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Kate Zernike on disaffection and the tea party

No movement has better captured the sense of disaffection currently pervading American society than the tea party.  Here to help us understand this movement is a woman who spent some time on the inside. Kate Zernike is a New York Times reporter who was on the team there that shared the Pulitzer Prize in 2002. She is also author of the book “Boiling Mad: Behind the Lines in Tea Party America.”

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.


  • Lovcol

    You didn’t mention that the new face of the KKK is the Tea Party.  No more white sheets.  They didn’t become too resentful until we got a black president.  Never mind the fact that some of their children were killed in a war that never should have happened; where were they then?

  • RoBo

    What?!   Zernike said ” Had we had a Republican president in the White House when the economy collapsed…”  We DID have a Republican president, George Bush, when the $700B in bailouts were made and when the Dow-Jones Plunged 40%. She’s already rewriting history.

  • Cal Canuck

    Kate Zernike is nothing but a liar for her corporate masters…

  • TheTruth

    Who let the pee-bagger-nutter, Zenike, on the set of Need To Know????

    “No movement has better captured the sense of disaffection currently pervading American society than the tea party.”   SERIOUSLY???? What a crock of POO!! OWS ARE “mainstream” America, NOT those racist nutters, the pee-baggers! Why is Need To Know giving these fringe wing-nuts the air time?? They do NOT represent what America is. They represent the KKK and the neo-nazis.

  • Green Tea

    you are cow-towing to the establishment conspirators (Big Biz-Big Gov) who WANT us 99% to be divided, so they can continue their dance. 

    If you really want “TheTruth”, objectively research all sides.

    “(Judge) not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” –  Martin Luther King:

  • Green Tea

    The Tea Party is the new face of the Underground Railroad.

    The KKK are southern democrats who owned slaves, started the Civil War and who voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    Where are we now? Supporting our troups 100%, who are defending womens’ rights, education, etc against terrorism.

    Who are the 99%? Conservative and progressives fighting the back-room deals. Read your George Orwell. The BIGS factions look like they are at odds, while they strike the deals in darkness.

  • Green Tea

    So are you. The bottom of the market occurred in March of 2009, when Obama was in office and after his Feb 2009 stimulus package. Both he and Bush bailed out the bigs while we got sold out.

    UN-Employment was at 5% when Bush was in office. It is now over 9%.

  • dtm868

    I must respond to some of what Green Tea and the interview starring Kate Zernike on the tea party by saying this.First of all.I know for a fact that the new tea party protesters and the occupying wall street protesters is not represent 99% of the USA population.I know for a fact that this whole tea party movement is not the new face of the underground railroad.Although,everybody in this tea party is not racist.There is some racist,etc. in this tea party.Green Tea is telling some lies.The KKK was really created by confederate veterains between 1865 and 1866.The Ku Klux Klan is also a right wing hate group.The Anti-Defamation League has also said this on their website.Most republicans was against the civil rights act.Not everybody is not supporting the troops 100%.I can find or have some information that proves what I say.

  • dtm868

     Green tea is trying to rewrite history about what he or she is said on this website.Although,there are a lot of reason why the economy is bad at this time.If you really want to know some facts about whom or what is to blame about this bad economy.Go to,title:”the real reasons the economy is bad”.This person at yahoo answers name eskie lover said some facts about why the economy is bad.Look at what is titled: “5 reasons why our economy is bad” at

