April 15, 2009

Dumbest NPR Story Evah? [Dan Collins; UPDATED x2]

I know that that’s heady company, but what else can you say about a story that quotes Krugman as one of the “some people” who claim that the Tea Party movement is AstroTurf, then lists these 5 reasons that it “doesn’t make sense”?

But there are others who are merely puzzled by the connection between tea and protesting these days. Here, then, are five arguments against the Tax Day Tea Party:

1) The politics are wrongheaded. The irony is that the idea springs from the original tea party in Boston against Great Britain. It was not a protest against big government. It was a protest against England’s refusal to allow the United States to govern itself at all. Now that the U.S. has sovereignty and is able to govern itself, a tea party protest is pretzelish in its logic. “The people who were involved in the Boston Tea Party were protesting because they had no representation. These people have representation,” says Benjamin Woods Labaree, a retired historian in Amesbury, Mass., and author of The Boston Tea Party. The contemporary protest, he says, “is totally irrelevant. There is no connection.”

2) Tea is an affordable drink. In these economic times, when pennies are being pinched and thrift is cool again, tea is one of the cheapest drinks on the market, according to the Tea Association of the U.S.A. Overall, imported teas represented a $7 billion industry in 2008, up from $4.2 billion in 1997. Fancy teas are feeling the effect of the global downturn, but everyday, working-class teas – which cost about 3 cents a serving — are rather impervious to bad times, says Joseph P. Simrany, president of the Tea Association. “Overall, we’re not seeing much of blip.” For years, the U.S. imported about 180 million pounds of tea a year. Last year that skyrocketed to 257 million pounds.

3) In the U.S., tea is nonpolitical. “We can’t get involved in politics,” Simrany says. “Tea is as neutral as Switzerland.”

4) Tea is a drink of serenity, not anger. Julee Rosanoff, one of the owners of the Perennial Tea Room in downtown Seattle, says, “Tea is a calming drink. When people sit down to have a cup of tea, they are not in a hurry. It’s relaxing and constructive for discussion.”

5) Tea is not really an American drink. Coffee is more associated with the American way of life, and any railing against American activities should involve java. If you have to protest, Rosanoff says, coffee is a better drink to toss overboard: “It’s a waste of good tea to throw it in the harbor.”

The Bailout Bills were pushed through Congress without the line-by-line oversight that Obama had claimed he would exert, to root out pork. The expansion of Federal powers over private enterprise are unprecedented, even in wartime. What are “working-class teas”? What does being in a hurry have to do with anything? Why is it more acceptable to throw coffee into a harbor than tea–considering that nobody’s throwing tea into harbors anyway? Who the fuck writes this crap for NPR, and who the fuck considers this in any way a legitimate analysis?

UPDATE: William Jacobson:

Fascism is not the exercise of free speech, even offensive free speech. Rather, it is the attempt to silence others through subversion and physical disruption. Think brown shirts in pre-war Germany, and anarchists at almost any world economic meeting. And that is what the Tea Party Crasher phenomenon is all about.

As detailed by Michelle Malkin and others, various groups (mostly from the left, but also from the right) plan to disrupt the Tea Parties by subterfuge. Pretending to be participants to disrupt. Making inflammatory accusations not to express an opinion, but to get the Tea Parties off course or to create a video-opportunity. Co-opting the Tea Parties for another purpose. Phony ambush “interviews” by people pretending to be journalists merely to elicit a reaction. Conduct on the streets similar to the trolls

on the internet, who create havoc for the purpose of creating havoc and disrupting the free speech of others.

When fascism comes to America, it will not be wrapped in the flag or carrying a cross. It will look like it always has looked: Ugly and intolerant.

UPDATE x2: Welcome Wolcott readers, both of you. One post inspired by Wolly that somehow wasn’t linked, you may find here. Yes, he says that he’s decided not to attend a Tea Party rally on the basis of direct experience of the weather, which perhaps means that he put down his ocicat long enough to venture onto the balcony. Surely, you’re aware that he’s a contributing editor to the magazine for which he is said to write, which means that split infinitives constitute “wry urbanity.”

