Tea Time All The Time

Friday, April 17, 2009


Fox News’ relentless promotion, some might say co-sponsorship, of this week’s tax day tea parties made us wonder: did Fox News cover the events or help to create them? Brooke takes a look at the coverage.

Comments [40]

Virginia Gentleman from Richmond, Virginia

I posted this comment immediately after the show. Instead of running it and having comments added to it, NPR decided to run this blog after the transcript. Here's my original post, along with this question: if you're a member of NPR, why are you paying for this drivel?

"I listened to the segment to see if Ms. Gladstone and her colleague would actually conduct a balanced critique of the main stream media's salacious commentary in addition to looking critically at the organizations that helped promote the TEA Parties. Not surprisingly, she glanced over the vile jokes and her male colleague went after Mr. Brandon quite hard. So, congratulations OTM / NPR, your liberal credentials remain squeaky clean...and I remain a periodic listener who will not pay for this kind of drivel that you're pawning off as "critique.""

Apr. 26 2009 08:18 PM
J.P. from new york, NY

I was disappointed by this piece. OTM pulled its punches on Fox's promotion of the event. Sending Hannity, Cavuto, et al out to the far corners of the country wasn't for ink-stained wretches to take the pulse of angry Americans, but for blow-dried celebrities to turn out their dittoheads, turning small crowds into not-so-small crowds and events custom-tailored for Fox News.

Apr. 24 2009 02:32 PM
David from Rhode Island

Is it really so shocking that not everyone has bought into the notion that taxes, and especially high taxes (I certainly think that getting towards or exceeding 50% of your pay when you add them all up is high) are a fundamental right of the government. The income tax wasn't even allowed until the early 1900's. Like everything in government, it is out of control, and it has totally distorted the fundamentals that defined this country. Was it perfect before? Of course not, but runaway spending (and they are all to blame, forget party labels here. I haven't mentioned party at all because when it comes to this issue, they all suck), entitlement programs, and overly complicated laws and regulations are taking us down. What good is the liberal dream if there is no country left to implement it?

Apr. 23 2009 04:48 PM
David from Rhode Island

OTM's disdain for Fox News is clearly something they don't try to hide, so there is no sense in chiding them for unfairness on that point. It is childish and silly, but at least they are open about it. At least I think they don't try to claim they are neutral on the subject, not like Bob tries to claim he is not a liberal.

The real problem with this story is that everyone claiming Fox was behind it or complicit with it in some nefarious way that made it not "real" had not one shred of evidence, unless you count Cavuto joking with someone evidence. They then proceed, after asking the question and having nothing but innuendo, to assume it is a fact and therefore it excuses the other major television media in either not covering it or making like it is a joke. Since I would have to assume they looked hard for evidence, since clearly nothing would have made them happier, and found none, the overriding presumption should be that these demonstrations were quite real and therefore were news that the biased networks failed to cover properly. That was the real story, for a show called On The Media, but that doesn't fit OTM's agenda at all. Easier to just dismiss conservative America and call the whole thing synthetic.

Apr. 23 2009 04:47 PM
ed from SWMichigan

I know many people that were a part of the protest. I was asked to join. In no way was I told that FOX News was the organizer/promoter of this event. In fact I heard of it first from so many other sources that it seems to have been a small effort on the part of a few concerned citizens. What it became is a whole different matter.

The same people that contacted me ARE NOT racist. They do not agree with most of the Dems. on issues in their platform. So, I guess since our current president is of that party, they are not going to agree or necessarily like him. One thing I will say, they have not carried themselves in the same manner as many Dems. that I know did and still do about former president G.W. Bush. The Dems. that I know spew hate and foul language whenever they reference the last 8 years. Further they have NOTHING nice to say about most Republicans.

Many people that I work with and go to union meetings with are concerned about the deficit. In fairness, many have been for the last few years. Some of my co-workers have expressed their concern because of how much we are spending in the Middle East, others take issue with how much money we are spending on illegal aliens. The fact remains that people on many sides of the political front are concerned with the amount of money we are throwing at "lost causes" around the world and nation. They are concerned that we have already spent our children's future and their social security.

Apr. 23 2009 01:30 PM
Lou Lou Lou

**Lou, etc., lies are lies, truths are truths;**

No there not. There are many shades of gray...depending on your perspective.

