For CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use the word "teabagging" in a sentence. Teabagging, for those who don't live in a frat house, refers to a sexual act involving part of the male genitalia and a second person's face or mouth.
So when the anti-tax "tea party" protests were held Wednesday across the country, cable anchors and guests -- who for weeks had all but ignored the story -- covered the protests by cracking a litany of barely concealed sexual references.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper interspersed "teabagging" references with analyst David Gergen's more staid commentary on how Republicans are still "searching for their voice." "It's hard to talk when you're teabagging," Cooper explained. Gergen laughed, but Cooper kept a straight face.
MSNBC's David Shuster weaved a tapestry of "Animal House" humor Monday as he filled in for Countdown host Keith Olbermann. The protests, he explained, amount to "Teabagging day for the right wing and they are going nuts for it."
He described the parties as simultaneously "full-throated" and "toothless," and continued: "They want to give President Obama a strong tongue-lashing and lick government spending." Shuster also noted how the protesters "whipped out" the demonstrations this past weekend.