Really, though, as with the news regarding prima ballerina Veronika Parts, this is all of a piece with Wolly’s metier, which amounts to, “I like to watch.” Suitably encouched, the hemorrhoids he suffers from many hours of sitting before his keypad turning out the demi-monde fashionable vacuity he is paid to commit do not inflict such pangs as otherwise they might: where, though corpulent, his status of Terpsichore of Twaddle and Queen of the Maenads is fortunately secure.

Strangely, but predictably, his “droll” invective is directed against someone who deems the bailouts fascistic; it’s not as though Fiat are headquartered in Turin, or that the de facto capital of American commerce has become Washington, DC, is it? I don’t recall his ever having objected to the maniacal spewings of Olbermann in similar terms, but I’m not enough of a fan to know whether or not he ever has. Wolly takes the trouble unflatteringly to compare the turnout for the Tea Parties to that drummed up for the immigration rallies some years ago, without pausing to consider several things. For one, the number of locations for those rallies was substantially smaller. For another, advocacy groups paid to bus people in by the thousands. For still another, some of the organization and advocacy was actually backed by Mexican social services unions, whose interference in Yanqui politics ought roundly to have been criticized by the US press, but wasn’t.*

At the time, I mentioned, and will mention again, that it is illegal for a Yanqui, or even a Guatemalteca, to participate in such a rally in Mexico. If you are a hapless (to use a term Wolly has applied to me) American student who has the temerity to join a march in Oaxaca, for example, you will probably find yourself arrested, deprived of your passport, and shipped back to the United States. All along the slender southern borders of Mexico, you will see sand-bag emplacements manned by Mexican military, with machine guns. Mexico apparently respects its own sovereignty.

Wolly considers some particular Fox News reporter to be a buffoon, and yet . . . he applauds the Minnesota court rulings in favor of . . . Stuart Smalley. That is, I suppose, what passes for wry urbanity at Vanity Fair, these days.

Finally, I don’t need tea to make the wallpaper (assuming I had it) move, for I am a student of Don Iago Madison’s Yanqui Way of Knowledge. What’s the problem with NPR’s “wry urbanity”? It’s not interesting, and it’s not amusing. It’s non sequitur masquerading as insight, rather like Wolly himself. Apart from Wolly, what is it that Wolly advocates?

For God’s sake, Wolly, get off your overstuffed arse and do something.

* Meanwhile:

Children living in immigrant families are more likely to be poor than those whose parents were born in the U.S. [!] But these same children are far less likely to receive public benefits — even though most of them were born in the U.S. and are citizens. This has some people worried about the welfare of one of the nation’s fastest growing groups — the citizen children of immigrants.

CNN bitch: Tea Party rallies anti-government, anti-CNN. Wow.

Another Hamsher epic fail.  My challenge to Hamsher: demonstrate one equivalent left-wing movement in the internet age that’s gone forward with less organized underwriting.  Just one.

Posted by Dan Collins @ 5:56am

Comments (76)

  1. Some people have been really busy. “Some people” say ACORN is gonna attack the tea parties, “some people” say they’re being astro-turfed and co-opted by the establishment right. It’s a brave new media world, and some people just aint gonna rest.

  2. “…who the fuck considers this in any way a legitimate analysis?”

    How about every liberal in America?

  3. Some people are easier to argue with than real people, apparently.

  4. Geez, you’re trying to figure out the dumbest NPR story? We’re gonna be stuck here on this thread for weeks, Dan

  5. Sorry, urthshu. I’m just saying that it’s in the running.

  6. What the devil do those five reasons have to do with anything? This is the same as arguing with yourself.
    Talk about irrelevant.

  7. It is almost like they are intentionally ignoring the whole tax angle.

  8. i like it. it has that “manufacturing consent” vibe.

  9. Concrete bound morons.

  10. NPR wrote this story on April 1st, it’s just a little late getting out so the joke was lost. But since it would have been so obviously funny they just had to print it.

  11. It’s a war on metaphor, apparently.

  12. I love how they can’t really attack the legitimacy of the movement, so they attack the name – which is so obviously meant to be symbolic it makes one’s head spin.

