‘A disregard for the facts’

Greta Van Susteren raised an argument on Fox News that the network’s viewers don’t usually hear: Tea Partiers are careless when it comes to the facts.

“You know, I see a lot of good, hard-working Americans who are in the Tea Party movement. And then, you know, from time to time, I see things like, you know, today, I wrote on Gretawire a blog [post] about what’s going on within the Tea Party movement to Senator Orrin Hatch. I mean, he’s getting attacking by a small portion of the Tea Party movement for not being Tea Party-ish enough, and it fundamentally goes around the balanced budget amendment, which is the mantra of the Tea Party movement.

“But if you do a little research, Senator Orrin Hatch going back to 1979 in the U.S. Senate was pushing a balanced budget amendment. Yet some of these people in the Tea Party movement won’t recognize it. They won’t look at the facts and they go after him. So it’s, like, even within the Tea Party movement, there is, you know, there’s a disregard for the facts.”

TPM has a video of the comments.

Now, those who’ve paid any attention to American politics lately surely know that the Tea Party crowd isn’t especially concerned with pesky facts. Greta Van Susteren wasn’t exactly breaking new ground.

What was different is that Fox News has partnered with the so-called “movement” since its inception, making on-air criticism like this rather unusual.

We apparently know what it takes for Fox News personalities to criticize the Tea Party crowd: far-right activists have to go after a Republican the network likes.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.