Archive for the ‘Tea Party’ Category

By Alex Constantine 

Since the jingoistic Tea Party this way came, National Public Radio has given the angry “patriots” periodic, unquestioning promo spots, tsked a few corporate sponsors and the occasional “extremist”-  a ubiquitous media euphemism for “fascist” – but has pretended not to know of the darkest strains of this toxic beverage, as if perpetually searching for words to describe it.

White supremacy isn’t an issue at NPR.

But just look at the “public” network’s toxic corporate funding: John M. Olin, the Bradley and Sloan Foundations, a slue of intelligence/ultra-con funding conduits, almost without exception. Funds for state propaganda from the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, on and on, affect us, an onslaught of “conservative” mental progamming that nearly rivals the smirky blather of Fox News.

“What does the Party – or Parties – believe in?” asks a perky morning NPR voice – but no clear answers are forthcoming. Neither are serious criticisms found elsewhere in the media, ranking legislative candidate ties to neo-Nazis, ties of their financiers to the ultra-con Birch Society.

Instead, even Robert Scheer, generally trusted by his liberal listeners, seemingly hasn’t heard of all that, and has voiced his support of the Tea Party repeatedly because he shares “their anger at the banks.” So he gives them a plug. He goes so far as to praise Ron Paul. (And Scheer’s unabashed admiration of Reagan leaves one with no choice but to write him off as hopelessly myopic.) The neo-Nazi and Bircher connections are waved away as inconvenient distractions – “over on the left,” Bob Scheer admires them, anyways.

The public radio network has been the Tea Party’s national soapbox, a place to get away with “astroturf” claims unchallenged, to hide behind “Constitution” and “small government” … and never explain what those code-words for fascism mean exactly to the wealthy, “grass-roots” constituents of the far-right Tea Party.

Yet conservative media commentators – in a ploy intended to drive the media to the right –  grind their molars endlessly over “liberal bias” at NPR.

A UCLA Study Found NPR to be “to the Right of the Washington Post” (Once Published by CIA propaganda recruit Phil Graham … Until he Shot Himself in te Head because He Believed the CIA was trying to Kill Him … )

Excerpt: “All Programs Considered,” by Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books, November 11, 2010

It seems churlish to criticize even mildly the flagship public radio news shows—their reliable excellence deserves lavish praise. In recent years, though, it’s started becoming clearer that, for all their polish, the big shows like All Things Considered suffer from some of the same constraints that plague other parts of elite American journalism. They aim for a careful political balance—one academic study found their list of guests slightly to the right of The Washington Post, and “approximately equal to those of Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report. That’s not a particularly interesting place to be, and it may explain why, especially in the Bush years, many left-of-center listeners defected to Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!, a highly professional but ideologically engaged daily hour on the Pacifica network. ….

Allegations of elitism and the status quo

A 2004 study published by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found a solid conservative bias at National Public Radio. ‘NPR’s guestlist shows the radio service relies on the same elite and influential sources that dominate mainstream commercial news, and falls short of reflecting the diversity of the American public.”

UW survey: CNN, NPR spread Tea Party’s message

By John Gastil

Conservatives decry “National Liberal Radio” or, more plausibly, the leftward slant of MSNBC, whereas liberals mock the “fair and balanced” moniker of Fox News. 

The first year of the Tea Party movement … represents a new and vocally conservative actor that might tempt different media outlets to cover it in ways that reflect underlying biases. 

To test for such prejudice, the University of Washington undergraduate students in my Political Deliberation course created a series of content analytic categories that they applied to a representative sampling of 55 news articles from April 2009 to April 2010. … Extracted from the websites of Fox News, NPR, and CNN, this sample is small, but some of its findings are striking. At the very least, a careful look at these articles suggests interesting differences—and surprising similarities—in how these outlets have covered the Tea Party. … Students calculated the number of lines in each article that suggested how the Tea Party was affecting each party, and from this, I calculated a simple index from minus 10 to plus 10 to measure the Tea Party’s impact. 

On balance, CNNs reporting suggested that the Tea Party would hurt the GOP a little (-5) but have no effect on the Democrats. NPR suggested it could hurt both parties (-6 for GOP, -4 for Dems), and Fox News’ reporting suggested it would be a net benefit for the GOP (+5) and devastating for the Dems (-10). 