  13. Speaking of bankrupt collective institutions, apparently Neofascist Public Radio (sorry, too obvious? Too pedantic? Too uncool?) also has a keen and astute finger on the pulse of public spending: Today NPR expounded on what meya would probably call the public education safety net (code for government school institutions and the healthy, nurturing climate they by their very nature assure all our children) oppressing LA kids under a $600M debt load, climbing to $800M next year.

    LA schools just ruled to let go a slew of teachers. The story went on to say that the unions kept upping pay and bennies and kept hiring staff, while enrollments were dropping. Now they’re, naturally and presumably with straight faces, clamoring for three hundred fifty billion dollars in T.A.R.P. money.

    Troubled assets?

    Is there a reason that the US should be running an educational system in 2009 that has one district alone nearly a billion dollars upside down? Shouldn’t we, like, freaking expect more? Are we still experimenting with this crap? Are we inept, inept, or inept? Somebody pick one.

    So. Are we (meaning government schools across the nation — Detroit’s nearly two hundred million in debt) inept? Stupid? Or corrupt. Or something. Because it’s 2009. And Jesus hath ascended to Washington. Is there some reason that in addition to not balancing books, we’re turning out juvenile failures? And paying twice what the private sector could do, education-wise? And ruling charters out of existence. And trying to outlaw private education?

    Because those, NPR, those would be stories for the cutting, edgy, Progressive New Times, they would. Oh yes, they certainly would.

  14. SFAG: Some people have been really busy.

    Well, you’ve certainly been busy being a mendacious crapweasel.

    Slartibartfast: It’s a war on metaphor, apparently.

    I think we need to get rid of those olive branches and arrows on the Great Seal of the United States.

    They make me think of pizza and Green Arrow. Pizza is great, but hardly a dignified symbol of our country. Green Arrow is only a D list superhero, at best.

  15. “…and who the fuck considers this in any way a legitimate analysis?”

    When you can’t attack something substantially, go for…um, empherallity(?) tangental-ness(?!). If you know what I mean.

  16. Krugman is a condescending ass. Did you catch this little gem?


  17. #16 Neocon Blonde: Libs don’t get it. Whatever the cause, and in this case it is hubris, the tea party movement is not Republican, is not Fox, is not Limbaugh. The.libs.just.don’t.get.it. Which is fine. The “big tent” blue-dogs get it, and they know they are in trouble if they want to keep their jobs.

  18. Funy how the MSM and fellow travellers are ginning up every possible misinterpretation of the Tea Partyer goals.

    Its really easy: We want low taxes and no bailouts, sure. We also would like to see Obama do the law enforcement aspect of his job and stop rewarding fraud in the financial world by picking the pockets of the common man.

    Obama is a thief, abetting thieves.

  19. Quick. I need a slogan for an “Outlaw” sign.

  20. What part of the word “quick” don’t you understand?

  21. Carin,

    What was wrong with “I dislike massive deficits, so now I am an Official DHS labelled extremist.”

  22. There is no need for a slogan. You’ve got one. All it needs to say is:


  23. We write that crap for NPR.

  24. Go to the party with your brother’s wife and make a sign that says “Outlaw In-Law”

  25. That’s good, LTC. I just altered it to read “I’m an OUTLAW who dislikes Massive Deficits, so now I’m an official DHS labeled extremist.”

  26. JHoward: Just sent you an E-Mail about how a charter school might look if it was actually focused on academic excellence, college prep and character and respect. I know the guy who runs this place. He’s as politically liberal as anybody I know but has dedicated his life to building alternative schools emphasizing the above goals.

    BTW: He honed his educational skills working a Teach for America gig in a South Central LA high school.

    The Troy Preparatory Charter School


  27. Raw Tea Sucks. It was on sale for $3.99 a six pack. After trying one, it should be priced $.99 a six pack.

  28. The transcendent irony of that NPR slosh is that they were going for some kind of a nuanced analysis and, in the process, completely missed the nuance.

    I still think it’s a dumass piece but I have to applaud that rather serpentine “achievement.”

