevators and scream folks out of restaurants, they are just voicing their opinion very forcefully. Nice, it’s very easy. Joining me now, my friend Richard Goodstein, Democratic Strategist and former aide to the Clintons and Byron York, Fox News Contributor and Correspondent at The Washington Examiner. All right, Richard, let’s start with you. Do you at least admit this is a massive double standard?
RICHARD GOODSTEIN: I think what was happening…
INGRAHAM: Yes, Laura, I do.
GOODSTEIN: What was happening around the tea party was people…we heard about the spitting incident and whether it happened or not. They were objecting to having more people get healthcare, and now what people are objecting to…
INGRAHAM: No, that’s not what they were objecting to.
GOODSTEIN: …is babies in cages. They’re objecting to the fact that women were being degraded by the President in his own rally, degrading somebody who came forward who said that she was, you know, kind of assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh. Somebody standing up for their First Amendment rights of speech and assembly, and, you know, I guess the question is, I think people get into public life like Senators, I don’t think their skin is as thin as you’re suggesting they are, that when people get in their face, they can handle it. They’ve seen worse. They’ve been local officials, most of them, I don’t think this is something that was novel.
BYRON YORK: It’s almost as if now that President Trump is using the word, it has now become a forbidden word in some places of the media. I think you need to separate different kinds of actions. There are big protests in Washington all the time and they’re not mobs…
INGRAHAM: Yeah, the March for our lives was very…the March For Our Lives was just…you know, there was no problems there. It was a lot of people who showed up, no problem with it.
YORK: If you have, if you have a group of people who are trying to intimidate certain people, who are trying to shut down a public building like the Hart Senate Office Building.
INGRAHAM: Get in their faces!
YORK: Who are banging on the doors of the Supreme Court or who were stopping people like Ted Cruz or Kirstjen Nielsen from having dinner in a restaurant. I think that is mob-like behavior and it just is. The fact that so many now are denying and it’s not just CNN and MSNBC, you’re seeing it in newspapers as well. It’s just not true.
INGRAHAM: Well, if hold on…if the word’s not allowed or it’s looked at in a different way today. I think you’re right about that. Let’s watch another series of examples of how the word was used back in 2009 at the height of the tea party. Let’s watch.
NARRATOR: Desperate Republicans and their well-funded allies are organizing angry mobs. This mob activity is straight from the playbook of high-level Republican political operatives. They have no plan for moving our country forward so they’ve called out the mob.
RACHEL MADDOW: Corporate lobbying groups are doing their part, they are turning out the mobs.
MADDOW: Mob scenes at town hall tea party events.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Are we free or are we slaves under conservative mob law?