The Tea Party Candidates Are Religious Extremists Obsessed With Sex, Abortion, Religion -- Why Doesn't the Media Get That?
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
In a late September column for RH Reality Check, Amanda Marcotte asked: "Is the Media's Tea Party Delusion Coming to An End?"
The answer quite obviously is no. Over the past several months, as Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, Joe Miller, Pat Toomey and other mad-hatters have stumped for office, I have listened and read in disbelief as one after another otherwise respected media representative or outlet continues to suggest that the Tea Party is not interested in "social conservative issues."
The corporate media--I don't know whether to describe it as mainstream, midstream or up a creek without a paddle--still persists in mis-reading and misrepresenting the broader context of what is happening in the 2010 elections. (I am not talking about Fox News and other known sources of persistent misinformation). Yes, reporting is done on the extremist positions of individual candidates, but virtually every broader analysis describing the Tea Party "movement," such as it is, continues to ignore or outright deny the extremist positions take by those candidates as representative of said movement.
Two weeks ago, for example, David Greene, a host on NPR's All Things Considered interviewed New York Times reporter Kate Zernike, whose new book about the Tea Party, Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America had just been published.
Greene asks Zernike:
How cohesive is this movement looking down the road? I mean, you sat down with a lot of these groups who feel a connection to the Tea Party all over the country. You found a whole range of agendas, ideology, positions on social issues. How do they stick together?
Yeah, you know, it's a very interesting question. One thing that people often get wrong about the Tea Party is they assume that this is just the old Christian conservatives under a different name. And that these are people who don't want gay marriage and don't believe in abortion rights, and they're not. I mean, a lot of these people are socially conservative themselves, but they don't want to talk about social issues. They think the Republican Party went wrong in spending so much time in talking about this - if you remember the debate about Terri Schiavo, the woman in Florida, and whether we should keep her alive.
Then, again last night, Congress.org published an article by Ambreen Ali entitled "Tea Party May Tackle Abortion Issues."
This articles states, presumably with a straight face:
So far, though many of the movement's rank and file and a number of its top leaders are women, the tea partyers have stuck to the fiscal issues that brought them together.
They don't want to talk about "social" issues? May tackle abortion? Top leaders have stuck to fiscal issues?
Have Zernike and the reporters at Congress.org "drunk the tea" so to speak?
Are we talking about such "leaders" as Sharron Angle, Tea Party Queen of Nevada? The one who stated that "rape" is part of "God's Plan," and who consistently stated throughout the summer that she would vote to outlaw a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy even in cases of rape and incest? Angle who would helpfully counsel a 13-year-old raped and pregnant by her own father that "two wrongs don't make a right?" The Sharron Angle who completely opposes gay rights? The Sharron Angle who answered this questionnaire?
Are we talking about Delaware Senate Tea Party Candidate Christine O'Donnell? The O'Donnell who believes in a " fundamentalist version of sexual purity that emphasizes thoughts and feelings as well as deeds," who is against masturbation (how do we enforce that ban?), advocates an absolute ban on abortion, and gave an interview to CBS on the subjects of "Virgins, Abortion, and God?" Perhaps these reporters didn't read Michelle Goldberg's interview with O'Donnell's former aide, whom she dropped like a hot potato when he came out as being gay.