  • Samuel Johnson

    I watched the episode that aired with Kate Zernike from the Tea Party.  She is a liar.  The Tea Party is so cunning that I heard from a very credible source that they hired some blacks to be on there side, so that it wouldn’t look as if they were racist against Barack Obama.  They used reverse tactics that businesses used during the labor movements in the late 19th and early 20th century when they hired scabs.   They even paid people to say things on television and in other forms of media that would not have otherwise have been said.   The whole movement is racist based.  It is not a movement started out of the discontent with what is going on in Washington (politics) or the economy.  The economy and politics among other ideals are what they use as a base in arguments to say that Barack Obama should be ousted.  They use the problems that are going on at present, as a proof in argument that Mr. Obama should not be President, when much of their proof, the President has no control over.   The movement’s main focus is to get rid of Barack Obama because he is the first black President.  
    The truth of the matter is that President Obama has been trying to help with the issues facing America but the Tea Party along with many other factions in society try and block every effort that he makes.  When he fails because of their deceitful works and practices, they hide their hand and say “see I told you so, he does not need to be president because he doesn’t know what he is doing”.   They use such tactics and many more.  The tea party is based on lies and racism.   Be wise and see what they are doing.  Do not be duped by their tactics or games. 
    The Tea Party has reached way up into Washington. They employ many to help with the effort of making sure that Barack Obama is a one term President.  They scare politicians by telling them that they will vote them out of office if they don’t do what they say.  They use the farce or disguise that they represent main stream America, but in actuality they are not that big. 
    The present movement against Wall street has the potential of becoming very large and wide spread.  The majority of Americans are not rich while the mega rich are reaping the rewards of hard work of the common man.  They do not pay their fair share of taxes because of loop holes in the tax law.   The leaders of big business raise prices in almost every industry because of greed.  Take home pay is falling for the common man due to the rise in prices and many other ideals such as the reduction of pay.  People are earning less because they have less to live off of.  Many people are living pay check to pay check while the rich grow richer from the poor peoples efforts.  These are not mere clichés but the truth.  These ideals are not just happening to the uneducated but to the educated alike. 
    I am an educated man with a MBA from the University of Texas in Austin.  I make $14.67 an hour on my job at present.  It took me a year to find this job.  It is not just about job creation that Washington needs to focus on, it should be about the quality of jobs being offered and created out there.  It took me a year to find my present job.  The job market is bad. Pay is important to me and many others.  I did not struggle through school for years to make $14.67 an hour.  I graduated at the top of my class from a major university and I can only find a part time job making $14.67 an hour, this is crazy.   I am not a new graduate, I am 45 years old.  I graduated from college years ago.   Things need to change.  I got laid off of my last job because they were downsizing. 
    I mentioned my personal situation in order to state that the present movement against Wall Street will have more emphasizes than the tea parties movement, because it is based out of need.  The leaders of the Occupy Movement need to be as cunning as those who lead the Tea party.  Think like the Tea party leaders, as if you are at war.  In warfare, the art and science of fighting battles. It is concerned with the approach to combat, placement of troops, use made of weapons, vehicles, ships, or aircraft, and execution of movements for attack or defense. In general, tactics deal with the problems encountered in actual fighting. Tactical thinking attempts to coordinate personnel with the existing weapons technology and apply both to the terrain and enemy forces in a way that uses the fighting force to their best advantage.  The leaders of this new movement need to be wise and be tactical about their approach to the issues that effect the movement. 
    They need to think also about their approach on how to gain the publics fair opinion of the organization.  It want be hard because there are many in the same boat as I, barley working or not working at all.

  • Anonymous

    What a horrible segment.  Greenfield should be ashamed for the slimey way he plays to the false dichotomy so loved by our corporate media.  More of the same shameful false equivalency as well.  He exudes a feeling of superior intellect while lumping all populist movements in the same pile of know-nothings and luddites.  And his guest apparently never fully researched the subject of her book – actually suggesting that things might have gone differently with the Tea Party, if the economic collapse HAD OCCURRED ON A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT’S WATCH!  Was she on the moon during the crash and bailouts of 2008?  And how about some discussion of the astro turf aspects of the rise of the Tea Party?  The principal organizers of the local tea party events are the well-funded right-wing think tanks Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. Both of these provided support and public relations assistance to this supposedly spontaneous movement (along with Fox and the Koch brothers).  How has PBS fallen so low?  If Hitler was alive today, would we see him given equal time with his victims on TV, in the name of fairness and balance?  We can only hope that this kind of journalism gets swept away with the rest of corporate unfairness.

