Keith Olbermann, hosting his “Countdown” show on MSNBC on April 14, smeared the nation-wide movement Tea Parties by comparing it with a sexual act usually associated with homosexual culture. MSNBC generally and Olbermann in particular have been criticized for a continuing descent into becoming a biased propaganda arm for the radical far left.
Readers should be warned that it is impossible to report Keith Olbermann’s grossly offensive reporting without discussing his offensive content. On April 15, Rush Limbaugh broadcast a similar discussion of the same smear made on-air by CNN’S Anderson Coooper without giving such a warning (which he normally gives), and Rush read from an urban dictionary to make his point.
Invoking the historical example of the “Boston Tea Party” which helped spark the American Revolution, a tsunami of spontaneous grassroots protest has swept across the nation. Americans of many different political views are protesting against government’s over-spending, bailouts, and refusal to listen to the people on such issues as illegal immigration.
The first modern “Boston Tea Party” was a spontaneous event in Seattle, Washington, on February 16, 2009. Then on February 19, financial reporter Rick Santelli gave his famous “rant heard round the world” on CNBC in which Santelli suggested holding a Chicago Tea Party in July and throwing tea into Lake Michigan. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEZB4taSEoA] To some extent, the enormous public opposition to the massive bank and corporate bailouts starting last Fall has evolved into the tea party movement.
Public sentiment against both George Bush’s and Barack Obama’s bailouts of mind-numbing size, using borrowed money, have swamped the Congressional switchboard at several points since last Fall. One of the most poignant scenes of the tea parties is a very young girl holding up a sign “Sorry, Daddy, I don’t have a trillion dollars to loan you.”
The idea of holding tea parties on tax day, April 15, emerged as too obvious to ignore. Following this example, hundreds of conservative organizations and tens of thousands of individuals seized on this very obvious opportunity to protest. With the internet and talk radio making the organization inexpensive and easy, hundreds of rallies were scheduled. Some of the tea parties are so spontaneous that conflicting rallies have been scheduled at the same time without coordination. Tea parties in Fairfax, Virginia, were scheduled for both the Merrifield Post Office and a nearby Reston shopping mall in conflict with each other.
However, Keith Olbermann used every opportunity – on national cable television – to compare the tea parties to a sexual act most Americans would consider perversion. “Teabagging” is street jargon that is impossible to explain on these pages with the remotest level of decency. The term originated within the homosexual community.
In fact, no one in the tea party movement has ever used the terms “teabagging” or “teabaggers.” Indeed, most of the modern tea parties have not involved any actual tea at all, and have not focused on either tea or tea bags. (The tea in the Boston Tea Party in 1773 was in crates.) The one defect of the modern tea parties is their distinct lack of any tea. (The EPA might object if tea were thrown into lakes or rivers these days.) Therefore, not only has the term never been used by the tea parties, but tea bags play little or no role in these re-enactment of a pivotal event in American history.
Olbermann admitted that his many double entrendres were intentional. Olbermann laughed “That’s the only thing that wasn’t intentional in the last five minutes,” after his British guest expressed discomfort at being an Englishmen asked about tea parties. Later, Olbermman then again explicitly mentioned double entrendres about tea parties, such as “Dick Armey teabagging the nation" and asked if Howard Stern had invented the protests.
His segment was aired over the titles: “GOP bones up on teabagging" and “Teabaggers’ seminal moment." Olbermann claimed that Republican talking heads like Newt Gingrich have pushed their own version of teabagging “down the throats of the original teabaggers.” He claimed that “Cincinnati teabaggers were down in the mouth about taxes.” He predicted that the teabagger movement would blow up in Fox’s face. According to Rush Limbaugh, CNN’s Cooper Anderson made a similar comment that “It is hard to speak while you’re teabagging.”
Olbermann managed to get almost every fact wrong in his report, showing incompetence as a journalist. Olbermann claimed that the tea parties were started by libertarian supporters of Ron Paul. In fact, the initial promoters of tea parties, following Rick Santelli’s on-air rant, were Citizens Against Government Waste, Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, American Solutions, and Americans for Prosperity.
The “Countdown” report falsely portrayed the movement as manufactured by corporate interests and the Republican National Committee. Most of Olbermann’s interview with British MSNBC analyst Richard Wolffe focused on fantasizing about what might happen if the tea parties were a flop because people don’t show up.
He falsely portrayed the tea party movement as involving Republican officials such as John Boehner and Dick Armey. In fact, some tea parties have banned elected officials from participating. While it is true that many elected officials and political leader have tried to “run out in front of the parade” and become part of the action, a hallmark of the tea party movement has been disgust with every level of government regardless of party. Complaints include the fact that both Republicans and Democrats have been guilty of both massive over-spending borrowing money from our children and ignoring the voice of the people. Some are even discussing the creation of an independent political party based on the tea party rallies. Much will depend now on what happens on July 4, Independence Day, and whether the protest movement can again marshall a strong voice on July 4th.