On Saturday's Fox News Watch, liberal FNC analyst Alan Colmes asserted that the Tea Party was a "bunch of angry white guys who went around and put up racist signs." As a debate ensued pitting Colmes against the other three panel members, he later defiantly asked, "How many blacks did they elect?" leading Jim Pinkerton of the New America Foundation to fire back: "The Tea Partiers elected two - Allen West and Tim Scott, Florida and South Carolina."
Host Jon Scott began the segment by assuming that the liberal Colmes would not have any complaints about the mainstream media's coverage of the elections. After Colmes voiced his approval of the media, Scott sarcastically posed: "For instance, the Tea Party. Tea Party always got favorable coverage, right?"
Colmes then unleashed on the Tea Party: "Oh, they got, look, the Tea Party was a bunch of angry white guys who went around and put up racist signs at these events on lawn chairs who had nothing better to do on weekends than sit on lawn chairs with signs suggesting Obama was a Muslim who wasn't born in this country."
Colmes also clashed with the more centrist Judy Miller who argued that there were also many "mama grizzlies" at Tea Party rallies. The liberal analyst dismissively responded: "I'm sure there were a few mama grizzlies there."
Pinkerton also brought up an infamous example - documented at the time by the Media Research Center - of MSNBC using a clip of a black Tea Party activist with a gun, showing him from the waist down only, during a report linking the Tea Party to racist sentiments without showing viewers that he was black. Pinkerton: "The best example was the guy at some Tea Party rally, and they showed a picture - he was carrying a gun - and MSNBC ran the picture of him saying here's a Tea Partier with a gun, and then somebody else found out the picture was actually an African-American guy "
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Saturday, January 1, Fox News Watch:
JON SCOTT: Alan, I'm going to guess that you think the media coverage of the elections was pretty fair.
ALAN COLMES: I think they were pretty fair. I mean, are you going to say they're not? Is that the meme of this show? To knock the media for that?
SCOTT: For instance, the Tea Party. Tea Party always got favorable coverage, right?
COLMES: Oh, they got, look, the Tea Party was a bunch of angry white guys who went around and put up racist signs at these-
JUDY MILLER: Angry white guys?
COLMES: -at these events on lawn chairs who had nothing better to do on weekends than sit on lawn chairs with signs suggesting Obama was a Muslim who wasn't born in this country.
JIM PINKERTON: Give Alan credit for summarizing the mainstream media-
COLMES: Oh, the mainstream media, the evil mainstream media.
PINKERTON: Alan just did it.
CAL THOMAS: We've seen this media blindness before. We saw it in 1979, 1980 when Bill Moyers came on PBS wondering where all these church-going, flag-waving, patriotic people came from. They didn't know because they don't hang out on Sunday mornings or in other places where these conservatives go. We saw the same thing with the Tea Party movement. The media are always shocked, shocked to see these people turn up at the polls and actually do something.
COLMES: How many blacks did they elect? How many blacks are in the Republican Party? How many Hispanics did they elect?
PINKERTON: The Tea Partiers elected two - Allan West and Tim Scott, Florida and South Carolina.
THOMAS: You're just a counter, that's all.
COLMES: I'm a counter?
THOMAS: Yeah, you're a counter
COLMES: No, I'm actually a chair. What do you mean, I'm a counter.
THOMAS: Well, you know, you go by numbers that if you don't have the exact balance.
COLMES: I'm simply saying, you're going to tell me, wait a minute, you believe the Tea Party is not basically a white male movement? You don't think that?
THOMAS: Not all male, no. Look at the women who were elected. Look at the ones who were-
PINKERTON: Tell that to Nikki Haley-
THOMAS: Exactly what I'm saying.
PINKERTON: -Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell.
COLMES: But I'm saying, look at these rallies, you look who's there, and you look at what the profile is.
MILLER: I saw an awful lot of women.
COLMES: I mean, the Republicans needed to get a black guy to head the RNC in order to make it look fair and balanced.
PINKERTON: The Republicans hired a black guy to prove they weren't racist?
COLMES: Yeah, right. Look, let's bear one thing in mind. This country is ethnically 70 percent white. Okay, in any given random group of people-
COLMES: Not for long.
PINKERTON: Well, okay, right now, three-fourths of the people in a crowd will be white. And if that offends you, too bad.
COLMES: No, but it's more than three fourths people at the - it doesn't offend me, Jim - but more than three-fourths of the people at these events were white and male.
PINKERTON: It does seem to offend, it does seem to offend you. You call them racist.
MILLER: They were not male.
COLMES: Of course they were.
MILLER: There were many, many women. There were mama grizzles, as Sarah Palin called them.
COLMES: I'm sure there were a few mama grizzlies there.
MILLER: There were many mama grizzlies.
PINKERTON: The best example was the guy at some Tea Party rally, and they showed a picture - he was carrying a gun - and MSNBC ran the picture of him saying here's a Tea Partier with a gun, and then somebody else found out the picture was actually an African-American guy.
-Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center