NPR Skipped Fifth Anniversary of Tea Party, But Aired Five Stories Plugging Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' Anniversary

March 1st, 2014 6:11 PM

NPR celebrates political anniversaries – when it likes them. They celebrated the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, when when it had already faded away. This week, NPR aired five stories discussing the fourth anniversary of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to get kids to eat better and exercise.

But there was no story on the fifth anniversary of the Tea Party. The closest thing was a Mara Liasson analysis on Thursday of how the Senate races look tough for Democrats this fall – if the Republicans can keep the Tea Party extremists at bay:

MARA LIASSON: Democrats are also hoping Republicans do what they did to themselves in 2010 and 2012, when the GOP snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by nominating Senate candidates that were too extreme or incompetent to win. Brad Dayspring, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, says his party will not let that happen again.

BRAD DAYSPRING: When you lose elections, you take note of the things you did wrong and you learn from those. And in 2012, and certainly in 2010, we had nominated some candidates who were not well prepared for the Senate general election. And we have to take steps to avoid doing that as a party.

MARA LIASSON: For example, just yesterday in Colorado, Republicans convinced a top-tier challenger to Democratic incumbent Mark Udall to get in the race and the Tea Party candidate to drop out.

That doesn't mean the top challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, isn't conservative. It's just that political pundits often think "Tea Party" and "amateur" are the same thing.

In their “Week in Politics” segment on Friday night with "conservative" David Brooks and liberal E.J.Dionne, they skipped the Tea Party and celebrated Barack Obama’s new initiative for black men. Brooks was delighted: “You know, how - when are we going to have a president again who can talk with such credibility on this issue? So I'm very relieved, very glad that he's talking about it in personal terms.”

Dionne agreed: “I think he deserves some credit for gutsiness here because some people won't like it that he emphasizes race and how much racism these young men have suffered from.”

Brooks and Dionne were also delighted that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a religious-freedom bill the gay left opposed. Brooks said the country clubbers won: “The local country club establishment was upset. The entire political establishment was upset. Mitt Romney got in, John McCain. Everyone who cares about the economy of Arizona was involved. And so for people who don't like country club Republicans, this was a rare victory for the country club set. So they should tip their martinis.”

Dionne again agreed: “I think this is a huge deal because for both the reasons that David said and because people have been using religious liberty as a slogan to justify almost anything. And we do need religious accommodations to protect religious freedom in the country. But when you use it to say, well, a caterer should be able to discriminate against gay people or a florist, that cheapens the whole concept.”

UPDATE: On Twitter, an NPR fan alerted me that after this article was posted, on Sunday morning's Weekend Edition, NPR anchor Jacki Lyden marked the Tea Party anniversary with a pretty straightforward interview with Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots.