This week, Americans of all political stripes will take to the streets -- so to speak -- to protest what they see as excessive and out of control government spending and intrusion into their daily lives. Among the many Tea Party protesters, however, will be individuals plotting to undermine the peaceful grassroots movement.
Blogger Glenn Reynolds spotted CrashTheTeaParty.org today, a website that claims to represent "a nationwide network of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are all sick and tired of that loose affiliation of racists, homophobes and morons; who constitute the fake grassroots movement, which calls itself 'the Tea Party.'"
Their plan is to "infiltrate" Tea Party protests to create the false impression that protesters are racists by … being racists. That's right, they will bring with them offensive signs and give wildly offensive interviews to reporters, all with the intention of smearing a movement that wouldn't bring those signs or give those interviews themselves. It remains to be seen whether the mainstream media will take the bait.
Mark Tapscott dubs the leftist counter-movement "Saul Alinsky on steroids" for its "by any means necessary" approach to delegitimizing its political opponents. He notes that while the group claims to employ only non-violent means, that is an old leftist canard that is often discarded once non-violent means are exhausted and whatever leftist objective is on the agenda remains unaccomplished.
The Tea Party movement has been notably non-violent by the standards of any protest movement, but especially when compared with leftist anti-war and anti-capitalist groups (a lot of overlap there). It is not beyond the pale to expect that some crazies might try to shatter the near-perfect record of non-violent protest proudly worn on the Tea Party's collective sleeve by inciting or committing an act of violence.
"[S]ome on the Left in American politics," Tapscott wrote today at the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog, "are running a KGB-like 'false flag' operation to discredit the Tea Party. The Left couldn't sell the idea that Tea Partiers are just a bunch of racists, homophobes and morons, so the Left is infiltrating the Tea Party in order to pose as a bunch of racists, homophobes and morons."
The question, as Tapscott notes, is how will the mainstream media address allegations of racism or -- God forbid -- violence. Will it parrot the claims of liberals without extensive investigation, as it did with the 'Spittlegate' incident after the passage of the ObamaCare bill? Or will it make a concerted effort to sort out fact from fiction -- and where it is unclear, report it as such?
The irony of the Crash the Tea Party "movement" (I put it in quotation marks since it is not clear, website intro notwithstanding, that this group consists of more than one person) is that it may undermine its own effort to paint Tea Party groups as outside of the mainstream.
Suppose, for example, someone who may or may not be an actual Tea Party member shows up to a protest with an offensive sign. The mainstream media cannot responsibly report that that person is undoubtedly an authentic member of the movement. The lingering doubt that the person is a member of radical leftist counter-protests groups will remain until that possibility is disproved.
But given the mainstream media's reliably hostile attitude towards the Tea Party movement, such investigation in all likelihood will not take place. It may fall to citizen journalists to expose the leftists seeking to slander wide swaths of the American people.
Tea Party groups will be working to marginalize any undercover lefties that show up with malicious designs. If you get the chance, grab a video camera (or a smartphone) and head to your nearest Tea Party.
Who knows, your footage could dispel some false accusations; citizen-journalists are turning in the most reliable kinds.