Film at 11.
Last night our rapidly mildewing local PBS affiliate -- WTTW Channel 11 -- plummeted to genuinely new lows when it basically turned over 12 minutes of prime airtime to three generations of cranky, white male teabaggers.
Sure, those of us who are occasional watchers of “Chicago Tonight” -- the nightly local PBS news offering -– have noticed that, for the last several years, the starch in his suits and the lacquer in his hair have been all that's kept Chicago Tonight's Host Phil Ponce from collapsing into a puddle of chipper, obsequious goo, but as with the piece that directly preceded last night’s embarrassment (CTA Management debating Labor over who is going to take it in the shorts first), WTTW still seems to have enough recessive journalism DNA knocking around the place to usually put both sides of controversial subjects at the table -- side-by-side -- with the on-air talent acting as interlocutor.
But instead, last night Ponce basically fluffed the four white, male teabaggers as if they were some local-band-made-good; as if they were “REO Speedwagon”, and did they think they were a one-hit-wonder, or did they have some staying power?
Including Ponce, the Dramatis Personae were as follows:
Steve Stevlic: Tea party coordinator.
John O’Hara, described merely as the author of “A New American Tea Party.”
And Ed Lasky and Steven Baehr whom we are told are the co-founders and the “News Editor” and the “Political Correspondent”, respectively, for “the Conservative website ‘American Thinker’” which draws “150,000 views per day”. They are described by Ponce as “covering” the tea party movement, and were apparently just invited on to the teevee to share their keen, reportorial insights.
That’s it. Three generations of cranky men running the melanin spectrum from "Ed Begley Junior White" to "Eyeball-Smiting Flashbulb White".
And once the introductions were over, the bullshit began to rain so hard and fast that you’d have thought Belphegor’s own celestial outhouse
According to Mr. O’Hara, the tea baggers are a “…broad, grass-roots uprising with folks that are concerned with the radical…” something something…
According to Mr. Stevlic (the chyron just below his chinny-chin-chin reading “Fast-Growing Groups Gains Influence”) the tea party movement is “a group of people that have never been active in politics before, and they’re just tired of yelling at the teevee…”
Host (to Stevlic): Are you one of those people? Not active in politics, yelling at the teevee?
Stevlic dodges the question about his degree of political involvement and instead offers that he had been one of those town hall shouters last summer.
Mr. Lasky and Mr. Baehr were then asked to weigh in on the topic, again explicitly as people who have been “covering” the movement.
Baehr: "[This is a] movement of people who have not been particularly involved in politics, who are quite fearful of..." yadda yadda yadda trillion dollars yadda yadda
To which he then ads the careful rage-caveat that he is only speaking about debts and deficits “Over the period of 2009, 2010 and 2011..."
Baehr: The people you saw at the [Chicago tea party] "were the kind of people you’d see at a Little League game in the suburbs."
Host: Give me an idea of the range of people who are involved in this movement?
Lasky: “Well, I think it spans both parties.” A shocking – shocking! – study of Iowa Tea Baggers shows that 49% of them call themselves “independent”.
Host: Is it true that your awesome fucking movement started right here…in Chicago!?
Phil Ponce then mentions the following, just in passing y'know: "In doing research on this subject – which I admit I hadn’t done until today…
Which is when I stopped listening and starting yelling at my teevee (Hey! Maybe I'm a teabagger too!)
Look, Phil. I’m not a Highly Paid Chicago TeeVee News Host. I don’t have a research department. I don’t have staff.
Not one lone administrative assistant to chase round my desk do I have, nor have I a single intern to get me my fucking latte.
I’m just some poor, civilian goof who can recognize a plague when it's at his door, who is sick of watching paid teevee journalism die of spine-rot, and who does this in his spare time. And yet even I – with about 30 minutes of clicking a fucking mouse on my wheezing, old laptop – was able to find out all sorts of fascinating stuff about your skeevy guests and their mendacious claims that were, for some reason, utterly beyond the collective ability of the mighty WTTW to ferret out.
