On Friday, NPR political director Ron Elving asked in an online article “Is The Tea Party Finished?” Then he answered: “Yes, if you insist on calling it the Tea Party. Because that phrase implies the phenomenon is some sort of organized unit in the usual sense. And the Tea Party never really was one.” You might be able to read some delight between the lines, since the Tea Party wanted to defund public broadcasting.
Elving wrote like he was assembling an obituary: “the energy never really assumed the form of a conventional political party, and it did not build the machinery that could produce reliable candidates and campaigns.”
On Tuesday afternoon’s closing segment of MSNBC’s The Cycle, host Krystal Ball delivered an epic soliloquy, holding nothing back as she attacked the Tea Party from just about every angle.
The segment was introduced by clips of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz all using the phrase “We the People.” She chided the recent efforts of various “Tea Party” groups which fell short on delivering a crowd at different planned protests. What followed was boiler-plate MSNBC spin which seeks to pump up its left-wing audience by seeking to marginalize and misrepresent conservatism. Ball accused conservatives of having “developed a strange relationship with reality.” This strange relationship, of course, in Ball’s words because of conservatives:
On Wednesday Darrell Issa demanded Attorney General Eric Holder answer new questions about the Justice Department’s role in the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. In a letter sent to Holder, Issa sought answers about a newly released email between former IRS official Lois Lerner and DOJ official Richard Pilger in which Pilger asks Lerner “When you have a moment, will you call me? I’ve been asked to run something by you” and requests who at the IRS “DOJ folks could talk to” about ways to target politically involved non-profit groups.
So far none of the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) reported on this latest IRS scandal development on their evening or morning shows.
Tuesday's World News on ABC stood out as the only Big Three network evening newscast to cover a new "watchdog report" that found that the IRS "handed out more than $1 million in bonuses to employees who were delinquent on their federal taxes." Jeff Zeleny also pointed out how "more than 1,000 IRS workers, who didn't pay their taxes, received not only cash bonuses, but extra time off." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Tuesday both devoted air time to the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. NBC's Brian Williams also gave a 28-second news brief on Prince William and Princess Kate's visit to Ayers Rock in Australia, where they posed at the same spot as the prince's parents during the 1980s:
On the Friday, April 18, PoliticsNation, Al Sharpton hyped President Obama's dubious claims about the Affordable Care Act's alleged success as the MSNBC host asserted that the program has "exceeded expectations," and that Republicans are suffering from a "hangover" in denying its success.
Sharpton claimed to see "lies, fearmongering and paranoia" from the GOP, and brought up questionable claims dating back to 2010 that Tea Party members spat on Democratic members of Congress during a protest. Sharpton began:
The folks at MSNBC seem to be doing their best to try and minimize the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups. Ever since the initial reports broke in 2013, liberals have characterized conservative outrage as nothing more than a political stunt and one of many “faux scandals and conspiracy theories.”
The most recent example came from Obama activist turned MSNBC host Joy Reid, who on Wednesday April 9 during her daily Reid Report program declared that GOP efforts to hold IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress “Really does ratchet up the level of what you might call persecution of her.” [See video below.]
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, conservative columnist George Will had some harsh words for the Obama Administration’s handling of the IRS scandal.
In response to a question from host Chris Wallace about how little is known about the IRS scandal, Will observed that Obama’s “appointed an employee of his who is also a donor of his to investigate him and before the thing starts he says, oh, by the way, I already know the outcome there isn't a smidgeon of a scandal involved here. So that's kind of a sham.” [See video below.]
Friday's NBC Nightly News played up the latest dust-up between Senators John McCain and Ted Cruz over the latter's criticism of three of the Republican Party's presidential candidates, including Bob Dole. Brian Williams underlined the apparent "genuine and palpable tension today in Washington," after Senator Cruz criticized Dole, McCain, and Mitt Romney's campaigns during a speech at CPAC: "When you don't stand for principle, Democrats celebrate."
Kelly O'Donnell zeroed in McCain's shot back at Cruz on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC program, and hyped how "[Cruz], one of the Tea Party's most provocative figures...triggered a new Republican rift" with his remark. O'Donnell also hyped the Texas senator's Friday statement reacting to his colleague from Arizona: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
How do we know that the tea party has become a force that can't be shrugged away in the five years since it emerged? When liberals in media smear tea partiers with ludicrous, over-the-top comparisons.
Appearing on Ed Schultz's radio show, Mother Jones reporter David Corn rendered himself incapable of being taken seriously when he likened the tea party to one of the most depraved criminals to appear in film, the Joker in the Batman movies. (Audio after the jump)
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Tea Party movement, and on Sunday, CBS and NBC did their best to squash its momentum, with CBS’s Face the Nation snubbing the event altogether.
Meet the Press moderator David Gregory hyped how on its anniversary Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had “a message for his party, basically you know be careful how you’re conducting yourself.”
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:
The limited government, anti-bailout Tea Party movement party turned five years old on Feb. 27. They marked the occasion with an event in Washington, D.C. including speakers Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Sen. Rand Paul, R- Ky., and Sen.Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
But after the five years of the media painting tea partiers as “wingnuts” and “racist” time and again, ABC, CBS and NBC went virtually silent on the matter that day.