- The Washington Times - Friday, April 17, 2009

Tea party bias

Media watchdogs on both sides of the political aisle have complaints about the way April 15 taxpayer tea party protests were covered in the news. The Washington Times asked those keeping tabs, from the right and the left, who they thought the worst offenders were.

Ken Shepherd of Newsbusters.org, housed in the conservative-leaning Media Research Center, said that CNN’s Susan Roesgen’s “confrontation” with a tea party protester topped their list of tea party media bias. In her segment, Ms. Roesgen approached a man holding a toddler and asked him why he was attending.

“Because I hear a president say that he believed in what Lincoln stood for,” the man said. “Lincoln’s primary thing was he believed people had the right to liberty and they had the right … ”

That’s where Ms. Roesgen cut him off, demanding in rapid fire, “Sir, what does that have to do with taxes? What does this have to do with your taxes? Do you realize you are eligible for a $400 tax cut? … Do you know the state of Lincoln gets $50 billion from out of the stimulus?”

She ended by saying, “You get the general tenor of this. It’s anti-government, anti-CNN since this is highly promoted by the right-wing conservative network, Fox. And since I can’t really hear much more and I think this is not really family viewing.”

“She’s supposed to be there to report and she’s throwing out talking points,” Mr. Shepherd said. “She’s not being devil’s advocate, she’s being an Obama advocate.”

Members of the left-leaning Media Matters, who prefer the term “misinformation” to “media bias,” pointed their fingers at the Fox News Channel for urging viewers to attend a protest.

Host Glenn Beck said during one of his broadcasts, “If you can’t make the one in San Antonio, please go to the one with Neil [Cavuto] or with Sean [Hannity] in Atlanta. That’s supposed to be great. Greta [Van Susteren] is in Washington, D.C. Just get out and let your face be seen and connect with other people. We want to be with you and your tea party. If you have a tea party anywhere that - we’re not covering one of those, e-mail me at ‘Glenn Beck at Fox News dot com.’ We may cover your tea party live on April 15.”

Media Matters Communications Director Erikka Knuti concluded “the network is presenting sheer political activism as journalism.”

Lady McCains

Meghan McCain, daughter of the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential nominee, will be soon speaking in favor of gay rights in Washington, D.C. Miss McCain and her mother Cindy are slated to hold a reception in the home of former Rep. Jim Kolbe, Arizona Republican, during the Log Cabin Republicans convention this weekend.

After reviewing her daughter’s speech, Mrs. McCain wrote on her Twitter account, “I have just seen her speech for Log Cabin. GREAT!!”

Steve Schmidt, former senior adviser to the McCain presidential campaign, also will be speaking at the convention.

Cuffed

Filmmaker John Ziegler was handcuffed for attempting to distribute copies of his film criticizing Katie Couric’s treatment of the Republican Party’s 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin near an event where Ms. Couric was being honored.

Mr. Ziegler planted himself outside the Annenberg School for Communication to pass out “Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Sarah Palin was Targeted” where Ms. Couric was accepting the Walter Cronkite Journalism Award. The anchor was specifically being honored for her “extraordinary, persistent and detailed multi-part interviews” with Mrs. Palin.

Mr. Ziegler said he wanted to show those attending “what a load of crap this award is” and had arranged for some friends to film him conducting interviews at the event. He said he was initially told he was under arrest, but in the end was only handcuffed and escorted off the premise.

“They clearly knew I was coming and they were clearly ready for me. I think they overreacted because they were on such a hair trigger,” Mr. Ziegler said. He uploaded the video for public viewing at his site www.howobamagotelected.com after he was released.

Quoted

“This initiative is funded by the high end - we call it Astroturf, it’s not really a grassroots movement. It’s Astroturf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class.”

- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to KTVU News, a San Francisco Fox News affiliate.

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at 202/636-4883 or acarpenter@washingtontimes.com

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