Unless you are Al Franken, where everything you disagree with is considered a lie.

**Journalists have opinions, that doesn't discount them as journalists, if they based them on fact!**

When they can't tell the difference, yes, it does.

**I have no problem with actors with opinions, though I wasn't fond of the one we elected President. **

What a surprise....

Apr. 22 2009 10:28 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I'm certainly not going to give you facts, merely deductive reasoning.

The rise in the popuarity of a tax protest sprang into the minds of most teabaggers, I believe, when Obama held his economic summit and, at the press conference after, the woman talking about entitlement spending mentioned that those on the lowest end of the pay-out structure would need to receive increased payments, of course, and to that there was general agreement by all the participants, she reported.

Apr. 22 2009 07:59 PM
Laurel from Sterling Heights, MI

Right Jackie - the last part of your comment was exactly what I was getting at. Sorry, I missed Brooke's use of the term "boring".

Apr. 22 2009 03:43 PM
Jackie Rose from Chicago, IL

Laurel, I should have put the word boring in quotes. That was a direct quote from Brooke in the opening of the Tea Party piece. She referred to Fox News as boring.

And I'm glad you commented on Janeane Garofalo and her spewing toxin on MSNBC. I'm very happy to know that Ms. Garofalo has scientific evidence to prove that the brains of Conservatives/Republicans/or "any white power person in general" are not normal; I think she said that it's a neurological problem. It was laugh-out-loud funny to hear a crunchy, unbathed hippie lecturing the GOP on intolerance. To be told by someone like her that all of the Republican party is a lifestyle of hatred. I'm quite certain that she is intimately familar with the concept of hate as she THRIVES on controversy and conspiracy of the right-wing nature. She is the leftist Ann Coulter. Neither are particularly attractive to me (not looks-wise, but content-wise). If you're going to be a trash mouth, at least back up your nutso claims with facts. The tea parties were racist? Give me the facts.

As for Dennis Miller or any actor/comedian/singer/pretty face that is on Hannity's "Great American Panel", I take their opinions with a grain of salt. He once had Victoria Jackson on there, as if she brings intelligence to the deabte. I consider them the everyday person on the program, one who isn't well studied in the area of interest, but one who has some related knowledge of the world around them. I also happen to think that Dennis Miller is funny and challenges O'Reilly (and that can never be a bad thing) while O'Reilly challenges back. Did you see Olbermann challenging Garofalo's medical and social theories, asking her where she got her data? Nope. His quote: "Teabagging has now petered out. T'aint what it used to be." Now that is something to be highly proud of.

Apr. 22 2009 10:38 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I have no problem with actors with opinions, though I wasn't fond of the one we elected President.

Lou, etc., lies are lies, truths are truths; that's not debatable. Interpretations of religious texts are. Knowledge isn't a plus? Journalists have opinions, that doesn't discount them as journalists, if they based them on fact! And, I, at least find that refreshing and entertaining.

Bloviate? I thought we were talking about comparative moral equivalency here. Was that last week?

Apr. 22 2009 09:59 AM
Steve Sc from Phoenix AZ

This is humorous! I listen in a couple times a month to see what the left is thinking and OTM rarely disappoints.

Fox is Republican organ and yet OTM can never see ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NTY, NPR, LAT and the like as organs for the Democrats....

Apr. 22 2009 09:52 AM
Laurel from Sterling Heights, MI

Just to refer Jackie Rose's attention to the Jeneane Garofolo comment, which was made on MSNBC - I think that's pretty incendiary and not boring at all. (I don't disagree with the primary points of your argument, just the "boring" part.) It sort of makes the point in itself the piece was more than a wee bit one sided. I've also seen other blogs/comments where people dispute the fact that JG is a commentator and not just an opinionated actor. Ironically (or hypocritically enough) when you turn the table and ask about Dennis Miller, somehow he transcends the actor/comedian label. Again, just sayin...

Apr. 22 2009 12:42 AM
Lou Lou Lou from Boston

**Another difference, he isn't frequently exposed as a liar. **

Depends on who you ask. One man's truth is another man's lies.

