Janeane Garofalo Vs. Teabaggers: The Story So Far


Note of Disclosure: I have had a big celeb crush on Janeane Garofalo since at least 1997 so in no way am I promoting any objectivity.  I am a radical, left-wing progressive if I’m anything at all and thought this was the perfect example to use of how right wing media operates because there’s lots of video footage.  If any readers have any issues with the way I have presented the events, please feel free to leave comments below.  So let’s begin shall we?

I first became aware of this back and forth when I did my weekly check of YouTube subscriptions and caught an interview with Janeane on BreakRoom Live with Mark Maron.  In it she was describing what happened before and after a performance near Boston.  We’ll get to that video in a bit.

What I would like to do is start off with the video that started it all.  This is an interview on MSNBC with Keith Olbermann in which Janeane Garofalo charactarizes the participants of the Tax Day Tea Party “protesters” as redneck racists who are using the pretext of tax protests as a thin veneer to vent their disapproval of a black man as president.  I’m not quite sure when it aired.  The earliest date I can get is April 16th.

Right after this, Fox News rebutted on a lot of their shows, all basically saying the same thing.  What she said was crazy and out there, an insult to hardworking Americans and equated what she said with hate speech.  This you can see for yourself below with clips from Bill O’Reilly, the Red Eye Show and Lou Dobbs respectivly.

Though I must admit, I find this O’Reilly one a bit odd since while it shows the clip of Janeane, he then goes on the personal attack of GE and its chairman.  I’m assuming the point that he’s trying to make is that GE as the parent company of MSNBC is obligated to encourage left-leaning journalism and become a mouthpiece for the Obama administration since GE took the bailout money.  Therefore Janeane is allowed to spread her “hate” on air.

Now enter Ken Pittman.  Ken is a conservative talk show host based in New Bedford, MA about an hour south of Boston.  From all of the searching I’ve done on the Internet besides this local radio talk show, the only national exposure he’s had is a couple of appearences on Fox when the Feds raided a New Bedford sweatshop and started arresting illegal immigrants back in 2007.

Well Ken is watching Fox and sees how upset they are at what Janeane has said and decides that since she is performing at the Somerville Theater, he’s going to organize a protest and make her apologize.  This is where the Breakroom interview comes in as Janeane describes what happened.

Questions of Ken’s sexuality aside, the gist of her description is that after calls to the theater threatening a protest that led to the assignment of more police officers around the venue, the only two people who showed up was Ken Pittman himself and a cameraman who then followed her to a Starbucks demanding that she apologize for calling the teabaggers racist.

As you see below, she staunchly refused to take back what she said and made to me a good point.  If these teabaggers were so worried about taxes and deficit spending, why were they not protesting Bush’s rampant spending policies?

Now I would like you to listen carefully to what is being said in those two preceding videos.  Janeane states time and time again that she was followed from the theater to the Starbucks by Ken Pittman and a cameraman.  She stresses the fact that they were alone.

However Griff Jenkins, who Sean Hannity calls “our own” is said by Hannity to have confronted Janeane at the Starbucks and asked her about apologizing to the teabaggers.  He even says that he was sitting at the Starbucks having a latte when “she just happened to come there”.  Now until he said that, I was thinking that he must have been the cameraman that was with Ken Pittman who had followed her to the Starbucks but he specifically said that he was already at the Starbucks.  And any mention of Ken Pittman is glaringly absent.

So after all of this, Sam Seder and Janeane decide to pull a funny and call Pittman’s show asking about the turnout.  While a bit juvenille for my tastes, Ken says that the reason no people showed up is because the Starbucks incident happened 90 minutes before the show and he made some calls and to tell people not to come.

Ken on Cavuto recaps the events and yet mentions nothing of news correspondent Griff Jenkins or the fact that he “called off” his many protesters because the events happened 90 minutes before the show.

Look, my biggest beef with Fox is not that they are conservative.  In this country, everyone should be entitled to express their views whether I agree with them or not.  I don’t even expect them to be fair and balanced.  But real jounalism, even slanted journalism should be based upon facts.  Fox lies and misrepresents the truth on a regular basis.

Catching Janeane Garofalo at that Starbucks would in and of itself been a perfectly legit piece of journalism.  Hell, Michael Moore does it all the time.  So why lie about the circumstances surrounding it?

UPDATE: I just came across some footage from Greta Van Susteren showing Ken Pittman actually questioning her from a different angle.  I see Pittman but where is Griff Jenkins?  Is he the cameraman?  If so, did he take it from the other cameraman who was following Janeane as he was already at the Starbucks?

10 comments

  1. I’m guilty. I didn’t read the whole thing.

    I just wanted to say for the record that I protested the spending. Not by the Obama administration, but by CONGRESS. The same congress who continually screwed us while Bush was the President.

    Why didn’t I protest when Bush was President? Well, I actually STARTED my protest when the first “bailout” was passed (by the idiots in Congress, thank you very much) DURING the Bush administration.

    The second “bailout” (and the extra money ‘loaned’ to the Big 3, and etc etc etc) was simply the straw that broke the camels back. After the second bailout, I’d had enough.

    I stand for ONE THING: It behooves the Government (both parties) to keep us arguing amongst ourselves. As long as they can keep us focused on “we’re GOOD and you guys are BAD” then they can keep us distracted from the perpetual screwing that we’re getting.

    Just my two cents. You can delete it.

