Fox, Right-wing Media Turn A Blind Eye to Tea Party Express Using AZ Tragedy For Fundraising

››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

In the days following the tragic shooting in Arizona, Fox News and other right-wing media have attacked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for sending out an email mentioning the shootings and also asking for campaign contributions. But all of these reports have ignored that the Tea Party Express-- a group frequently promoted by Fox News--sent out two emails that used the shooting to fundraise.

Sanders Office Sends Email On Shootings Referencing Campaign Contributions

Sanders Email: Thanks 2012 Campaign Supporters, Adds That "Your Financial Support Now And In The Future Is Much Appreciated." On January 11, Sanders' office sent out an email to his supporters about the Arizona shootings that began with references to his 2012 reelection campaign and included telling supporters that their "financial support now and in the future is much appreciated." From the email, as reported by ABCnews.com:

Given the recent tragedy in Arizona, as well as the start of the new Congress, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few words with political friends in Vermont and throughout the country. I also want to thank the very many supporters who have begun contributing online to my 2012 reelection campaign at www.bernie.org. There is no question but that the Republican Party, big money corporate interests and right-wing organizations will vigorously oppose me. Your financial support now and in the future is much appreciated. Also, please do not hesitate to convey to me any ideas that you may have with regard to how we can best go forward in terms of public policy, as well as politically. While I cannot respond personally to every comment, I will read them all. [ABCNews.com, 1/11/11]

Sanders' Office Defends Email. Later on January 11, a spokesman for Sanders defended the email, saying in a statement, "As he always does, the senator devoted one sentence in a four-page newsletter to thanking his supporters and another sentence indicating that their support in the future would be appreciated." [ABCNews.com, 1/11/11]

Fox, Right-Wing Media Attack Sanders For Fundraising Email

Weekly Standard Blog: "Sanders Fundraises Off Arizona Murders." A January 11 post on the Weekly Standard blog said that "[t]his afternoon Sanders sent out a fundraising appeal, seeking to raise money to fight Republicans and other 'right-wing reactionaries' responsible for the climate that led to the shooting." [Weekly Standard, 1/11/11]

Fox Nation: "Senator Sanders Raises Money on Ariz. Attacks." A January 11 post on Fox Nation linked to an article in The Hill about the email with the text, "Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) issued a fundraising plea Tuesday in which he cited the Tucson shooting and accused 'right-wing reactionaries' of contributing to a threatening political climate." [Fox Nation, 1/11/11]

Beck's TheBlaze.com: "Socialist U.S. Senator Uses AZ Shooting To Raise Funds For Re-Election." A January 11 post on Glenn Beck's website, TheBlaze.com, included the full text of Sanders' email and began:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., sent out a fundraising email to supporters Tuesday in which he offered his personal analysis of last weekend's shooting in Arizona, tying the tragedy to "right-wing reactionaries," despite offering no evidence that the shooter, Jared Loughner, even followed politics or conservative causes. [The Blaze, 1/11/11]

Carlson: Sanders Is "Link[ing]...Together" "The Tragedy In Tuscon and [Saying] 'By The Way, I Need Cash.'" The co-hosts of Fox News' Fox & Friends discussed Sanders' email during the January 12 broadcast of the show. Co-host Steve Doocy said that "it does appear that he is fundraising on the back of this particular tragedy" before reading text from Sanders' email. The co-hosts then said:

GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): So is that appropriate? For a politician? They just can't help themselves, ok? I mean, sometimes, some of them. They can't help themselves. But is it appropriate to do this just a couple of days after the -- to link the two together? The tragedy in Tucson and by the way, I need cash.

DOOCY: And here's how he links it later on in the letter, it says, "In light of all this violence, both actual and threatened, is Arizona a state in which people who are not Republicans are able to participate freely and fully in the democratic process?"

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Wait a second, so he's saying that the people of Arizona who vote Republican have no choice? They feel they're being threatened?