**Plus, he doesn't have the unique experience of having served in an administration, such as Patrick Buchanan, George Stephanapolous or Zbignew Breshinsky, or Moyers**

This isn't necessarily a plus. This makes him more of a partisan than a journalist. At least Rush is up front about his political leanings. Stephanopolous and Moyers pretend to be journalists.

**well versed even in the Bible**

Oh reeeeally?

** with which to actually inform their audience, as opposed to merely entertaining them.**

Oh puh-leese. Inform? How about spin? How about proclaiming their view as truth?? Maybe they should try being entertaining. Thats why Moyers could never survive in commerical media. Thats' why Stephanopolous' show is the lowest rated. He did a fine job of taking it into the tank after ABC gave it to him.

Apr. 21 2009 11:18 PM
Jackie Rose from Chicago, IL

I was never so disappointed in an On the Media report as I was with this weekend's. I expected this type of analysis of the tea parties from MSNBC and CNN, but from NPR? I thought you were the "smart people's" news? What gives, Brooke?

Our Congress has been lining their own pockets instead of defending our interests for decades. DECADES. We've had enough, and it was this crisis that did it. Republican, Democratic, Independent, they all have to go. How on Earth is that a right-wing conspiracy or an attack on Obama? How is demanding that our Congress act responsibly with our money a right-wing conspiracy? Gosh, if it is a right-wing thing, then I'm going all Republican.

From my arm chair, these tea parties should have been one of the most uniting, bipartisan uprises in our history, or at least in a very long time. This isn't about the last 8 years or the last 3 months. This is about decades of derailing our political system for personal gain. How is that not so very clear to everyone else????

As a social moderate and a fiscal conservative, so I watch all different kinds of news that challenge my views. I applaud Fox News for actually reporting on it in a fair way. Resorting to the crude and disgusting tea bag jokes was sophomoric and just plain bias.

Can we expect a thorough report on "boring" MSNBC's and CNN's coverage? I didn't think so.

Apr. 21 2009 05:02 PM
derek monroe

I think that Mr Rowe's beef is whether journalist should have a moral and objective blind spot on when doing his/her job. I think not. Many editorials, however subjective, are written by journalists who base their opinion on their professional and personal experience with a doze of their beliefs thrown in. I think Rush Limbaugh, world's most listened to high school graduate is an entertainer who first and foremost cares about making a lot of money. He would argue that this is the most American enterprise of all and everything else is just socialism and govt. intervention. . Well, when Republicans were in power where was he screaming about deficit and big govt, when personal bancruptcy laws were revised ahead of financial default tsunami, where was he? when the call to war was given, where was he? As some true conservatives are still out there they just shut up and opportunistically made all the money they could from the rigged deal that now imploded. (To be fair the democrats also got on the game without any hesitation). Therefore I find the currently found moral ground and grand standing of the right, conservatives, republicans (you take your pick), hypocritical, dishonest and absolutely without credibility.

As to Mr Gray's earlier comment I would take out Zbigniew Brzezinski as non-biased pundit that bring his experience into the game. If there is a point person blamed for root cause of 9/11, here is the one. He can be thanked for resurgence of Islamo-Fascism employed in the service of the west during Russian invasion of Afghanistan (not some stupid Charlie Wilson as Hollywood would like you to believe.) The ardent and rabid anti-communist , Brzezinski took the idea of bamboozling Muslims into their own Jihad for sake of religion in order to stick to the Soviets originally from Israelis. Who do you think came out with Hamas strategy to divert power from the PLO in 1967 (including weapons and money)? How it all turned out, we all know.

Apr. 21 2009 04:01 PM
Rich Perez from NY

These "folks" had every right to their tea parties...but it looked a little synthetic to me. I also take issue with the implicit morphing of the original argument of "no taxation without representation" to a current polemic against Obama fiscal policy. Didn't we learn that Saddam was not Bin Laden?

Apr. 21 2009 02:34 PM
Jack from Chicago

In any case, it's good to see that bloviating is not just Bob's territory.

Apr. 20 2009 11:15 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Another difference, he isn't frequently exposed as a liar. Plus, he doesn't have the unique experience of having served in an administration, such as Patrick Buchanan, George Stephanapolous or Zbignew Breshinsky, or Moyers, well versed even in the Bible, with which to actually inform their audience, as opposed to merely entertaining them. Yes, they attend, host, and even plan events that please their particular tastes. That is another right that we have, the right of free association, unless your on, like, parole.

