Media Double Standard in Coverage of Immigration Protests vs. Tea Parties

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Weekdays with Bernie" segment tonight: As we told you, thousands of people in Phoenix gathered over the weekend to protest a new state immigration law. The crowds got rowdy at times. Check out this video of protesters throwing plastic bottles at police, or this where a man with a camera was attacked by one of the protest organizes. The mainstream media largely ignored these incidents, a stark contrast to the big headlines made by largely peaceful Tea Party protesters.

Joining us now from Miami, Fox News analyst Bernie Goldberg, author of the book "A Slobbering Love Affair." And Bernie, why are we surprised when we have...


INGRAHAM: ...some thugs out there in Phoenix over the weekend causing trouble. And we don't know who is responsible, but there was thuggish behavior. Meanwhile, still hearing about the Tea Parties that were largely peaceful, of course.

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GOLDBERG: I'm not surprised. If you understand one fairly obvious truth, everything else really fits right into place. And that is that if the lame-stream media basically sympathizes with your cause, they're going to treat you one way, and if they don't sympathize with your cause, they're going to treat you another way.

So if one idiot at a Tea Party rally throws a stink bomb at a cop, the story is going to be played basically as the guy throwing the stink bomb, there was an unruly crowd and all of that. But if you have the pictures that you just showed with people throwing bottles at cops and all of that, it's going to be portrayed as a mainly, largely peaceful rally.

I don't have a problem with that part. It is mainly a peaceful rally. But so are the Tea Party rallies, and they're not portrayed that way. They're portrayed as bigoted and angry and all of that.

INGRAHAM: Well, we look at the review, Bernie — yes.

GOLDBERG: It fits the narrative. It fits the narrative.

INGRAHAM: Yes, we — we look at that review, whether from CNN or some of the other networks, and they report on the protests, angry protests, because of basically the mean immigration law. So the focus turns to the discriminatory law and why that is compelling people to act out on their, you know, their firmly and rightly held beliefs.

GOLDBERG: That's absolutely true. I read a lot of the stuff, and that's what they do. Even when they acknowledge that there were some people in the crowd that were unruly, they portray them as victims of the people who passed the law. They were only unruly because they're frustrated at the law.

There was an old song years and years ago that said accentuate the positive, de-emphasize the negative. Well, if the lame-streams agree with your cause, then they accentuate the positive and de-emphasize the negative. But if they don't — and they don't with the Tea Party people — then they do it just the other way around. They emphasize the negative and de-emphasize the positive.

INGRAHAM: To further illustrate this double standard, I want you to listen to this sound bite. This is David Plotz on, and he was talking about what needs to be done to all those fat cat Wall Street types. Let's watch.



DAVID PLOTZ, SLATE.COM: The behavior of Wall Street is absolutely disgusting, and we shouldn't, you know, talk to them, try to persuade them. We should burn them down. We should, like, go after them with pitchforks, knives, guns, clubs we find, mace, anything, because it's appalling.


INGRAHAM: This is on a podcast, and one of the other participants said, "Well, you didn't really mean," and he basically didn't back down at all. And again, if a conservative commentator had said anything approaching that — I mean, Sarah Palin gets criticized for having targets on her electoral spreadsheet on her Web site. And then this guy is, like, take the guns, take the knives, and we're all supposed to say, "Ho hum."

GOLDBERG: Look, Laura, if you had said something like that or if Bill O'Reilly had said something like that, or if Rush Limbaugh had said something like that, it would be, "There's an example. You see that? Laura Ingraham, you know, hateful person."

Again, it fits the template when a conservative says something. It fits the narrative, and the narrative is that conservatives are nasty people, by and large. That's the lame-stream media's narrative on that.

But when somebody like this, a liberal says it, they say, "What's the big deal? He didn't really mean it. He doesn't really want to see those people killed."

But what would happen if, God forbid, some nutjob went out and took action against somebody on Wall Street because of that? Do you think that the media would play connect the dots and go back to him? They wouldn't. But whenever something terrible happens in the culture, some really terrible thing like an explosion or a bombing, they play connect the dots back to people who do what you do for a living, people in talk radio.


GOLDBERG: That's the double standard again.

INGRAHAM: Yes, meanwhile, like Bill Ayers can keep going around and giving speeches and, you know, with his past and his unsavory involvement.

Bernie, I want to talk about the fact that President Obama made a decision to comment on this bill in Arizona before it was signed into law on Friday, and he raised the possibility that his legal team would find, you know, there to be civil rights violations. He weighed in on a state law issue. Do you find that to be unusual, especially given how the polling is going on this, where most of the country is in favor of laws like this?

GOLDBERG: Well, it's — it's one of those difficult positions because most of the country feels this way, but Barack Obama understands that the Republicans are going to have a hard time winning things — not in November. They'll win in November. But in big national elections if they don't have the support of Latino voters. So he goes after a law like this. I'm sure he believes that it's a bad law. But he goes after it because it also unifies Latinos to his side and against the Republicans, I think.

INGRAHAM: And Bernie, finally, the "South Park" issue continues to bubble up. Now I guess...

GOLDBERG: This is great.

INGRAHAM: ...if you're a Muslim — if you're a Muslim, and you're offended by something people do on television, you can get them to change their programming. Tell that to Christians or Catholics who are offended by what they did to the Virgin Mary and Jesus on South Park.

GOLDBERG: This is great. "South Park" takes on Jesus, takes on Jews, takes on Hindus, take on every sacred thing in our culture, and they're seen as — and, by the way, fine. If you think it's funny, that's fine. But the parent company, Comedy Central, only when a group of crazy Muslims complain do they suddenly lose their guts and they censor the episode on "South Park." They bleep every reference to the Prophet Mohammed. And it's wait a second, you guys are gutsy and brave and all this when it's about Jesus, but not when it's about Mohammed. Could it possibly be because you know that Christians aren't going to go out and blow up the building that Comedy Central is located in, but you're afraid that radical Muslims might? This is — this is pathetic.

INGRAHAM: Yes, and Bernie, you know what I say? Where is Larry Tribe?

GOLDBERG: This is cowardice.

INGRAHAM: Yes. Where is Larry Tribe and all these other First Amendment warriors out there saying you shouldn't have done this Comedy Central? They're all silent. Isn't that interesting?

Bernie, we appreciate it.

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