DOOCY: Brian, he goes on to say, "Have right wing reactionaries, through threats and acts of violence, intimidated people with different points of view from expressing their political positions?" Send money now to me --

KILMEADE: What the --

DOOCY: -- Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont. [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 1/12/11]

On-screen text during the segment incorrectly identified Sanders as a Democrat. Doocy correctly noted twice during the segment that Sanders is an Independent. He caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate. [Whorunsgov.com, accessed 1/12/11]

Fox, Right Wing Media Turn Blind Eye To Tea Party Express Fundraising Emails On AZ Shooting

Tea Party Express Sent Two Emails On AZ Shooting Asking For Contributions. In the past few days, the Tea Party Express sent at least two emails to supporters about the Arizona shootings that ended with a request for donations. An email sent on January 10 began, "Tea Party Won't Be Silenced Following Arizona Shooting" and concluded by saying, "You can make a contribution online right now to the Tea Party Express." The email also referred to a doctored image of a Daily Kos blog post to falsely claim that a bulls-eye graphic appeared on the blog next to Giffords' name. [Media Matters, 1/11/11] From the email:

This weekend we all were horrified to hear the news of the violent shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and several others in Arizona.

One thing that surprised us was how many in the news media and liberal political figures and organizations immediately launched into an attack on the tea party movement - assigning blame for the shooting to our grass roots, Constitutionalist movement in general, and Gov. Sarah Palin in particular.

Friends, this is outrageous.

It is quite clear that liberals are trying to exploit this shooting for their own political benefit, and they used deception and dishonesty to try and smear all of us and our beliefs.

You know what the truth is? The truth is that the shooter, Jared Loughner is the one responsible for this atrocity. But liberals are trying to place the blame on society for embracing the tea party movement.

We here at the Tea Party Express find that disgusting and revolting.

This isn't a new concept for liberals. Let us harken back to the words of Ronald Reagan when he called out the Left for similar behavior in years past:

"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."

- Ronald Reagan

If Jared Loughner does have a definable political ideology it is that of a far Left anarchist. Loughner is a mentally disturbed young man who sought his ideological fulfillment from the Communist Manifesto - hardly the Bible of the Tea Party movement. He posted videos of flag burning on his YouTube channel - again, antics more consistent with Blame America First liberals, not the tea party movement.

In fact, Loughner's interactions with Congresswoman Giffords date all the way back to 2007 when he confronted her with a question he had, and received an answer he found unacceptable. You read that right - Loughner's interactions with Congresswoman Giffords date back to 2007 - well before the tea party movement had even been launched.

This was all an effort to try and demean us and diminish support for the tea party movement, since the Left could not beat us at the ballot box. Sadly way too many people in the media cooperated with this smear campaign.

The media didn't tell you that the left-wing website, DailyKos, had targeted Congresswoman Giffords, putting a BULLSEYE on her, did they? But that's just what happened.

Instead they tried to blame Gov. Sarah Palin. Friends, their hypocrisy and double standards are appalling.

This kind of media bias is a large part of why our tea party movement exists - because the voices of We The People have not been represented fairly by the news media, and listened to by our elected officials.

Well guess what: to those liberals in the news media and on the political Left who think you can silence us, you are wrong! Your efforts to try and smear us and shut us up will fail.

We have nothing to do with this awful, tragic event in Arizona. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and the victims and families of this massacre.

But we will still fight just as passionately for this country we love, and the vision of our Founding Fathers as outlined by the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

We're taking our country back through the ballot box and in the public square - through peaceful means. And we will prevail, because our ideas and ideals are stronger than the scare/smear/defame tactics of the leftists we face.

We ask you to please stand with the Tea Party Express and show your support for our efforts.

You can make a contribution online right now to the Tea Party Express - CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE.

