For the past month, as the debt talks slogged on in Washington, the so-called mainstream media unleashed increasingly hysterical attacks on the Tea Party and anti-tax hike conservatives — epitomizing the liberal elite's supreme annoyance at the push to curb federal spending and contain the size of government.
The media's disdainful language has ranged from the merely condescending (wondering whether the Tea Partiers in Congress actually knew how things worked, or referring to them as children), to outright hostile (likening the Tea Party to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups). Here are some of the choicer examples MRC has collected over the past 30 days:
Just a Bunch of Ignorant Boobs
"Do you think that Republicans – particularly those in the freshman class over in the House – understand just how serious this debt limit crisis is?...Do you think they understand what might happen if you can't raise this debt limit here?"
— Bob Schieffer to Senator Jon Kyl on Face the Nation, July 24.
"The question, I think, some people might be asking is, do you think that members of the Tea Party caucus know how to govern, or are they — do they understand that standing up for a cause is not the same as governing?"
— Co-host Ann Curry to Tom Brokaw on NBC's Today, August 1.
Tea Party = Irresponsible Children
"On one side are those kids in the back seat, Tea Party members of Congress and their stay-at-home blogging cheerleaders who either don't understand or don't care about the consequences of default — of the U.S. not meeting its obligations, of us looking like a joke. They're willing to risk calamity, even embrace it, just to show how dedicated they are to not raising the debt ceiling. On the other side are Democrats and some Republicans who understand this is not a game."
— Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 14.
"Some people say that the Republican Party has been held hostage by the Tea Party. One of our Facebook followers sent in an interesting analogy and said, 'Why are Republicans allowing freshman congressmen to control this debate?' and this person said, 'It's like letting the teenager in the family run the family budget.' I mean, there's some truth in that."
— Moderator Bob Schieffer to GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell on Face the Nation, July 31.
Conservatives Are Unhinged Lunatics
"The Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative. The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms....The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency....The members of this movement have no economic theory worthy of the name."
— New York Times columnist David Brooks, July 5.
"You can hear the alarm going off, in this case the debt ceiling, which rational people agree needs to be raised, and yet every day there's no deal."
— Brian Williams on the July 26 NBC Nightly News.
Tea Party = Extremists
"Watching the extraordinary polarization in Washington today, many people have pointed the finger at the Tea Party. It's ideologically extreme, refuses to compromise, and cares more about purity than problem solving. I happen to agree with much of that critique, but it doesn't really answer the question, why has the Tea Party become so prominent? Why is it able to dominate Washington?"
— CNN's Fareed Zakaria on his Fareed Zakaria GPS, July 24.
Howard Fineman: "What's going on here, as I see it, is a kind of slow motion secession. This is an ending of the social compact. This is two, three generations worth of agreement about Social Security, about Medicare, about the role of the federal government. The Tea Party people are saying, we want to secede from that society...."
Chris Matthews: "You know what this sounds like? You know what this sounds like? When I spent two years in Southern Africa. It sounds like what the whites talked about doing. Eventually going into some sort of little circle, like Custer's last stand against the United States."
— MSNBC's Hardball, July 25.
Stubborn and Difficult
"I think the frustration the President has, is 'Look, I've come three-quarters the way to your position, and you're not willing to give me that last 25 percent that I can use to say to Democrats there is something in this for you.' So I think the intransigence of the Republicans is really beginning to wear on him and just strikes him as more and more unreasonable."
— New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler in a podcast for the paper's "The Caucus" political blog posted July 15.
"A lot of folks are saying the current, you know, 'My way or the highway, gotta have it all' climate in Washington is really unworthy of the USA and makes us look like a banana republic."
— CNN Newsroom anchor Brooke Baldwin, July 19.
"The Tea Party freshmen, upon whom all of this is being laid, really, who say compromise is a dirty word — are they complicating the picture?"
— Christiane Amanpour on ABC's This Week, July 24.
Hostage-Takers and Terrorists
"The GOP has become the Wahhabis of American government, willing to risk bringing down the whole country in the service of their anti-tax ideology....These people are willing to go right into Armageddon, not face the warning signs. Go right off the cliff..."
— Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 5.
Salon's Joan Walsh: "These people, the Tea Partiers and their friends and their enablers and their corporate friends like Dick Armey, they have created this shrieking on the right....This game of chicken, in particular, is deadly and it's wrong and it's hostage-taking. And you shouldn't negotiate with hostage-takers."
Host Chris Matthews: "I agree with you. I agree with you. I agree. It's terrorism."
— MSNBC's Hardball, July 5.
Pat Buchanan: "They [conservatives] say, 'This is the wrong way to go. We don't believe in it. We've committed against it. We can't do it, Mr. President, you're asking us to break our word and do something we think is not going to work, and we're not going to do it, sir.'"...
Co-host Mika Brzezinski: "So, I think the, what was the answer to my question that who the hostage taker is, Willie?"
MSNBC's Willie Geist: "Sounds like Pat's boys. Pat's boys are holding the hostage."
Newsweek editor-in-chief Tina Brown: "I think they're the suicide bombers in all of this."
— MSNBC's Morning Joe, July 6.
"Wake up to the national security threat. Only it's not coming from abroad, but from our own domestic extremists....The blunt truth is that the biggest threat to America's national security this summer doesn't come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home....So let's remember not only the national security risks posed by Iran and Al Qaeda. Let's also focus on the risks, however unintentional, from domestic zealots."
— New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, July 24.
"If sane Republicans do not stand up to this Hezbollah faction in their midst, the Tea Party will take the GOP on a suicide mission."
— New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, July 27.