Did he have to serve parole? I can’t remember.

Apr. 20 2009 05:36 PM
David Rowe from Lawrenceville, NJ

To Mr. Munroe-
I never said that I "believe" in compassionate conservatism. As for what I believe - I think both liberals and conservatives can be compassionate - but usually about different issues.

My point was that someone from PBS - Moyers - was able/capable of blowing-hard not just at a rally, but he was their *speaker* - their Rush Limbaugh rallying the troops. What makes them distinct is that Mr Limbaugh doesn't call himself a journalist, as Mr Moyers does.

Apr. 20 2009 04:40 PM
derek monroe from chicago,il

The reference of Mr Rowe posting: "compassionate conservatism" is one of the biggest oxymorons of modern era. I find it really hilarious as even conservatives don't believe that ,except perhaps Mr Rowe. I guess one just needs to get out of the US (S.America, Guam anyone) to see the conservative compassion at work.

Apr. 20 2009 04:24 PM
Marc from Boston

I don't like Beck, Limbaugh or Hannity. I think they're demagogues, cheap shot artists and usually wrong. But I"ll give them one thing - they're honest about their bias.

There's a lot I like about OTM and so I listen. But do Bob and Brook every feel even the slightest twinge when they spin things for their team. Or is it justified because their cause is a good one.

Apr. 20 2009 02:25 PM
Laurel from Sterling Heights, MI

FYI, in case you missed it, here's the Garofalo comment (made on the Keith Olbermann program.) Garofalo actually called Tea Party protestors, "a bunch of teabagging rednecks... this is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up."

Apr. 20 2009 12:59 PM
David Rowe from Lawrenceville, NJ

Was it unwise for Fox to hawk these rallies and messrs Beck and Caputo to attend. Absolutely. But they would seem in good company to me. It would seem equally unwise that Bill Moyers didn't just attend as a commentator, or cover as a journalist (as he calls himself), but gave a speech to campaigners at the Take Back America conference a few years ago sponsored by the Campaign for America's Future, made up of democratic labor, civil rights, peace and economic justice campaigners, where he condemned the compassionate conservative spin that tries to make "the rape of America sound like a consensual date," and the "rightwing wrecking crews" assembled by the Bush Administration. I don't find that any less foolish or unwise. And of course we remember Dan Rather spoke at a Texas Democrat fundraiser sponsored by his daughter back in 2001.

What I would have liked to have seen is some good reporting on the party affiliation of the attendees, and whether this was peaceful. What I saw was shilling on the part of Fox, and some pretty heinous mockery on the part of MSNBC.

The state of journalism is pretty bad all the way around.

Apr. 20 2009 10:04 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Have to say, I like what Mr. Slaton and Laurel have to say, without being even vaguely a tea bagger, though I don't find it unfortunate that Bob gets paid even if I don't always agree with him, either.

Apr. 20 2009 12:11 AM
Jack Slaton from Texas

second correction - I meant Bob Garfield, in the interest of accuracy.

Apr. 19 2009 11:27 PM
Laurel from Sterling Heights, MI

Sorry, OTM, I usually love your show, but this piece was EXTREMELY one-sided. I think it's time all of the media and the politicians step away from the coasts and the beltway to see what the rest of America really looks like and how we feel. The events here in Michigan were pretty widely attended. An educated professional friend of mine who happens to also be gay e-mailed me a video clip from the Northeastern Metro Detroit event- the event was attended by people of all colors, ages, and apparent walks of life. My friend (who has NEVER voted Republican) told me if you would have told them two years ago they'd be protesting an African-American Democratic president, they'd have asked you for some of whatever you were on. And to be absolutely clear so as not to be called a racist, not the black president part, but the fact they would be protesting ANY Dem pres. Instead of trying to blame Fox for this, maybe you should actually step into the American Heartland and actually talk to real-life Middle-America instead of discussing the coverage with the liberal elite. Furthermore, I note that you did not cover at anywhere near the same level the off-the-wall comments on a MAIN STREAM BROADCAST media channel made Jeneane Garafolo when she basically called everyone who attended the tea parties mindless racists. Apparently in this "post racial" area if we protest what our government is doing, or voice or discontent, we're racists. I suppose if Hillary Clinton had been elected, we'd be sexist.

