In the runup to Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally on the National Mall last month, a number of prominent media ouetlets hyped accusations of racism targeting a small-time blogger who advised visitors to steer clear of some of the more dangerous neighborhoods in Washington.
Now it has come to light that a prominent NAACP employee, Curtis Gatewood, also a "field director" for the upcoming One Nation march - organized by the NAACP and various labor unions, including the AFL-CIO and the SEIU - has made numerous anti-American and anti-Semitic statements in the past.
Will the media call One Nation out for this one individual's statements as they did the Restoring Honor rally? Will they paint this employee as representative of the rally's attendants, also as they did with Beck's event? Or will they ignore or downplay these statements, despite their dramatically more egregious nature?
Gatewood identifies himself on his Facebook page as the Second Vice President of the North Carolina NAACP State Conference, and is also, according to this flyer, a North Carolina "field director" for the One Nation event.
Among Gatewood's more offensive remarks was this one, from a July 4 post on his Facebook page:
"TO AMERICA - HAPPY 4TH OF YOU-LIE! ‘THE HOME OF THE BRAVE [or did you mean to say ...OF THE 'SLAVE?']'; ‘THE LAND OF THE FREE [or did you mean to say .. OF THE 'TREE' where my ancestors were hung for recreation?]'; ‘SWEET LAND OF LIBERY' (sic) [or did you mean to say ‘CHEATED LAND FROM BIGOTRY'? THERE WILL BE NO ‘INDEPENPENCE (sic) DAY' until the ‘TRUTH .. MAKE YOU FREE'! MEANWHILE HAPPY YOU-LIE."
Gatewood also made numerous offensive statements about black Republicans, including calling RNC Chairman Michael Steele "HNC - Head Negro in Chains." He also wrote the following in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper:
Negroes are being rented throughout our state and country. In my opinion, the best national example of a ‘rented Negro' is former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. This Negro was rented for the sole purpose of helping the incompetent and distrustful President Bush sell the world an illegal intent to violently remove Saddam Hussein from the office of Iraqi president and wrongfully invade/occupy Iraq. Now that the war is on and Colin Powell's Negro-lease has been terminated, if Powell is seen near the White House he might be arrested. But even worst than ‘rented Negroes,' are those Negroes such as U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice, U.S. Supreme Court Judge Clarence (‘Uncle') Thomas, and several thousands of other certain so-called ‘educated' Negroes throughout the state and nation who have been bought and paid for! Even as the Supreme Court recently and rightfully ruled that the U.S. run concentration camps in Guantanamo Bay are illegal, Bush could count on his bought-and-paid-for Negroes to ‘stay the course.'
Gatewood also has a penchant for blaming catastrophic events on political decisions, policies, or individuals he does not agree with. He claimed that God "woke Americans up on 9/11" and claimed that Hurrican Katrina was "God's scolding rebuke" for "radical Bush appointments and more disastrous/illegal policies."
Those sorts of comments usually garner heated criticism when uttered in conservative corners. Indeed, plenty of Gatewood's comments appear to be highly offensive to left-wing sensibilities. For instance, Gatewood suggested on a North Carolina radio show that a "driving force" behind immigration to the Untied States is a desire to sell drugs to black people.
Gatewood claimed that "Jews" and the Fox News Channel are trying to get Obama killed. He also channeled more run-of-the-mill left wing criticism, claiming that the Tea Party movement is "driven by the same philosophy as the KKK - ignorance and racial hatred." At least Keith Olbermann agrees with him on that last one.
In sum, Gatewood has made some astoundingly ignorant and offensive claims. I emailed him asking for comment. He replied thusly:
Other than the good news of a train that is headed to Washington being driven by the engine of love, hope, equal opportunity, jobs, education and peace, I have no comment. This country no longer has the time for the divide and conquer strategies which are being desperately played by those who seek to stop the change Americans voted for. I am happily inspired by the spirit and vision of "One Nation"! Again I ask, any man, woman, or child, who seeks to "work together" in the pursuit of meaningful jobs, quality education for all children, afordable housing, love, peace, and justice for all, should seize this moment to join me and tens of thousands of others.
It is time for us to let our LOVE do the talking. Enough of the debates about who is or who is not a "racist". Let's let our LOVE do the talking.
When I asked about the vast chasm between these comments and his numerous hateful, divisive, and offensive (and occasionally racist) statements as documented on YBH, he replied simply: "Have a nice day Mr. Markay. Good try. :) Thanks!"
Neither the NAACP nor One Nation returned requests for comment.
So will the media even mention these unbelievable statements from an official organizer of the One Nation event? Remember, many reporters seized on the seemingly innocuous advice of blogger Bruce Majors to steer clear of areas of Washington with, historically, higher crime rates.
"Racism accusations fly on eve of Glenn Beck rally" blared an Associated Press headline about the reaction to Majors's blog post. "Tea Party Blogger Accused of Racism in Beck Post" read another AP headline.
Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow pushed the meme on their respective MSNBC shows. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson said the post was intended to "scare white people." And of course, lefty blogs, including the Huffington Post, Think Progress, and Talking Points Memo, were quick to paint Majors as a racist, and as representative of the larger crowd of Beck fans attending the rally.
Of course we can argue all day about whether Majors's map was rational or reasonable (I happen to live well within the area he advised visitors to steer clear of), but it should be perfectly clear that his post was comedy compared with the venomous statements made by Gatewood in recent years.
And while Majors had absolutely no affiliation with Beck or his event, Gatewood is a field director for One Nation, and the vice president of the NAACP's North Carolina conference. In other words, his views have a far greater bearing on the One Nation event than Majors's did on the Restoring Honor rally.
If One Nation comes and goes without any media chatter about Gatewood or his comments, it will demonstrate yet another double standard of which conservatives bear the brunt.