Naturally, conservative pundits are irate. "Really. How many more selective civility police lectures can we take from this vulgarity-clogged White House?" writes Michelle Malkin. "Obama may be the most thin-skinned President we've ever had. It'll be funny to see him apologize for his crude, offensive, and juvenile language when this book officially comes out," declares Ian Lazaran at Conservatives 4 Palin.
But amidst the knee-jerk outrage from some on the right, a few journalists have turned a critical eye to Tapper's report. This is nothing new, notes Dave Weigel at the Washington Post, pointing to a sneak peak of Alter's book by Gabriel Sherman in March that highlighted one of Alter's "more freewheeling interviews" with Obama:
Sherman's excerpt didn't get a lot of attention ... But today Americans for Tax Reform pounced on the excerpt with a news release and a quote from its president Grover Norquist. Jake Tapper of ABC News -- armed with a news hook about the president calling for "civility" in politics -- pounced. And now the story lives on.Taking that analogy a step further, though from a different perspective, Adam Serwer of the American Prospect asks: "How long before someone compares POTUS using 'teabagger' term to using n-word? Taking bets..."
Slow the process down and you can see the tea party movement doing what Tom Cruise did in the recent "South Park" two-parter that has so worried Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). Namely, it's defining as a slur, or as hate speech, a term that snarky TV hosts turned into popular parlance -- it sounds less clumsy than "tea partyers." In responding, tea partyers strike a pose not altogether different from civil rights groups criticizing politicians or media figures for stumbling over racial slurs.