Those crack researchers at MSNBC have done it again!
Last week, hosts Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow both did stories about a blogger whose travel instructions for folks going to Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally got posted at the Maine Tea Party Patriots website.
Included were warnings about what stops to avoid on the DC Metro.
Predictably, the liberal blogosphere had a field day with this citing it as another "example" of racism within the Tea Party.
There's only one problem: the culprit, a Washington, D.C.-based realtor, is a major contributor to the Democrat Party as well as gay rights groups.
But before we get there, here's what Rachel Maddow reported Monday with the help of the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson (videos follow with transcripts and commentary, h/t Seton Motley):
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: This weekend is the anniversary of "I Have a Dream" speech, one of the most famous speeches, one of the most famous moments in America history. This year, on the 47th anniversary of the speech, a FOX News Channel TV host has decided to use the anniversary as an occasion for a rally of conservatives in Washington at the site of the speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
I don`t purport to understand revising civil rights history so people will think conservatives were form civil rights and not against. I do not purport to understand these revisionist efforts. I`m just telling you that`s what they`re doing.
But a Tea Party group based in the great state of Maine has put out a guide for any Tea Party minded folks who might be planning on attending the rally in D.C. It`s sort of a tea partiers rough guide "I`m from out of town" guidebook for visiting our nation`s capital -- parts of it at least, parts of our nation`s capital, very specific parts of it.
Right before they list the exact home addresses for a number of Democratic politicians -- nice -- they give tea partiers traveling to D.C. for this big rally, they give them some safety advice for how a visiting tea partier protestor should visit our nation`s capital.
Quote, "If you are on the subway, stay on the red line between Union Station and Shady Grove, Maryland. If you are on the blue or orange line, do not go past Eastern Market, Capitol Hill, toward the Potomac Avenue stop and beyond. Stay in northwest D.C. and points in Virginia. Do not use the green line or yellow line. These rules are even more important at night."
There is, of course, nothing wrong with many other areas, but you don`t know where you are, so you should not explore them. Do not use the green line or the yellow line. It is dangerous. It is scary.
The whole lines. Don`t -- don`t -- if you`re coaching the turnstile and you feel like -- is it nighttime? Yes. Don`t do it!
As you can see, the green and yellow lines are two of D.C.`s central metro lines. In fact, you make it harder on yourself if you don`t take those lines, especially if you`re coming in from Maryland or, say, Virginia. I wonder if it`s rough for the people going, say, to the Pentagon, right? Not being able to ride the blue line because the yellow line is so scary.
Protecting yourself from the evil green and yellow lines would also protect you, of course, from Howard University, the country`s most prominent historically black college -- aahh! Or maybe it`s the U Street stop, the U Street stop where you`ll find Ben`s Chili Bowl, a historic restaurant that attracts luminaries and laymen alike with its sloppy beefy goodness, and at which I gained five pounds in two weeks while once renting an office across the street.
Perhaps it`s another attraction only accessible on the yellow and green lines could be the National Archives where the Constitution is? Be afraid, Constitution is there, especially at night.
Look at this other map of D.C. Here`s another map of D.C. You see the big rectangular part? If you follow the Tea Party tour guide, you will limit yourself to that little sliver -- see that tiny sliver in the middle of it? Little tiny, little thing looks like a flag on its side -- that`s it. That`s the part of D.C. you`re advised to segregate yourself within if you are visiting Washington, D.C. for the anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech.
Joining us now is Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of "The Washington Post" and MSNBC contributor and D.C. resident Eugene Robinson.
Gene, thanks very much for your time.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: If you avoided all the places in D.C. that the main Tea Party wants you to avoid, what would your experience of Washington, D.C. be like?
ROBINSON: It wouldn`t -- you wouldn`t see much of the city, obviously. You would -- you`d spend a lot of time trying to get to places accessible only on the green and yellow lines by way of the red line, but only the red line to Union Station. So, I don`t know what you`re supposed to do when you get to Union Station. Get on a train and get out of town immediately.
Look, this is -- this is obviously "scaring white people" part two, and what they have done is essentially try to put off-limits any parts of the city where these main tea partiers believe you might be more likely to encounter, dare I say, black people.
MADDOW: What are some of the things that you would miss if you were sincerely going to cut the green and yellow lines out of your life?
ROBINSON: Well, let`s see. You couldn`t -- you couldn`t go to the D.C. waterfront or the Arena Stage, one of the great theaters in the nation`s capital.
If you took seriously their prescription about where to go on the red line, of course, you couldn`t go to Catholic University, to the National Shrine, the grandest Catholic basilica in Washington. You know, I could go on and on. You`d miss the whole U Street scene, which is the most happening nightlife and restaurant scene in town.
And, of course, you would miss the newly gentrifying Eighth Street corridor, which is the kind of really hippest, most cutting edge part of town. But you don`t want to see any of that. You want to be afraid and you want to stay in this little -- this little kind of safe zone.
MADDOW: Well, you can tell my feelings about this by the way I introduced it. I know, rare. But it does seem particularly amazing to me to have this "stay away from all the parts of the city where you might encounter black people" instruction when they are going to a rally that is on the occasion of the 1963 march on Washington and the "I Have a Dream" speech.
I have to ask your reaction to the overall setting here, hosting a sort of conservative take back civil rights rally on this occasion.
ROBINSON: I have -- I have two reactions, I guess, Rachel. Number one, you know, this is being put on by Glenn Beck, who I think his main purpose here is self self-aggrandizement on an almost Napoleonic scale. I mean, and so, I think that`s really a large part of what this is about.
