Beck's claim that tea parties not about Obama contradicted by Fox News' own reporting

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Glenn Beck has repeatedly claimed that the "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties" are "not about [President] Obama." However, Fox News' own reporting contradicts Beck's claim.

Glenn Beck, relentless promoter of the April 15 "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties," has repeatedly claimed that the tea parties are "not about [President] Obama." But Fox News itself contradicts Beck, repeatedly claiming that the protests are primarily about Obama's policies. Indeed, the website TaxDayTeaParty.com -- which Fox News has often promoted -- states that the "Tea Party protests, in their current form" originated from CNBC on-air editor Rick Santelli's February 19 "rant to expose the bankrupt liberal agenda of the White House Administration and Congress. Specifically, the flawed 'Stimulus Bill' and pork filled budget."

Beck has frequently claimed that the protests aren't about Obama. For instance:

  • On April 7, Beck said: "We're taking the show on the road next Wednesday. We will be live from the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. This ain't about parties or politics or the president -- just standing together for principles."
  • On the April 9 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Beck said: "[T]hese tea parties, again, it's not about Obama. It's about, 'Wait a minute. Nobody is listening to me.' "
  • On April 13, Beck said: "The spending is the real reason that there are 2,000 Tax Day tea parties taking place this coming Wednesday. But the media is like, 'Oh, what, the taxes? The taxes aren't that bad.' The mainstream media doesn't get it. They'll report on the tea parties just as a -- you know, it's, oh, they're just a bunch of whack-job Republicans who only care about taxes on the rich. Where were they with George Bush?" Beck later added: "But the tea parties are not about taxes. They are about the reason for the taxes, which is an out-of-control government that cannot control its own spending. Add up all of the bailouts so far, and Congress, the Treasury Department, and the Fed -- both Republicans and Democrats alike -- have spent, lent, or guaranteed a total of $12.8 trillion."
  • On April 14, Beck said: "I think the media really misunderstands what these are all about. I think we have even mislabeled them as anti-tax rallies. They are really 'government is out of control' rallies. And it started long before Obama was even a glimmer in the eye of the Democratic Party for a lot of people."

However, Fox News has repeatedly reported that the protests are primarily about Obama's policies since he was inaugurated. For instance:

  • In an April 15 article, FoxNews.com reported: "Organizers say they're steamed at government spending since President Barack Obama's administration took over." The article has since been revised and this sentence removed. The sentence also appears in an April 15 Associated Press article; the original FoxNews.com article states that the "Associated Press contributed to this report." Media Matters for America took a screenshot of the FoxNews.com article before it was revised:

Tax Day article

The revised FoxNews.com article now includes the following sentence about Obama: "Close to 2,000 demonstrators in Boston -- some dressed in colonial wigs with tea bags hanging from their glasses -- held signs and read speeches lambasting the Obama administration for its massive spending plans."

  • During the April 6 edition of America's Newsroom, FoxNews.com contributor Andrea Tantaros said of the protests: "People are fighting against Barack Obama's radical shift to turn us into Europe." Fox News also aired on-screen text stating that the "Tea Parties Are Anti-Stimulus Demonstrations."
  • On the March 25 edition of Special Report, host Bret Baier said that the tea parties are "protests of wasteful government spending in general and of President Obama's stimulus package and his budget in particular."
  • On the March 16 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly said that "big government spending protests are taking place all over the country. The latest in Cincinnati where about 5,000 folks showed up, showed their displeasure with the Obama's administration money strategy. These gatherings are being dubbed tea parties."
  • On the February 27 edition of On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren said: " 'Tea party' protests are erupting across the country. Angry taxpayers, or at least some of them, are taking to the streets in the spirit of the Boston Tea Party. People are protesting President Obama's massive $787 billion stimulus bill, his $3.55 trillion budget and a federal government that has been ballooning by the day since the president took office."

