Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Major Fail for Jake Tapper

As regular readers know, I've become rather fond of Jake Tapper. For an MSM guy, he's really been trying to be more responsible in his journalism and to break the he said/she said model of reporting. So it was enormously disappointing to see him deliver this ridiculous post today on his ABC blog.
Three days after he decried the lack of civility in American politics, President Obama is quoted in a new book about his presidency referring to the Tea Party movement using a derogatory term with sexual connotations.

In Jonathan Alter’s “The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” President Obama is quoted in an interview saying that the unanimous vote of House Republicans vote against the stimulus bills “set the tenor for the whole year ... That helped to create the tea-baggers and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party to where it now controls the agenda for the Republicans.”

Tea Party activists loath the term “tea baggers,” which has emerged in liberal media outlets and elsewhere as a method of mocking the activists and their concerns.
As Jake notes in a weasel-worded update, "some liberal bloggers" pointed out he was missing the key context that the teabaggers named themselves and apparently thinks because some anchors on competing stations used it to mock the tea party people, that excuses his failure to put the President's quote in context. He always fails to mention what relevance other commentators actions have on a single remark made by Obama.

John Cole has more and also reminds Mr. Tapper that Obama's statement was true.
Even more offensive is that lost in the attempt to manufacture a gotcha moment (I’m sure this accusation of Obama’s incivility will fly up memeorandum and generate lots of traffic, so “Mission Accomplished!” with that), it is lost that what Obama said is absolutely correct and the GOP is the source of a lot of the actual poisonous rhetoric in our current political climate. It WAS the Republican behavior that set the tenor for everything this year. You’d think that observation would be important.
Yeah you would think that, if you weren't just looking for a "clever" way to slam Obama. Further as Josh notes, teabaggers was the standard group ID in the beginning. However once the teabaggers realized how stupid the name was and decided to take offense at being called what they named themselves, many of us began to refer to them as tea partiers. While it's true some on the left still use the term in a derogatory fashion, I seriously doubt President Obama used it mockingly then or has even used the term since that interview.

In any event, Tapper's disappointing excuse to take a dig at our President is his post was simply dishonest. The genesis of the term was entirely relevant to the context and Jake offers no evidence that Obama used it in a mocking tone at the time. It's a major failure to inform and a transparent attempt to tar the President's integrity. Sadly it provides more evidence that the White House Press Corps is simply, if subtly, punishing the President for taking away their keys as gatekeepers to the White House. Sadly, lame hit pieces like Tapper's will only hasten their irrelevance and lose any support they might have among lefties like me.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Montana said...

I saw Jay Leno at Correspondent Dinner his best line was; “That was my favorite story (this year) Republicans and a Lesbian bondage club. It’s ironic, Republicans don’t want lesbian getting married but they do like watching them “tie the knot”. So I thought that was interesting.”

You can say the same about Tea Party (they are haters not debaters or as others have dubbed them screamers not dreamers), they say they respect the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence but they do not mind passing laws, through weak Governors (no one voted for this crazy) who only care about getting reelected on the backs of undocumented workers, that will not pass Constitution muster, just like Arizona’s House Bill 2779 from two years ago, keep passing them Arizona and the rest of us will continue to challenged them in a court of law and you will fail again (and yes we will Boycott Arizona). Their phony patriotism is sickening; they are just racists going by another name. We all know you are just itching to put a sheet on their head? Let’s face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with health care, immigration, climate change and financial oversight and governance and they failed. It appears that the Republican Party is only good at starting wars (two in eight years, with fat contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the continuing line of body bags that keep coming home. The Republicans party will continue turned inward to their old fashion obstructionist party (and their Confederacy appreciation roots) because they continue to allow a small portions (but very loud portion) of their party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” to rule their party. I will admit that this fringe is very good at playing “Follow the Leader” by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill programmed robots (they have already acted against doctors that perform abortions). The Birthers and the Tea party crowd think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you something not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey than the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. The world is complicated and people like Hamilton, Lincoln, and Roosevelt believed that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now it’s about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. For a party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, it is tragic that the ranks are filled with too many empty suits and the crazy Birthers who have not learned that the way our courts work is that you get a competent lawyer, verifiable facts and present them to a judge, if the facts are real and not half baked internet lies, then, and only then, do you proceed to trial. The Birthers seem to be having a problem with their so called “facts”. Let’s face it no one will take the Birthers seriously until they win a case, but until then, you will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. I heard that Orly Taitz now wants to investigate the “Republican 2009 Summer of Love” list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC), she wants to re-establish a family values party, that’s like saying that the Catholic Church cares about the welling being of children in their care, too late for that.

2:43:00 PM  
Blogger FO said...

Man! What you said, Montana!

3:39:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Well said Montana. Good to see you FO.

5:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It shouldn't surprise anyone who's watched Tapper on the ABC Evening News in recent years that he is Chip Reid Lite!

9:24:00 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

What I haven't seen mentioned is the timing. The authors followed the campaign and early days of the presidency, right? When exactly did Obama utter this insult, back when it wasn't considered an insult or after the tea party figured out they were laughing-stocks? Then we need to know if Obama understood the term to be an insult or if he thought that was what they were called.

1:24:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Anon, he's really not a bad guy. He's been very responsive to suggestions on how to improve the Sunday show. The fact check thing is a little weak but he's the only one who was willing to try it. He's listened to complaints about the Roundtable and is booking more balanced guests for that. And it's important to remember that these guys don't run the show. They have to answer to producers who want soundbytes over substance. This was just such an unneccessary post. It's all part of a larger pattern in the WHPC. They've been very bitchy about being circumvented by the White House and they're doing these hit pieces to punish Obama. It's been escalating since they didn't get to go to the silly soccer game a few weeks ago.

Laura, taken in context it looks like the quote was from when everyone was calling them teabaggers, including themselves. In any event, have you ever known him to say something deliberately mean? We were all complaining for the first year that he wasn't calling out the cons and was trying too hard for bipartisanship and reaching out to these people. It was a manufactured gotcha point. Jake really is generally better than to stoop to such tactics.

8:50:00 AM  
Blogger Laura Martin said...

Good blog. This was a total throw back to the campaign says of "omg Obama smokes and didn't tell me" CRAP that jake would come up with.

Through twitter I've been able to "get to know how" and he's not such a bad guy, I do think the tone of his blogs have changed a bit. But this one was one of *the* dumbest to come out of the WHPC bunch

7:28:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Hey Laura, I've become rather fond of Jake myself and do think he's really trying to bring more balance and less horserace to his work, but this was the lamest meme I saw in a long time. Thankfully it didn't really get any legs that I could see.

9:26:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Andelman said...

You might also enjoy this Mr. Media radio interview with Jonathan Alter from May 19, 2010. He talks about his book, “The Promise,” President Obama, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, FDR, “The Colbert Report,” his wife and even does an imitation of Joe Biden imitating Arkansas Senator John McClellan. Classic stuff!

7:58:00 AM  

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