Now, a lot of people will come, be like a Tea Party rally, I think, in that there will be some racist elements, there will be some crazies, and there will also be a lot of people who are animated by perhaps a diffused sense of grievance who just happen to have picked the wrong pied piper. And so, those are the people for whom I guess I feel a bit sorry because I think in the end, Glenn Beck is out for himself and they`re going to be kind of left with their grievances unaddressed and feeling worse about the political process and worse about everything than before.
MADDOW: And not to mention strict instructions not to visit the Constitution.
ROBINSON: They`re not going to have any fun in Washington. Then again, we`ll all be able to eat the Ben`s Chili Bowl because there won`t be any out-of-towners there. So, there will be more for us.
MADDOW: You know, Mr. Silver Lining does it again. Well-done, Eugene Robinson. Thanks a lot, Gene. I really appreciate it.
ROBINSON: Good to be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: Gene, of course, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor.
Yes, he sure is. Too bad neither Rach nor the Pulitzer Prize winner thought to look further into the background of the blogger before making fools of themselves.
According to OpenSecrets.org, he's donated about $15,000 to Democrats since 2000, including a $10,000 donation to the DNC in 2000, a $500 donation to Howard Dean in 2003, and a $1,000 donation to John Kerry in 2004. His only recent contribution to a Republican candidate was $250 in 2002 to retired Rep. Jim Kolbe, then lone openly gay Republican in Congress.
Being a naturally suspicious sort, I decided to check OpenSecrets.org for myself. Here's what I found:
There could be many Bruce Majors in D.C. How do we know this is the same one? Well, this is what he told the Daily Beast:
"I kind of wish I hadn't given tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats, especially with the real-estate business what it is today," he said. "Now I can only give a few hundred a year to libertarians to try to make up the balance."
Majors says he also donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group, and once won a role as an extra in the sitcom Will & Grace at one of their charity auctions.
"I was going to a lot of lesbian cocktail parties raising money for Gore and then Kerry/Edwards," he said. "I'm sure they're all horrified this week."
With this in mind, do you think Maddow and Robinson would have been yucking it up at Majors' expense if they knew he was such a large contributor to Democrats as well as LGBT causes?
But the fun doesn't end there, for on Tuesday, Chris Matthews covered the story with the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page:
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Ahead of Glenn Beck`s rally this Saturday on the Lincoln Memorial, Tea Party activist Bruce Majors posted online a primer on how out-of-towners should navigate D.C. during that event. The guide was then circulated through a main Tea Party site.
In this section of this blog, or whatever, entitled "Safety and Mores," Major`s first sentence reads, quote, "D.C.`s population includes refugees from every country. Most taxi driver and many waiters, waitresses especially in local coffee shops, like the Bread and Chocolate chain, are immigrants. Frequently from east Africa or Arab countries. As a rule, African immigrants do not like for you to assume they are African- Americans, and especially do not like for you to guess they are from a neighboring country, for example, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia."
Joining me to discuss the Tea Party guide to the capital, fellow D.C. resident, Clarence Page.
You know, this is -- I don`t know, I`m going to laugh, because it`s absurdity.
CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: This is absurd.
MATTHEWS: But this is telling white folk how to get through an ethnically diverse town with a lot of African-Americans, which has been African-American in its majority I think since the Civil War. You know, I`ve lived there since I got out of the Peace Corps. These people need a special guide. It`s a regular big city, folks.
PAGE: I thought this was a satire, at first, though.
PAGE: It looks like a liberal satire or stereotyped view of what Tea Party people think.
PAGE: But it`s -- it`s essentially a guide for -- this is the sort of thing you hear from every small town person who is afraid of big cities.
PAGE: Coming from a small town, I can say this. I grew up in John Boehner`s district, as you know.
PAGE: Middletown, Ohio. And I want to tell you, we`re not all hicks out there, Chris, but --
MATTHEWS: Use your common sense when you come to a big city. But here he is, here`s Majors, also outlined -- he outlined that areas of this city we`re in right now to avoid certain metro rail lines that means subway lines and neighborhoods far from the Capitol and the National Mall. D.C. blog took Major`s restrictions and blog.
Look how they showed it. They took it. Look at the map. They Googled the map and shown it.
See the little blue area? That`s the only place in Washington, according to this blogger, it`s safe to go in Washington. I got to tell you. It`s an awful boring trip if you only do the -- that`s basically the Washington Mall from what I can tell.
PAGE: There`s also your neighborhood, in the pink zone, I believe.
MATTHEWS: No. I`m up in the far northwest up there. But anyway.
PAGE: Look how absurd this, though. I mean, the normal street life in D.C. is, you know, stay to the west of the park --
PAGE: -- or Rock Creek Park. Now, east of the park has gotten largely gentrified. This city defies `60s stereotypes from the old Clint Eastwood movies. But this is still Dirty Harry city.
MATTHEWS: You and I know that the zestiest part of the town are the areas that are most mixed --
PAGE: Oh, yes.
MATTHEWS: -- edgy, the most fun for young people. All the young people now live on 14th Street.
PAGE: And he does give props to Silver Springs and some other nice suburbs and some neighborhoods (INAUDIBLE) Capitol Hill.
For the record, these weren't the only mainstream media figures to take the bait. The Associated Press did a number of articles about Majors as well.
Would he have gotten any attention if they would have known he's lived in D.C. for thirty years and given so much money to liberals?
Yes, that's a rhetorical question.