  29. I think I may have done something slightly dishonest just now.

    There’s a Tea Party scheduled for noon today in Market Square — the center of downtown Pittsburgh. I emailed several of my liberal friends and told them there’s a Pittsburgh Penguins rally scheduled for noon today in Market Square.

    Was that bad?

  30. Benedict: No, no it’s not. (heh)

  31. Tea is…BROWN.

  32. Green tea isn’t, GENERALIZER!!

  33. I like the Red Tea.

  34. Woof. I’ll give you the headline–dumbest ever–perhaps most ignorant ever.

    The origial Tea Party was not about a “refusal to allow the United States to govern itself at all.” (I’ll ignore the anachronistic term “Unted States” here–except to point out that that IS stupidity). Very few had entertained the idea of Independence yet and the colonies were able to govern themselves. The complint was taxation–specifically, taxation without representation.

    I saw a better one of these kinds of articles that argued that the Tea Party analogy was inappropriate because we have representation. Better but still off base. When our Representatives vot on bills they have not read, we are not being represented.

    And once these salient points are addressed all the other “objections” evaporate.

  35. I just altered it to read “I’m an OUTLAW who dislikes Massive Deficits, so now I’m an official DHS labeled extremist.”

    I just heard a woman saying she made a sign saying “I went to bed a housewife and woke up a threat to national security.”

  36. So the NPR dirty socialist Obama fluffers are concerned it sounds like.

  37. Boy, the nutroots sure seem to have latched on to the pathetic “tea bagging” meme. I wonder why?

  38. “Tea is a drink of serenity, not anger.”

    That is the gayest sentence I have read so far today. I also like this one, though:

    “Coffee is more associated with the American way of life, and any railing against American activities should involve java.”

    I think freedom is more associated with the American way of life, and any railing against American activities should not be done on a goddamn socialized radio network.

  39. broken quanta yay I think. That’s it exactly.

  40. happy, they are absolutely concerned. Free speech is only supposed to be voiced through the filter of state-owned media, dontcha know. The American Way and all.

  41. thrift is cool again when people stop giving their monies to these fags I think. Not sooner.

  42. Does NPR ever put out any squiggly writings under the headline “Where’s Nuance?”

    There’s a potential revenue stream there, until readers catch on that it’s nowhere to be found. Then? Not so much…

  43. Some of the comments are even more clueless than the article.
    It’s like the dork at a party who when hearing a good joke tries to reason it out rather than just having a laugh.
    Rather than try to explain it’s probably best to just ignore them. They will kill a good party vibe if you let them. After standing alone in a corner for awhile they will eventually wander home to spend the evening alone in a dark room.

  44. Thanks, happyfeet.

  45. NPR is near the center of the establishment and the Tea Parties are anti-establishment. So NPR is just using twisted reasoning to protect themselves and their funding. One quick example is their first point. Americans don’t need to protest like the original Boston partiers. But we once again have taxation without representation. Even though we vote on members of congress, they make their decisions based on what is best for the special interests that give them large sums as campaign contributions. My congressman doesn’t represent me, he represents AIG, GM, many banks and insurance companies and anyone else who will give him a few thousand bucks. It is a situation that demands public demonstrations even if NPR feels threatened.

  46. Who the fuck writes this crap for NPR, and who the fuck considers this in any way a legitimate analysis?

    Whitey. You should hate him.

  47. Coffee is more associated with the American way of life, and any railing against American activities should involve java.

    What does a programming language have to do with anything?!

  48. Tea is something you drink? I did not know that. This is not the tea party I knew.

    Well, I paid all the dues I want to pay.
    And I learned the truth from Lenny Bruce,
    And all my wealth won’t buy me health,
    So I smoke a pint of tea a day.

  49. But there are others who are merely puzzled by the connection between tea and protesting these days.

    Throw in some giant paper mache Puppets and it will all become immediately clear.

  50. Chinese drink tea. Lots of it.

    And they are protected by these things. It is practically Obamaesque! Or maybe Cocoon.

  51. there are others who are merely puzzled by the connection between tea and protesting these days.

    I believe those people would be the ones who are as ignorant of history as your typical lefty.

