Opinion Brief

Reacting against 'The Rise of the New Right'

Tea Party activists are outraged at the Chris Matthews MSNBC documentary which linked the grassroots movement with violent, racist extremists. Was the report biased?

An MSNBC documentary has Tea Party activists in a knot. "The Rise of the New Right," hosted by Chris Matthews, examined possible links between the grassroots movement and radical right-wing patriot groups who wish to overthrow the government. The Tea Party's various sub-organizations are now throwing their combined might at MSNBC, calling for members to boycott companies that advertise on Matthews' "Hardball" show. Is this an over-reaction, or was Matthews' report, as one Tea Party leader put it, "wrong, misleading and disingenuous"? (Watch a clip from the show)

The Left is in denial: This is just the latest example of the "liberal media’s rhetorical disdain" for the reality that America is a "center-right nation," says Rovin at Hot Air. This "poor excuse for objective journalism" was a desperate attempt to blame the "financial, and yes, social damage inflicted on this nation" in the past two years on the Right. But only Matthews' dwindling band of viewers will view this lazy "diatribe of paranoia" as anything other than a "pathetic joke.""Chris Matthews declares war on the Tea Party movement..."

MSNBC should be praised for exposing this dangerous movement: Matthews' documentary was a "valiant attempt" to understand the "vastly amorphous" Tea Party movement, says P. M. Carpenter at BuzzFlash. Of course, the Tea Party's politics are so "utterly incoherent," it's hard to define exactly what it is. But Matthews told us what its members stand for "at their pathological core" — the eradication of the "American political tradition of freely elected government" in favor of a "populist conservatism" that would thrust this nation back to 1928."Chris Matthews' 'The Rise of the (Old) New Right'"

We're intelligent protesters, not violent racists: So, according to Matthews, when the Right "peaceably assembles, voicing opinions articulately," they are nothing but "violent, irrational racists," says Lori Ziganto at Red State. Yet when the Left does it, they call it "community organizing." What a bunch of "blatant fallacies." We aren't dangerous, Mr. Matthews. "We simply love our country and refuse to be useful idiots.""Chris Matthews' 'The Rise of the New Right': Deceptions and Delusions"

Even liberals should recognize this did not do justice to the Tea Party: I'm a "fan of Matthews," says Jerry Remmers at the Moderate Voice, but even I could tell this documentary focused on the "crackpot element" of the Tea Party, and not the reality — a group "too decentralized, too localized and too fragmented" to effect any real change, stoked up by Republicans who want their votes. This new Right is "more militant in words than in actual practice," no matter how much they are demonized by "my liberal friends.""Rise of the new right, according to the old left"

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