Who Ordered the Petard?

Scott at Powerline is incensed that the folks at CNN and MSNBC were all giggle-snorting over the Tea Party rallies unfortunate choice of the verb "teabagging."
The star hosts of CNN and MSNBC news shows have notoriously derided the tea party demonstrations around the country with reference to the practice of teabagging (which I had never heard of before they brought it up). As John noted, both networks' "journalists" used the rallies as an occasion for childish sexual innuendoes -- in the case of MSNBC, the same obscene teabag "joke" was repeated 51 times in a 13-minute segment.

The Media Research Center detailed the teabagging references in an informative press release. The Huffington Post noted the references as well as more "jokes" in the same vein (including a video of Cooper's jape, over which David Gergen cluelessly chortles).

While sitting in for Keith Olbermann on April 15, MSNBC's David Shuster packed the teabagging puns into his report on the protests. Shuster is like a juvenile student who has commandeered the loudspeaker system at his high school to commit the prank of a lifetime. Maybe it was just a case of Olbermann's writers feeding Shuster the same good stuff they usually give to Olbermann.

Andrew Sullivan is giddy; he seems to think the phenomenon is a big ball of fun.
Well, of course you know why, Scott asserts. It's because Anderson Cooper is "widely reputed" to be gay, and -- gasp! -- Andrew Sullivan and Rachel Maddow are "of course public homosexuals." (Public homosexuals? I'm pretty sure they're homosexuals in private, too.) Scott doesn't say anything about David Shuster's sexual orientation, but he was just sitting in for Keith Olbermann, and you know how he is with that perfect hair, the trendy glasses, and those suits....

So it's all a big gay conspiracy. We queers somehow coerced these ignorant patsies into using the term "teabagging" -- including Scott, who claims he never heard of it -- just so they would come up with all these rallies so all of our gay correspondents could then make fun of them on national TV. It was all a part of the Radical Homosexual Agenda, Item 13, paragraph 2: "Trick the straights into making complete fools of themselves by using gay code words in public (see Lexicon in the Appendix)."

I'm sorry, but when you set yourself up as the Party of Fiscal and Moral Responsibility and then don't even bother to check with the nearest teenager -- straight or gay -- as to whether or not it might pass the laugh test, you deserve all the derision and mockery you get. Getting all huffy and pearl-clutching about being hoisted on your own petard makes you look even more like a clueless dork. And if what I've heard from one of my commenters at Bark Bark Woof Woof is true, the organizers of the rallies actually knew what "teabagging" meant and went ahead with it anyway.
But the term was chosen intentionally - generally it became an in-joke among the protestors which caught on quite easily (because let's face it, it's not really a very in-joke as everyone knows what it means) but it did have the effect of finally getting coverage in the mainstream media, because the protests had been oddly ignored in favor of much smaller protests against things like AIG.
Scott ends his tantrum by demanding that all those snotty queers apologize to the good citizens who are Google and Wikipedia-deprived, and he wants CNN and MSNBC to do something.
There is not only something funny going on here, there is a story here. These supposed journalists and their networks (or publisher, in Sullivan's case) have rather seriously insulted the citizens who colorfully took to the streets to air respectable views in a most civil fashion. If they had any decency, Cooper et al. would apologize for their vile reference to sexual practices in the context of ordinary citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.
Oh, so Scott thinks the people took to the streets to "air respectable views in a most civil fashion," does he? Like the posters with the signs calling President Obama "Chairman Maobama" and labeling him as Hitler, or making pointed references to his race? If that's "respectable," then why are they getting all upset about sly references to teabagging? Oh.... because it's gay.

Well, the folks at Powerline will get their chance to set the record straight, so to speak. I hear they're planning a huge series of anti-tax rallies over the Fourth of July weekend. And in keeping with the summertime theme, they're going to be festivals celebrating water sports.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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