  52. Throw in some giant paper mache Puppets and it will all become immediately clear.

    You sir are a magnificient bastard for saying so. And I say that with total respect!

  53. The politics are wrongheaded.

    Everything you think is wrong, says Linton Weeks. You don’t know your own mind, especially where it comes to the lofty matters of politics. Leave that to us smart guys, he says.

    It was not a protest against big government. It was a protest against England’s refusal to allow the United States to govern itself at all.

    Oops, Linton. It was a protest against a government telling people what tea to buy. Buy this tea, the government said, because this tea has paid its cut of the price to us. Don’t buy that tea, the blackmarket tea, because that tea hasn’t paid its cut to us.

    Government reaching down into your purchasing decisions? Naw, that isn’t going on today. People just want those electric cars something awful, don’t they? Folks just gotta have that corn based ethanol, can’t live without it.

  54. If only the Sons of Liberty had thrown beer in the harbor. The turnout for Tax Day Beer Parties would be tenfold, at least.

  55. It was not a protest against big government.

    Right, it was only a protest against a non-representing, appropriating Central Government.

  56. Nationally Paid-for Radio is government funded. Do you really think they are going to air anything favorable toward a movement that wants to starve them?

    I’ll believe Chuck Schumer is shy and altruistic first.

  57. Pablo makes a good point. Probably would have been a great marketing move by Sam Adams, to boot.

  58. I like the beer party idea.

    I was thinking of doing a sign with the “Don’t Tread on Me” snake and a teleprompter stomping on it. However, no one in my office knew what “Don’t tread on me” was and think the sign will be over everybody’s head.

    Sigh. Back to “TAXES SUCK!”.

  59. I remember when dissent was patriotic. It doesn’t seem that long ago.

  60. “Sure, surviving in today’s work-a-day world is a little like having bees live in your head. But – there they are.”


  61. Wow. That’s an actual report. And its serious, they really mean it. Amazingly idiotic.

    Still, if you get all your information about Tea Parties from the legacy media you’re going to be left with just making things up out of a huge vacuum of data, so no surprise.

  62. Carin:


  63. No, O’Brain, There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

    But if I Eat And You Pay, it’s just as good.


  64. How much libmedia cum are meya and Hamsher going to guzzle

  65. Did anyone really expect honesty from these people?

  66. #1
    maya. Go play in traffic.

  67. Right, because the point of all these protests has been to dump tea in places, to protest government tea policy. I got back from my local protest a few hours ago. Good times were had by all, and no one seemed perplexed because they weren’t actually mad about a tax on tea.

    What a retard.

  68. “Good times were had by all, and no one seemed perplexed because they weren’t actually mad about a tax on tea.”

    Or, a corporate tax break for one provider of tea.

  69. Susan Boyle is up to 11.5M+ views. She will be on The View tomorrow is what I hear. She is having a better week than what many far more attractive people are having. Hah.

  70. NPR is only the bush leagues. Wait until Frontline makes an intrepid journey, perhaps aided by Susan Roesgen, into the Heartland of the Beast, to discover the roots of a twisted love of the American Constitution. And a persistent annoyance with having one’s hard-earned money expropriated to buy food stamps for lazybones in the urban jungle.

    NPR is just the beginning of this Thousand Mile March to a Pulitzer to demonstrate how democracy isn’t democracy, because the elites say it ain’t so.

    Said Pulitzer would be awarded by the clowns at CSJ & the staff of The Nation, assisted by hype in the New York Slimes!!

  71. Fine. You want 5 reasons the connection with tea and Obama’s policies “don’t make sense”. Here:

    1) Tea costs are significantly less than several trillion dollars.
    2) Joseph P. Simrany, president of the Tea Association, pays his taxes like your typical honest American. Unlike many of Obama’s Cabinet picks.
    3) The original colonial tea parties, unlike the tea parties of today, were actually reported by news media of the time.
    4) Chewbacca is a wookie, and does not drink tea at all! Now think about it; that does not make sense!
    5) Obama’s bullshit isn’t served in a cup.

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  74. #69
    Go reread you American History.

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