Additionally, TaxDayTeaParty.com -- which describes itself as the "Online HQ for the April 15th Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party Rallies" -- states: "The Tea Party protests, in their current form, began in early 2009 when Rick Santelli, the On Air Editor for CNBC, set out on a rant to expose the bankrupt liberal agenda of the White House Administration and Congress. Specifically, the flawed 'Stimulus Bill' and pork filled budget."

From the April 7 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Also, we're getting ready for next week's Tax Day tea parties all across the country; people to come together to let the politicians know: OK, enough spending. We're taking the show on the road next Wednesday. We will be live from the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. This ain't about parties or politics or the president -- just standing together for principles. Celebrate Tax Day probably for the first time in your life and say enough is enough.

From the April 9 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: All right. Now, let's -- at the beginning of the program, Laura Ingraham and I discussed -- you say there are things wrong in the country. I say, you know, that's our job. We're supposed to point them out. But if people are disenchanted with the Obama administration, they've got nowhere to go. There's no other alternative right now.

BECK: This -- this is why you are number one and number four. Because what the rest of the media doesn't understand is, this -- these tea parties, again, it's not about Obama. It's about, "Wait a minute. Nobody is listening to me."

O'REILLY: Right. We want a voice.

BECK: Nobody. When the left lost with Al Gore, they had Michael Moore. They had everybody there. We've got nobody --

O'REILLY: Nobody.

BECK: -- because it's not -- the Republicans abandoned the common-sense libertarians a long time ago.

From the April 13 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: The spending is the real reason that there are 2,000 Tax Day tea parties taking place this coming Wednesday. But the media is like, "Oh, what, the taxes? The taxes aren't that bad." The mainstream media doesn't get it. They'll report on the tea parties just as a -- you know, it's, oh, they're just a bunch of whack-job Republicans who only care about taxes on the rich. Where were they with George Bush?

Some of us were saying the same thing. Oh, they only care about the millionaire tax on individuals. Yeah, in New York, making $200,000 or a couple making $300,000 here in New York is a millionaire's tax. I don't think they know the math.

A third of the average New Yorker's cell phone bill now goes to taxes.

Smokers, like those in Rhode Island who are ticked off at their state cigarette tax -- it's going to rise to $3.46 a pack. Yeah, they might be at the rally. The highest in the country, by the way, for that last tax.

Or how about this one? The 10 percent tanning salon tax in Utah; the proposed streetlight user fee that would add $51 a year to electric bills in Washington, D.C.; the 3 percent bed tax -- bed tax -- on anyone silly enough to spend a night in a hotel room in the state of Nevada, that's known for Las Vegas, which has the largest hotels in the room -- in the world.

If the tea parties were only about taxes, I got news for you: They would be able to make a great case for them, because Americans pay more in taxes than on food. They pay more in taxes than they do on clothing and housing combined.

But the tea parties are not about taxes. They are about the reason for the taxes, which is an out-of-control government that cannot control its own spending. Add up all of the bailouts so far, and Congress, the Treasury Department, and the Fed -- both Republicans and Democrats alike -- have spent, lent, or guaranteed a total of $12.8 trillion. That is an amount practically equal to every dollar earned or spent in America in over a year.

I said about a month ago on the radio these tax tea parties, it's -- I mean, it's just not time for that -- meaning at the time that people didn't see this as a tax problem yet. The taxes aren't high enough yet. I am attending a tea party in San Antonio, Texas, on Wednesday. I hope you join me there. Even though the taxes aren't there yet -- oh, they're coming.

From the April 14 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Well, tomorrow is the big day for a lot of people, left and right, all across the country. I'm going to be live from the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. And we're covering the anti-tax parties all day long from coast to coast. Your World with Neil Cavuto will be live in Sacramento. Hannity will be in Atlanta, Georgia. And Greta is going to be live in Washington, D.C.

Greta is with us now. Greta, you know, I think the media really misunderstands what these are all about. I think we have even mislabeled them as anti-tax rallies. They are really "government is out of control" rallies. And it started long before Obama was even a glimmer in the eye of the Democratic Party for a lot of people.

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Glenn Beck
Show/Publication
Glenn Beck show
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