Next, consider how the media report on the general public’s sentiments toward the Tea Party. To date, every poll conducted has shown divided public opinion, with many Americans supporting the Tea Party and many others opposing it. Nonetheless, every one of the media outlets was more likely to include text indicating public support for the Tea Party than text indicating public opposition. NPR and Fox had roughly equal numbers, with three-quarters of their articles mentioning public support compared to only two-thirds noting opposition, whereas CNN devoted relatively few lines to either sentiment. 

NPR stood out compared to CNN and Fox as the most likely to include in its stories the voices of ordinary citizens, along with Tea Party participants and organizers. NPR also showed the clearest imbalance in sourcing. These articles quoted seven Republicans for every Democrat. …

NPR [showed] the clearest imbalance in sourcing. …  A quarter of the articles included Tea Party organizers compared to almost none featuring anti-Tea Party citizen demonstrators or activists. 


Citing comments dating to the Nixon administration, the FAIR report said, “That NPR harbors a liberal bias is an article of faith among many conservatives.” However, it added, “Despite the commonness of such claims, little evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR.”

NPR spokeswoman Jenny Lawhorn responded, “This is America – any group has the right to criticize our coverage. That said, there are obviously a lot of intelligent people out there who listen to NPR day after day and think we’re fair and in-depth in our approach.”


By Alex Constantine

In Hollywood, his father is remembered as one of the most gifted actors of film noir and the Golden Age of movies. But Christopher “Chris” Mitchum’s own acting career was star-crossed. His brief rise to the celebrity stratum began brightly enough in the 1960s, entered a long phase of decline in the ’70s, straight to the cinematic gutter. As interviewer John Nada summarizes it, “Mitchem could be described as a severe case of bad luck,” who “explored the nether regions of B, C, and F cinema.”

Mitchum’s first professional acting role was a “dead man.”

While studying English literature at the University of Arizona, he paid his tuition by working as an extra. Sam Maners, production manager of the TV show Dundee and the Culhane, offered him a part for one day. “I was very excited – until I read the script,” he recalls. “I died before the opening credits, off screen. I played a dead man.”

Before long, he had a part on the Danny Thomas Hour, a series of 60-minute dramas. He was even given a role in Rio Lobo, starring John Wayne, directed by the legendary Howard Hawks, as the studio era entered its final phase of decline.

Photoplay honored him with the Gold Medal Award for Best New Actor. He won a role in Big Jake, another John Wayne film.

But at this point in his career, stars crossed. He was unable to find work in Hollywood, he says. A casting director explained the problem to him: “You starred with John Wayne.” The Duke, of course, was an outspoken hawk during the Vietnam War. Much of liberal Hollywood was turned off by Wayne’s pro-war rhetoric. The Duke went on to make pictures, but many of those who worked with him didn’t, Mitchum says.

“I was blackballed in some circles.” This is the point, Mitchum says, where his acting career enters the terminal stage. He was offered a part in a Spanish film. “Of course, once you become a ‘foreign star, you’re regarded as a ‘B’ actor and fall out of the loop.”

Mitchum fell hard, even in Spain, and into the Asian film market:

“When Franco was alive, Spain had a great film industry with great, worldwide distribution,” Mitchum says. “When he died, about a month after I had moved back to the States, the film industry fell apart there. All they wanted to do was make porn and anti-Franco films. Because of the films in Spain and Europe, I became a major star throughout Asia. I started getting film offers from that part of the world. In fact, my first film there was H-Bomb, in Thailand.”

He also appeared in Commando Mengele, alternately titled, Angel of Death, directed by Andrea Bianchi. By the 90s, however, the offers stopped coming. He turned to screenwriting. Nine of his scripts were turned into movies.

Then it was politics. Chris Mitchum was the GOP nominee in the 1998 general election for the 35th district (Santa Barbara County) of the California State Assembly. He lost to Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson.

By 2011, he was a charter Tea Party member, ran in a Republican straw poll, and won.

“Since the Democrats shoved Obamacare down our throats,” he told the Santa Barbara News-Press in November, “ this country’s been in dire straits. I’m in this race to do all that I can to get this country back on track.”

He intends to run against Lois Capps, a popular Democratic Congresswoman who Mitchum dismisses as a “socialist.” Far-right Mitchum vs. progressive Capps will be “bloody,” he says.

Doubtless. Crossroads GPS, a right-wing 501(c)(4) group, has already spent some $1.4 million on television ads castigating ten Democratic representatives. Capps is the only Californian targeted by the conservative organization.