Apr. 19 2009 11:15 PM
Jack Slaton from Texas

Please correct my comments referring to Brooke - I really meant Adam. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Apr. 19 2009 08:19 PM
Jack Slaton from Texas

Brooke shows a "better than thou" attitude about the objectivity of NPR vs. the folks at Fox News. It just isn't so. Not long ago NPR ran a story on illegal immigrants sent back to Mexico and how tragic the circumstances were. At the end of the story the reader mentioned a mass swearing in of 11,000 new citizens at DisneyWorld in Florida with recording artists performing and then played very discordant music immediately following that part of the story. All of us need to understand that we have media on all sides and supposedly down the middle that bring their biases to the stories and sometimes the bias leaks from the story. I would encourage people to do what I do - read stories from all the providers you can find. If you listen to Fox, add some ABC and CNN. If you think NPR is objective you will soon discover every one of them is biased and you have to make up your own mind about the truth of what you read and hear. I applaud the Tea Party protesters because they are Americans exercising their freedom of speech, just as NPR's Brooke is doing. Unfortunately, he's getting paid to report, biased or not on any given day.

Apr. 19 2009 08:13 PM
derek monroe from chicago,il

People can and should protest whatever they find objectionable. However, when it comes to Tea Party protest, stupidity and ignorance truly reaches its apogeum. In 1773 British East India Company complained that American smugglers are undercutting its own tea imports therefore after careful deliberation the king gave the company a tax exemption for the British American operations. So the American patriots were throwing a tax-free tea overboard they felt unfairly competed with their efforts. So as it is now, all tea protesters are using a symbol of TAX CUT as they rallying point. Monthy Python could not come up with a better one!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apr. 19 2009 02:24 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

We New Englanders have a reputation for self-reliance, too, even if we've all but eliminated the Republican Party hereabouts. I recall cutting tree trunks blocking roadways with the Red Cross back after Hurricane Gloria, but I get plumb crazy when our President does a fly-over of a hurricane and, then, fails to help the people suffering below.

Meanwhile, I don't doubt the teabaggers ability to self organize. I just wish we on the other side could count on the so-called Main Stream (Liberal) Media, including here even NPR, to do as good a PR job for us as you seem to think they do. I sure never got paid to demonstrate, other than when I worked for that community organizing project. The membership, in fact, paid to demonstrate with Michelle & Barack.

Apr. 18 2009 09:24 PM
Replikov from North Dakota

In response to JP. You say that "tea baggers" would be complaining if they had to suffer floods, etc. Did you notice the difference in flooding in LA and IA? There wasn't rioting and looting in Iowa. The "teabag" types help each other out in crisis. They don't rely and whine about government funding. Yes the media will ignore this and the "tea party" like they tried to ignore Ron Paul. Like they ignore how ignorant Obama is. Fox news pretends to be "conservative" but they ignore what is convenient. This company is going bankrupt and we are heading towards socialism. Thank goodness for the internet so that people don't have to rely on "Hollywood" and the "media" to get the truth. I only get my music from NPR and do not take their news seriously.

Apr. 18 2009 07:29 PM

The tea parties started with the Ron Paul movement (mostly liberals and libritarians), Faux News co-opted the movement, marginalized the agenda by bringing in the ignorant, Obama derangment syndrome (people who still think HE'S A MUSLIM!!!) types and turned it all into a partisan 'left/right', 'Democrat/Republican' issue. Predictibly, everyone fell for it (the left, the right, the media) including you guys at OTM.

Instead of actually doing your homework and researching the origins of these tea parties, you guys decided to take the easy way out and play into the cliched, dumbed down, left/right, democrat v republican paradigm, that the rest of the media and the public so easily falls for.

Apr. 18 2009 06:46 PM
deborah zemke from Knierim, iowa

I always knew that NPR wanted to project a "green image" but I didn't realize that it was "green with envy of Fox News". You criticized their coverage of the "tea parties" but apparently had no objections to less than professional coverage by other media.