But first, let us pause for a moment to prefigure the results of my massive research project by coldly gloating over the fact some of us were warning you years ago that these douchbags were on their way. I myself had “2011” in the “George W. Who?” revisionist history pool when I wrote in 2006 ("Christopaths of Glory”) that…
...Missed it by 12 months. Damn. Well, I guess with that kind of batting average I won't be getting that sweet, sweet column in the Washington Post again this year.
In five years, having voted for Bush will have become the parachute pants of this decade.
It will become the “Oh my GOD. What the fuck was I thinking?” shameful secret people will occasionally and elliptically allude to by piping up with, “well, he did good after 9/11” as schoolchildren are taught what a disaster on every front and by every measure he was, and as adults who now have to pay and pay dearly for the myriad lies and crimes and follies of George W. Bush recount his Top 100 Fuckups and bitterly laugh and laugh and laugh.
As to that "Teabaggers are just one, big, multipartisan bunch of angry, politically-independent patriots" claptrap, Ed Kilgore has a whole bucket-full of wingnut buzzkill here:
More immediately, the high percentage of Tea Party activists who call themselves "independents" obscures the fact that most of them are in fact highly partisan Republicans who are close ideologically to the right wing of the GOP. Here's how Blumenthal puts it:Or, as I wrote a little more pungently last November:
Remember the 52 percent of Tea Party activists who [in a recent CNN poll] initially identify as independent? It turns out that virtually all of them lean Republican. According to CNN, 88 percent of the activists identify or lean Republican, 6 percent identify or lean Democratic and only 5 percent fall into the pure independent category.
Remember that CNN pollster Holland reported that 87 percent of the Tea Party activists would vote Republican if there were no Tea Party-endorsed third-party candidate running? That makes perfect sense for a group that is 88 percent Republican.
...based on simple observation, guess who appears to be the largest group of late-blooming independents?And, apparently, Phil Ponce.
Those fucknozzles who, after giving Dubya the longest tongue bath in modern political history while calling everyone else a traitor, started gagging on the sheer tonnage of bullshit their creepy idolatry of George W. Bush was requiring them to swallow and obediently regurgitate every fucking day, that's who.
Most newly minted “independents” seem to be little more than Republicans who are fleeing the scene of their crime, but at the same time still desperately want believe in the inerrant wisdom of Rush Limbaugh. They are completely incapable of facing the horrifying reality that that they have gotten every single major political opinion and decision of their adult lives completely wrong, so instead they double-down on their hatred of women and/or gays and/or brown people and/or Liberals, and blame them for the miserable fuckpit their leaders and their policies have made of their live and futures.
Like German soldiers after the fall of Berlin, they have stopped running away from the catastrophe they created only long enough to burn their uniforms.
But they fool no one.
Except, apparently, David Fucking Brooks.
Of course, what would be both maximally embarrassing for Ponce and go a long way towards making the point that the Tea Flingers are mostly just a bunch of right wing asshats who have "burned their uniforms" would be if, instead of merely being authors and organizers and reporters, the four, angry white men who were sitting around the table shooting the patriotic breeze with Good 'Ol Phil were actually four hard right wing ideologues.
Well, for starters, here's Steve Stevlic and the odious Fox News excreta known as "Mark Levin" swapping happy, wingnut saliva
on Levin's godawful teevee thing.
Steve loves Levin.
So does his wife.
Mark Levin uses variations on "Hitler" a lot to describe various Liberals. Also "Mussolini".
"Enemy of the State" And suchlike.
Mark Levin loves Sarah Palin and her Death Panels.
I don't know a lot of "non-political" types who listen to Mark Levine, and I certainly don't know anyone Left of Joe McCarthy who admires him.
A few of Ed Lasky's views of the Kenyan Usurper are articulated here.
Ed also didn't like John Kerry very much either. (Cached version only)
American Jews face a fateful choice when they cast their Presidential ballots on November 2nd. The world Jewish community - inside and outside of Israel - faces an unprecedented threat from anti-Semitism, which has has spread to points far and wide from its epicenter in the Arab world, and is headed our way. During this perilous time, the anachronistic tendency of American Jews to vote Democratic must end.
This is one tradition that Jews, a people united by their traditions, should put aside. They should refuse to vote for John Kerry for President. Bluntly speaking, his words and actions reveal a man who would imperil our community. Our concerns should not just be about Israel but for the future of the entire Jewish community. It is imperative that Jews understand that the hatred being promoted around the world is directed not just at Israel, but also at Jews as Jews.