But Mitchum has proclaimed that his true opposition is not Capps, but President Obama. The star of Angel of Death views Obamacare as one of the most pressing issues of our time.

“The United States has the best medicine in the world,” he told the Santa Barbara News-Press, “adding that the public shares some of the blame in higher costs for expecting too much and leaving health-care professionals vulnerable to massive malpractice awards.”

“We need radical tort reform,” he claims.

Cookie-cutter Tea Party rhetoric with a corporate bias. Tune in Tea Party candidates around the country, and it’s the same “ideals” cast in the same dead, insincere, partisan Republican tones.

On Herman Cain: “We could do a lot worse.”

Mitchum’s take on Obama’s first term: “Oh my gosh, we did a lot worse.”  Mitchum’s right-wing rhetoric is supposed to ring like Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” promo, but plops like a wet tea bag.

A recent campaign mailer to residents of Santa Barbara County takes aim at the Marxist (?) left with echoes of Mitchum’s old Hollywood mentor, The Duke:

Dear Friends:

In 2008, our country suffered a bloodless coup. Socialists took control of two of the three branches of government. It is ironic that the very system they wish to tear down is what allowed them to gain power. Fortunately, our Founding Fathers built into the Constitution the means for revolt. It’s called an election and with that process, using ballots instead of bullets, we can regain control of our government. … God Bless America!

And God bless Chris Mitchum, a failed actor on his way to becoming a failed politician. Lois Capps has dropped a number of noisy, jingoistic GOP opponents. Does anyone doubt that Mitchum is only the next in line?

By Alex Constantine

Nathan Mintz, founder of California’s South Bay Tea Party

If last year’s contentious 53rd California Assembly District race is any indication, the South Bay from Manhattan Beach to Ranchos Palos Verdes will soon become a cratered beachhead of internecine political campaigning.  This stretch of adobe and sand constitutes California’s new 66th district, where local Tea Party co-founder Nathan Mintz has pitched his campaign tent. Among endorsements, he drops the name George Deukmejian, no less.  The Democrats haven’t chosen his opponent yet, but they’re working on it in hopes of pulling off a two-thirds majority in the lower house.

In the 2010 debacle over the 53rd, Mintz, a senior systems engineer at Raytheon, lost to Democratic progressive Betsy Butler — despite a ferocious smear campaign waged against her by Big Oil, Big Insurance and Big Pharmaceuticals.  Their collective PAC, the Civil Justice Association of California, spent a total of $500,000 on her mud bath. Most cities in the South Bay favored Mintz, but he finished far behind Butler in communities surrounding LAX.  Butler won and went on to distinguish herself in Sacramento. She sponsored the widely-touted Infants and Toddlers Act to Protect Children from BPA, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October. Butler has received a perfect legislative scorecard from the Congress of California Seniors. Vietnam Veterans of America has named her Legislator of the Year.

The narrowly-defeated GOP candidate licked his wounds, limped back to the South Bay Tea Party to harass Obama (an “asshole,” per one of Mintz’s hailstorm of tweets) and the liberal scourge. He announced his intention to enter the 2012 race shortly after the California Citizens Redistricting Commission approved a new set of perimeters for California’s 80 Assembly districts.

The California Majority Report dismissed Mintz as the “Wackiest GOP Assembly Hopeful” in the last election cycle. Odds are that he will retain the title next year.

On the Internet, Mintz is known for the lowbrow fulminations posted at his now-defunct blog, The Vast Right Wing Jewish Conspiracy. In 2005, he informed an unsuspecting world that “homosexuality activity” was ubiquitous “among most of the Mediterranean peoples,” and “no doubt among the egyptians as well.” Homosexuality, he claimed, has historically been a “stepping stone” to “barbaric acts of sexuality and brutality involving mutilation, rape orgies, sex with animals, etc.”

Mike Gunn, the Republican mayor of Redondo Beach, has come out of the closet and shut the door rather firmly behind – his moral regression via gateway sexual pathology might come as a surprise to him. But then, as Mintz noted, “a lot of gays hate being reminded that their lifestyle is not normal.”

Women, especially the athletic variety, were also grist for his Menckenian wit: “The rugby players had a beirut [?] tournament downstairs tonight. It was truly a sad display — most of these girls were so ugly that it hurt me to look at them. I see why it’s the preferred sport of lesbians.”