You also left your listeners with the impression that these parties could not be grass root demonstrations... as if everyday Americans weren't up to this. Shame on you for taking such a high and mighty attitude.

Apr. 18 2009 03:19 PM
deborah zemke from Knierim, iowa

I always knew you wanted to be known as the "green media" but I didn't realize it meant "green with envy of Fox News". You criticize Fox for its coverage of the "tea parties" and yet seem to find CNN's unprofessional coverage and NBC's coverage calling the parties "racially motivated" acceptable.

You also must accept Nancy Pelosi's comments on "astro turf sponsored" tea parties just fine, as well.

Perhaps all this is just another indication that NPR thinks it is more intelligent and a notch or two above the "average American"...after all, you left your listeners with the notion that you found it unbelievable that Americans could self organize these demonstrations! No where in the world are people more able to self organize into such thoughtful and peaceful demonstrations than in the good old USA.

NPR...balanced reporting?? Non-political?? Hardly.

Apr. 18 2009 03:03 PM

... and this nonsense that Republicans are concerned about debt and deficits under Obama is totally ludicrous!

Not only did they not care about historic highs of both under Bush, but the whole tax issue is a standard Republican talking point no matter what the cicumstances.

It's time these morons made the connection between tax revenues and quality of life for everyone... includung themselves.

They need to stop listening to right-wing talk radio idiots who are using calculated hate speech to get rich at their expense, and start figuring out intelligently what is REALLY in their best interest. STOP VOTING AGAINST YOUR OWN INTERESTS!

If they want to protest something valid, then protest how revenues are used and how to eliminate waste... not how to rob public coffers of legitimate revenue that can be used for the good of all.

And remember, some waste is inevitable, no matter what. I work for a very successful and environmentally conscious company, yet I see a fair amount of waste daily at my workplace. I'd wager there's not a corporation or organization anywhere that can honestly claim they don't waste resources... it's simply a natural byproduct of combiming human nature with doing business. We're all a long way from being so "holier than thou."

Apr. 18 2009 10:38 AM

The few “tea-baggers” that turned out don’t have a clue.

If the country really went the direction they claim to want, they would all be crying for mommy and peeing their pants, wondering where the government is in their times of need and bellowing for their government to come to their aid.

Clueless hypocrites.

For instance,
let the "tea-baggers" suffer a flood, hurricane, earthquake, or rampant fire; let them lose all of their savings in a bank collapse; let their neighborhoods riot during a massive power blackout; let their entire community suffer during a particular industry’s sector collapse; let them go bankrupt due to their child’s illness; let them get taken by a developer who scammed them when building their new home; let their loved one die due to tainted food or a faulty product…

Let any of these things happen to them and watch them clamor hysterically, “where is my government and why isn’t it helping me? Where is my government when I need it?”

Oh, sorry... we don’t provide services any more… remember? No taxes!

Apr. 18 2009 10:23 AM
Jack from Chicago

Obama is tripling the budget deficit in one year and the national debt in three according to the CBO. 50% of Americans don't pay income tax (and could care less what high-speed rails to nowhere Obama builds.) The tea parties are designed to get the other 50% to recognize that this is, at a minimum, unsustainable but moreover, it's unAmerican.

Apr. 17 2009 10:46 PM
Mike H from Joliet Il

I find it sort of amazing that when groups like ANSWER, a Mos Eisley cantina of America-hating nut cases, take to the streets it's a full-flowering of democracy in action. When ACORN pays their ragamuffins to protest, or when Rainbow/PUSH shakes down businesses through racial extortion, it's the sort of direct democratic action Thomas Paine dreamed of. And when labor unions pay people to protest, it's populist. But when a bunch of independent Americans, talk-show hosts, and email campaigners organize hundreds of protests around the country, it's astroturfing. - Jonah Goldberg

NPR is being about as transparent as a brick wall on this one.

Apr. 17 2009 08:50 PM
Theodore Gerald from Chicago Il

The media was "leery" of covering protests when Bush was president?


Yeah .... right.

Apr. 17 2009 08:32 PM
Karin from San Diego

Let me say I would glady defend all the way the April 15 protestors' right to speak their minds anytime, anywhere.
Too bad more than a few of these people, however, wouldn't give the anti-war protestors the same respect.

Apr. 17 2009 07:21 PM

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