The recent antics of newly-minted Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, offered in opposition to the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, have provoked comparisons to McCarthyism from some of Cruz’s Senate colleagues. Clay Waters, Monday, whined that the New York Times, in a news story and op-ed column, had reported said comparisons. Waters declined to detail why Cruz is being subject to them or to make any case for either the comparisons or the reporting of them being inappropriate. Waters’ article is unexceptional–basically Newsbusters’ usual nonsense–but it is a useful spotlight for the state of affairs in the Newsbusters’ corner of the far-right fever swamp.
It’s a standard technique at Newsbusters to identify any view not emerging from that particular plot of ideological bottom-land as “liberal,” and thus that of a blood enemy, even when it’s being voiced by other conservatives (the kind not approved by Newsbusters). The present fantasy narrative of the far-right’s activist base–the element of American politics the press carelessly labels “the Tea Party”–is that of embattled reactionary rebels fighting not only an omni-powerful liberal Establishment but a hopelessly liberal, treacherous, and entrenched Republican Establishment, as well.
Reflecting this fantasy, Waters’ headline refers to “Tea Party Sen. Ted Cruz,” rather than “Republican Senator.” His opening identifies Cruz as a “Tea Party politician.” Though Waters offers excerpts from some articles that identify Cruz as a Republican, he at no point does this himself. Most interesting, considering the fact that it’s a standing gripe, by Newsbusters, that the press sometimes declines to provide a party identification for Democratic politicians caught in scandal. Today alone, in fact, Newsbusters ran three different articles about various press organs failing to identify former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. as a Democrat.