But one of his most embarrassing antics occurred while still a student at Stanford University, where Mintz, who is Jewish, was vice president of the Stanford Israel Alliance. In October 2004, Hedy Epstein, the famed pro-Palestinian activist, delivered a talk at the university on the brutality in Gaza. Mintz fired off a letter to the Stanford Daily castigating “Epstein’s rhetoric of drawing comparisons of the initial stages of the Holocaust to the current situation in Gaza and the West Bank … only one piece of what is a much larger trend of anti-Semitism on college campuses today.” In fact, Epstein had not drawn comparisons to Nazism or the Holocaust. But Mintz couldn’t have possibly known this because he submitted his critique to the Daily before Epstein took the podium. When an Epstein supporter pointed out that the letter was false and defamatory, Daily editor Jennifer Graham printed an apology for Mintz’s “wrong” and “misleading” remarks.

These days, he is a bit more guarded in his public jeremiads. “I am a uniter, not a divisive leader,” he boasts, echoing an elephant who has left the room. Mintz toes the Tea Party line, is as PC as a “conservative” extremist can be.

On the State Assembly: In July 2010, Mintz, in an address to the Long Beach Young Republicans, said he supports “a part-time legislature” to reduce state taxation — and disengage the Democratic “stranglehold” on Sacramento, of course.

On Arizona’s anti-immigrant legislation: In June 2010, the LAUSD board formally requested that Superintendent Ramon Cortines ensure that classes in civics and history discuss the Arizona anti-immigrant law with students, “in the context of the American values of unity, diversity and equal protection for all people.” Mintz told “This is just another example of these embedded bureaucrats in California doing anything they can to deflect and distract from the poor job their (sic) doing of educating our children.”

A White Baptist Convention

On race: In July 2010, after the NAACP condemned extremist elements within the national Tea Party, Mintz’s chapter co-sponsored a ludicrous show of faux GOP racial tolerance at the L.A. Convention Center. The featured speaker was Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, president of The Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny (BOND), a clutch of conservative African-Americans.

Imani Grady, a Southern California attorney, gibes that the conference was “fueled by a desire to continue the ‘I’m rubber, you’re glue’ slap fight in which the NAACP and the Tea Party movement have been engaged.”

Grady: “I should have known the event would be filled with falsehoods, fake statistics, fear-mongering, and racist tropes when I walked up to the courtyard where the event was being held and saw multiple, professionally-made banners which read ‘South Bay Tea Party’ (though the banner behind the podium loudly proclaimed South Central Tea Party).”

The chapter’s machinations were transparent. “Take William Owens Jr.,” Grady wrote. “During his speech Owens, who wrote a book called Obama: Why Black America Should Have Doubts, claimed the NAACP served a purpose in its nascence, but that things are ‘all better now,’ so any discussion of the disadvantages black Americans face on the basis of race is simply ‘making excuses.’”

Then Rev. Peterson took the podium: “The NAACP is no different than the KKK in that the KKK hung black Americans up by their physical bodies,” he said, “but the NAACP steals their hearts and minds and souls.” Peterson claimed that the NAACP “kill(s) black Americans” by indoctrinating them into hating their country and depending on federal handouts.

“The Southern Baptist-style murmurs of agreement,” Grady reported, “Preach! Go ahead! came from white members of the crowd that numbered around 100, including about 20 members of the media. Indeed, from my vantage point, I saw a sea of white faces.”

The South Bay can expect more of the same jive Tea Party theatrics as the day of balloting approaches. Mintz will undoubtedly be flanked by mud-tossing corporate allies, as he was in 2010. The press will offer him up as a licit candidate, ignoring the whiff of hoax in the air.

Send any corporation or media outlet who supports him a teabag filled with toxic waste to return the favor.

Also see:

“Nathan Mintz,” Ballotpedia:

“Afternoon Tea with Nathan Mintz, Part 1,” YouTube Video:

Tea Party is not Anti-Intellectual

  • By Nia-Malika Henderson and  Perry Bacon Jr.
  • Washington  Post, Nov. 21, 2011

Late this summer, Rick Perry was the presidential candidate of choice for tea  party Republicans. Then the Texas governor had a few lackluster debate  performances, and he defended himself by seeming to suggest that debating skills — and articulate speech in general — don’t matter in governing.

The man whom conservative activists turned to next, businessman Herman Cain,  proudly declared that he wouldn’t bother to learn the name of the leader of  Uzbekistan and later struggled to recall President Obama’s actions on Libya.  Last week Cain said that the country needs “a leader, not a  reader.” …