  • Doubting Thomas

    The Tea Party is the outcome of corporate subversion of the media and corporate collusion with fundamentalist religion to brand ‘big government’ as ‘enemy’.  Limbaugh, Oreilly et al spew their corporate apologetics and blame-the-victim capitalist whitewash to vast audiences of frustrated and insecure sheep.  Fred ‘God Hates Fags’ Phelps, John ‘Let Them Starve’ Hagee and many, many other Biblical Fundamentalist ‘pastors’ abhor the secular government intended by the American Constitution, see any crisis as an opportunity to advance the Christian Zionism they see as vital to their apocalyptic mission.  To ignore the fact that this toxic religious wave has fueled Tea Party sentiment is absurd.       

  • Growth is not sustainable

    So Bush threw you out of the plane, Obama failed to catch you and Obama is the bad guy?

  • Growth is not sustainable

    I was disappointed in this segment. Reporters are suppose to protect us from misstatements like:
     ” Had we had a Republican president in the White House when the economy collapsed…”
    And equating the Tea Party with Occupy Wall Street, when we see people Occupy cities all over the world? That’s a false equivalence… like what Fox News has been calling fair and balanced for years now.

  • Jeff

    I was disappointed in this piece. All Zernike talked about was the beginnings of the Tea Party, but not what is far more important. Where they are now. They may have started out as diasaffected with the way things are going, but quickly were subsumed by the far right wing anti-government moneyed interests. The Occupy Wall Street folks are very aware of what happened to the Tea Party and they have set themselves up to not be subsumed by a narrow agenda. The Tea Party and OWS may have startedwith similar gripes, but the Tea Party is not anywhere near the same as it started. They are a very small minority but have driven the Republican party very far to the right. Folks have also seen the results of voting in Tea Party folks, and the result is a complete stoppage of government and people are realizing that the government does needed things and in this economic climate, must do so. The result of 30 years of Republican policy is that they got what they wanted. the rich have lots of money, the government is ineffective. This is what they have been asking for, they got it. The results of that is the crisis we are in. The very rich (through the Tea Party) have this notion that doing more of the same will solve the problem they created. What is needed is a frank discussion of the problems and the OWS is doing just that. They don’t know the solution, but they and we know full well the problems from following the current course set by the very rich through the Republicans and complicit Democrats, the rich run the company for their own benefit, and no one else matters.

  • Harveyb

    I feel like I must be insane/  I listened to Kate Zernike say “If a Republican had been in charge of  the economy when it failed there might not have been a Tea Party Movement”.  Well guess what?  The REPUBLICANS WERE IN CHARGE.  GEORGE BUSH WAS PRESIDENT.  6 OF HIS 8 YEARS THE CONGRESS WAS CONTROLLED BY REPUBLICANS AND THROUGH THE FILIBUSTER THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO OBSTRUCT ALL ATTEMPTS TO FIX THE PROBLEMS.”  This woman comes across as extremely obtuse.


  • Leemortimer

    I’m not sure if Kate Zernike is repeating a Tea Party misconception or believes it herself, but it is not true that “Ross Perot handed the election to Bill Clinton.” The 1992 exit polling reported in the New York Time showed that Perot’s support came equally from George Bush Sr. and from Clinton. Thirty-eight percent of Perot voters said they would have voted for Bush, and 38 percent said they would have voted for Clinton — if Perot had not been on the ballot. Six percent would have voted for other candidates, and 14 percent would not have voted. Perot was truly the “centrist” candidate of that election year.

  • Leemortimer

    Didn’t Mitt Romney say pretty recently, “President Obama didn’t cause this recession, but he made it worse” — and then Romney had to back off the second statement.

  • jan

    What Jeff said.  We’ve lived under 30+ years of republican economic theory; lower taxes for the wealthy/slashing government services and the safety net.  If the Tea Party can’t see by now how much of a failure that policy is, they never will.