The crew over at FNC’s Fox and Friends program got their collective panties in a knot over Bill Maher’s recent appearance on The Tonight Show when he claimed that it the teabaggers’ protests helped to pass health care reform. Eric Bolling said that Maher offended the Tea Party by calling them teabaggers, and, “There was only one teabagger in the studio at that time, and it was Mr. Maher.”
Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:
It was interesting to watch the propagandists at Fox and Friends try to spin away the size of the Tea Party. Steve Doocy explained to the audience Maher’s opinion that the Tea Party protests actually helped pass health care, and Gretchen Carlson added, “That’s interesting because health care I think according to his theory then would have passed about eight months ago before all those tea parties started. If it was such a done deal before the tea party movement, then why didn’t it happen before that time? I think everyone watching this program knows why.” Bolling then went after Maher by saying, “I will tell you the tea partiers are very offended by being called teabaggers, and he said any teabaggers out in the audience. There was one teabagger in that studio at the time, and it was Mr. Maher.”
The Fox and Friends crew had to go to great lengths to keep the myth that the Tea Party is a large and viable movement alive on this one. First, you have the fountain of misinformation in a mini-skirt known as Gretchen Carlson completely distort Maher’s point. No, Gretchen, Maher was not saying that health care reform was a done deal before the protests. He was actually saying the opposite, that health care reform was dying a slow death until the teabaggers turned public opinion against them with their racist and homophobic behavior.
It is interesting that Bolling claims that the tea partiers don’t like being called teabaggers, when it was the group that assigned themselves that nickname. However, Bolling’s real mission was to explain away why nobody cheered when Maher asked if there were any teabaggers in the audience. In order to perpetrate the lie that the Tea Party is a large grassroots movement, Bolling had to blame Maher’s choice of terms for the lack of audience identification and response. The audience was not clapping because of the term teabagger, not the fact there weren’t any tea partiers in the audience.
Maher’s point about the Tea Party helping to pass health care is interesting but it doesn’t match up with reality. The truth is that the Democratic majority is so large that only the most extreme could not understand that one way or another, this bill was going to pass. Democrats already had the votes lined up for passage before the teabaggers showed their true selves during the protest on the Hill. If anything, their behavior has turned the public away from the movement as a whole.
One last point; Did you happen to notice that Fox News has revised the history of the tea party movement? Now they are supposedly a grassroots outrage that sprung up over health care reform, which is amusing because the original Fox News promoted Tea Party protests were held on April 15, 2009, which occurred months before the health care reform debate heated up. Fox News is doing their best to reinvent the teabaggers as a mainstream grass roots movement, not the voice of the angry, white, right wing fringe.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association