    Saw you at…um, the jam giveaway I think? I get easily distracted.

    Peace out.

    1. No worries. I encourage open discussion on my blog and practice a policy of never deleting a comment simply because we may hold different views. The only comments I would ever delete are those that are offensive in the extreme with no point or those that are just ad spam disguised as comments.

      But you can’t separate Bush from Congress when it comes to the first bailout. If he didn’t like it, he could have vetoed it then made Congress override that veto so they would have to take blame for it themselves. No, they are all complicit and I hold no special privileges for Obama either. In my opinion he is squandering the progressive mandate the country has given him and is betraying the people for corporate interests just like Clinton did in the 1990’s.

  2. I guess it all comes back to the fact that Congress is having a hey-day at our expense, and the figurehead “running” the government doesn’t care either.

    Which is sad.

    While I didn’t vote for this President (little L libertarian here) I secretly hoped he could make some changes. I’m afraid Congress and the entire political system is doing the same old thing. 😦

  3. If the President is a figurehead for anyone, it’s not Congress but corporate lobbies as are congressmen. Congress, especially the House of Representatives, would be the only place right now in this government that the people would have any real say because it’s a lot easier to pressure an elected official in one district then the whole country.

    While there are many issues I have with the way government runs, i don’t believe that just because it exists it is inherently bad which is why I could never be a libertarian. Representative governments only work well when people actually participate in them. I get so frustrated when someone complains about a particular policy but if asked if he’s talked to his elected representative about it, he won’t know who they are but can name the starting line up of some sports team or the entire plot to some dipshit reality show.

  4. What Garofalo said is absolutely true.

    Maybe she was a tad immature, but I wholeheartedly agree. (Actually, I don’t think it was immature. I think it was funny).

    Republicans have borrowed, and spent trillions upon trillions of dollars since the Reagan years, and I’ve never heard more than a “peep (small case “p”) from them.

    Their “outrage” over taxes, Garofalo’s comments, Chuck Norris’ fake tan, whatever they’re bitching about this week, is utterly, and completely contrived.

    If everything is “Outrageous,” nothing is.

    Without the racist vote, the right wing is rendered meaningless on a national level.

    They know.

    1. The teabaggers, anti-Obama, birthers, etc. need the constant stimulation od some crisis or another to keep them constantly pumped up; to keep the adrenaline going.

      They have decided that their lives are under immanent threat. They are encouraged in this belief by those, like Rush, Fox, & insHannity, who profit off of their constant state of aggravated hate.

      In order to stay in an agitated state, they need a constant stream of new threats, which is provided by the RWM.

      What never fails to amaze me is how willing they are to stay agitated as one reason after another is tossed aside when disproven, only to be replaced by another canard.

      Sarah Palin is a perfect example of this principle in action; she is always offended by something. If she can’t find something, she’ll make something up. Then she’ll milk it for all it’s worth. When it’s lost its effectiveness, she’ll move right to the next red flag “issue”.

      But where is any reflection with the teabaggers, etc.? These people seem to lack the capability to review their own actions. By the time the 7th or 8th incredibly important, threat to our very existence, non-issue has been beaten to death and then dropped without a word, you’d think that they would catch a clue and say, “Hey, whatever happened to the first 7 issues that were such a threat?”

      But, no, each issue is treated with the same chest thumping outrage, as if they hadn’t just been outraged over several other issues that amounted to nothing.

      In fact, instead of ever reflecting on the lack of substance in any of their made-up dangers, if they remember them at all, they list them as if they were established history.

      Indeed, where to us, when, “everything is “Outrageous,” nothing is”, to them, it’s all outrage, all the time. Facts need not apply.

      I think they’re addicted to the rush of adrenaline and the other hormones produced by a constant state of agitation that feeling threatened gives them.

  5. I am in full agreement with what Garofalo said. The bigger problem is that these people have fully realized “their” America is about to end. The election of President Obama was a slap to the face for them. Their delusion of “Father Knows Best”, as their way of life is coming to an end and they are not going quietly into that good night. If we thought the 60’s were chaotic, wait ’til these racists cut loose! God bless America, we’re going to need it!!

    1. Amen. There is actually a post in the works addressing this very phenomenon. I’m calling it extreme white panic and it’s nothing new. Every time there was a slave revolt, a black person who fought back or when desegregation happened, there was hyperbolic cries from racists about the country coming to an end.

  6. Epicurus · · Reply

    Great comedy! Fox News accusing NBC of carrying a political agenda…please, I can’t stop laughing!

  7. Rooth,

    You bring up an interesting point that I have thought about many times.

    In one of my “Jobs,” I write articles for Internet companies. One of my clients is a clinic in New Jersey, which works with opiate addicts.

    In my research for one of my articles, I stumbled upon a study that links the Stress Hormone Cycle to relapse.

    The basic idea is, addicts use opiates to cope with stress, opiates interfere with our hormones, and over time, ironically, they make people more susceptible to stress because, in essence, they burn out our system to the point that it becomes hair triggered.

    In other words, addicts at first are comforted by using, but over time their ability to deal with stress becomes even worse, and they are unable to cope with even minor issues without their bodies (Brains) reacting in a very severe way.

    The same thing could possibly be true for Wingnuts.

    They live in such a constant state of hyper alertness that they eventually burn out their bodies ability to cope.

    That would explain why they continue to freak out even when so many times before they did so for no logical reason.

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