As always, if you prefer, you may also make a contribution via mail, by sending a check to... [Yahoo News, 1/10/11]

The Tea Party Express sent out a similar email on January 11 that referred to the Arizona shootings and their aftermath and concluded with an appeal asking supporters "to help us fight back" by having "our largest fundraising day in the history of our organization." From the email:

The attack on conservatives and the tea party movement has continued over the past 24 hours. Media figures and liberal activists continue to falsely suggest that Rush Limbaugh, Gov. Sarah Palin and the tea party movement had anything to do with the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

They've launched this attack even though they know it is a total and complete lie.

During the past few days friends of the shooter, Jared Loughner, have stepped forward to say that they knew him to be a political liberal. He admired the Communist Manifesto and burned the American flag.

But many in the news media and the political Left are nonetheless still trying to use this awful tragedy to make people think that somehow Limbaugh, Palin and the tea party were responsible for this attack.

They are doing it for one reason: it is an attempt to silence us and make this patriotic, constitutionalist movement controversial - so they can try and stop the momentum this tea party movement has built.

Last night on MSNBC and liberal websites, we here at the Tea Party Express were called despicable and shameless because we won't back down.

Well guess what, friends - we're not going to back down. Not when we have nothing to apologize for, and certainly we won't just sit back while the media and liberals think they can slander us by calling us responsible for a mass murder.

Instead, do you know what we're going to do? We're going to fight back with even more determination and pride. Since we have to "pay" to get our message heard (the liberal media bias is on display like never before with this tragedy), we're asking our supporters to help us fight back.

We want to have our largest fundraising day in the history of our organization and we need your help to achieve this success.

Please, make a contribution online right now to the Tea Party Express - CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE.

You can contribute as little as $5 all the way up to the maximum allowed $5,000. And since the 2010 Midterms are over, our "maxed out" donors from before can once again contribute as much as they so choose.

To contribute, just click the button below. We're hoping more than 1,000 patriots such as yourself can afford a more generous contribution of $100, $250, $500 or more.

As always, if you prefer, you may also make a contribution via mail, by sending a check...[Ben Smith, Politico.com, 1/11/11]

Tea Party Express Fundraising Email

Fox News Relentlessly Promotes Tea Party Express

Fox repeatedly promotes Tea Party Express Tours. As Media Matters for America has documented, Fox News consistently cheerleads and promotes the Tea Party Express' numerous bus tours, by hosting the group's leaders; embedding reporters with the tours; informing viewers how "they can be a part" of the events; and providing live coverage of the tours' kick off rallies, among other things. [Media Matters, 10/19/10]

Tea Party Express Proposed To "Boost" PAC Through "Fox News Commentators." The Tea Party Express is a project of the Our Country Deserves Better Committee, an anti-Democratic PAC. In the original memo proposing the creation of the Tea Party Express, Joe Wierzbicki, a consultant with Russo Marsh, wrote that it could "give a boost to our PAC and position us as a growing force/leading force as the 2010 elections come into focus." Wierzbicki also wrote that the Tea Party Express effort could get "some mentions and possibly even promotion from conservative/pro-tea party bloggers, talk radio hosts, Fox News commentators, etc..." [Media Matters, 10/19/10]

Tea Party Express Praised "Great Television News Coverage" From Fox News. In a November 15, 2009, email to supporters, the Tea Party Express praised "some of the great television news coverage this effort has received. Media coverage is an important aspect of the Tea Party Express tours - it's all about getting our message out to millions of Americans - to inform them that there is an active political resistance against the socialist agenda of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid." The email included links to numerous segments on Fox News about its efforts. [Media Matters, 10/19/10]

Fox Also Whitewashed The Right In Accusing Dems of Politicizing AZ Shooting

Fox Attacked Only Progressives For Tying Shooting To The Right. As Media Matters noted, in recent days, Fox News has run repeated segments attacking some progressive media figures and politicians for suggesting that political rhetoric from the right inspired the recent tragic shootings in Arizona. In doing so, Fox has whitewashed right-wing media figures who have attempted to describe Loughner as a liberal and pin the shooting on "the left." [Media Matters, 1/11/11]

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, The Weekly Standard, Fox Nation
Person
Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Gretchen Carlson
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends, The Blaze
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.