But Ed sure luuuuved him some Dubya!
President Bush is widely considered to be the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House. Under his Administration, the ties of cooperation between Israel and America have never been stronger and they serve as a lifeline to the beleaguered Israelis. President Bush has been steadfast in his support despite suffering the slings and arrows of an international community that seems to despise Israel. He has done so because he believes it is the right thing to do, despite the Jewish vote going overwhelmingly to his opponents. He has made it clear to the UN (the so-called Negroponte doctrine) that one-sided Resolutions targeting Israel will be vetoed. He has supported Israel’s construction of a security barrier that has had a dramatic effect in diminishing terror.
Many of his other actions primarily benefit America and the West but also have an extremely beneficial effect on Israel. He has enacted laws (such as the Patriot Act) that have served to cut-off funding for terror acts.
And other than throwing a few hundred bucks at Hillary in the Primary, Ed also has an almost unbroken record of financially backing virtually every wingnut cause (From the Swiftboaters to the National Republican Senatorial Committee) and candidate (Michele Bachmann, Pete Coors, Tom DeLay and John Boehner to name but a few) that comes down the pike.
So if Mr. Lasky doesn't exactly practice a Zen-like non--partisan detachment from politics -- and if his site, "American Thinker", appears to specialize in rigid "pro-Israel" litmus testing, climate change denialism, union bashing and a general loathing of every imaginary Dirty Fucking Hippie bogeyman in the world -- then what of his colleague Richard Baehr?
Sadly for our experiment in Teabagger Sampling, Mr. Baehr also has a penchant for giving all his money to Republicans and his time to goofball wingnut media experiments.
Which leaves us only the perky Mr. John O'Hara, who is adamant that the Tea Flingers Movement is not a tantrum, but a "new, civic awakening."
And who, it turns out, also has some history sticking like wingnut toilet paper to the heel of his shiny, new, non-partisan loafers.
From "Think Progress" (with some emphasis by me):
‘Grassroots’ Chicago tea party organized with the help of the right-wing Heartland Institute.The Heartland Institute, for those of you who are not familiar with it, is, among other things, a proud sponsor of the Annual Big Conservative Fucknozzle Trade Show who believes that anti-tobacco and global warming kooks are destroying America.
This afternoon on MSNBC’s Hardball, host Mike Barnacle had Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Chicago tea party organizer John O’Hara on to discuss the tea party protests. Throughout their discussion, both Pence and O’Hara repeatedly claimed that today’s protests were nothing more than a “grassroots” movement that had finally reached a boiling point. It wasn’t until Barnacle pressed O’Hara on how he got involved with the protests that O’Hara explained that he worked for the right-wing think tank, the Heartland Institute. Still, O’Hara claimed he only worked on the tea party project in his “spare time — on weekends and nights“:BARNACLE: Why are you involved in this?
O’HARA: I work at a free-market think tank, the Heartland Institute here in Chicago. In my spare time, on weekends and nights, leading up to the Feburary 27 tea parties, my good friend J. P. Freire…at the American Spectator invited me and asked me if I could help get some momentum behind a tea party in front of the White House. I did and we had over 300 people show up. … Ever since then you’ve had thousands come out.
So, y'know, not exactly the Old SDS Retirement Home.
Mr. O'Hara has also made several teevee appearances, most notably on Fox News...and of course on Fox News.
The thing is, I don't especially begrudge these Four Heist Men of the Teapocalypse their ludicrous little charade; Hell, if I'd spent the last decade happily sucking the dicks of the people who destroyed my country, I'd guess I'd be dressing up in pantyhose and jaunty little hats and pretending I'd been asleep since the Ford Administration too.
Phil Ponce, on the other hand, is a different story. Letting these clowns use the the public airwaves to put across their underhanded, one-sided scam is unforgivable, and letting himself be used as their sweat rag in the process is beyond embarrassing.
If Royko were alive, he'd be dangling Ponce by his ankle from a fifth story window right about now, making him conjugate the verb "muckrake".
Else how's that boy ever gonna learn!