CNN's Brianna Keilar Resurrects 2010 Tea Party Spitting, Racial Epithets Smear

November 15th, 2016 6:46 AM

On CNN Newsroom Monday, host Brianna Keilar claimed that she covered an incident or incidents involving Tea Party "people" (plural) who spit on members of Congress and hurled racial slang terms at African-American members of Congress.

In the Tea Party's seven-plus years of national presence, there is only one known event involving two separate incidents when what Keilar referred to could conceivably have occurred. Despite what Keilar claims took place, and despite the presence of hundreds of fellow protesters and dozens of phone and other cameras at the incidents, no one has ever proven that anyone deliberately spat on a member of Congress, nor has anyone proven that racial epithets or slang terms were hurled. The available evidence indicates that these things never happened.

Meanwhile, leftist temper tantrums devolving into physical violence and property destruction, as fellow NewsBuster Jeffrey Lord notes in the video segment which follows, have been almost routine occurrences for almost 50 years. Here is that CNN video segment:

Transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post):

BRIANNA KEILAR: Jeffrey, I want to ask you about this first, because something Donald Trump said there really sticks out to me. He said "if my people were to protest." He means his supporters. But he is now the President-elect. Aren’t they all "his people"?

JEFFREY LORD: Well, sure, they’re all his people, but Brianna, I mean, I have been around, my gray hair betrays me. I remember when the American left was doing this to Lyndon Johnson and poor Hubert Humphrey in 1968. This is what they do. In our day, it's Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter. They go out on the street and they protest and they break windows sometimes or they get violent. This is what they do. Donald Trump is just merely their latest opportunity to do this.

KEILAR: I mean, I’ve seen this on both sides. I — look, I certainly hear what you’re saying about the violence, but I’ve covered Tea Party protests on Capitol Hill, where people spit on members of Congress, where African-American members of Congress were called slang terms, racist slang terms.

The conversation continued, but we need to stop here, because it is overwhelmingly likely that Keilar is making things up.

The only known visible incidents where what she described could conceivably have happened took place on March 20, 2010, the day The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was to be voted on in Congress.

Jack Cashill documented the first incident in the following video (slightly condensed; Cashill's full original is here):

Key segments:

... A group of black Democrats chose to avoid the (Capitol Hill) tunnel and walk right through the protesters to the Capitol. Equal opportunity in their protest, the citizens booed the black congressmen as lustfully as they booed the white ones. But that was it. As the Congressmen made their way to the Capitol, nothing happened. There was no violence, no threats of violence, not even any profanity. If there were any racial slurs, no one seems to have heard them. "I didn't hear the slurs," said House Whip James Clyburn who walked with the group. How could he? Not one of the many videos shot that day recorded any. They did record, however, hundreds of people expressing their dissent against the bill that the majority of Americans deeply oppose.

... (as to the person who accidentally delivered what Cashill described as "flying spray" in the direction of Congressman Emanuel Cleaver) Cleaver's office immediately sent out a release saying that the man had been arrested but that the saintly Cleaver had declined to press charges. But it was not true. Said the Capitol Police: "There were no elements of a crime, and the individual was not able to be positively identified. The video supports the police."

No matter. On the word of Cleaver alone, the McClatchy papers ran with this absurdly false and inflammatory headline that very afternoon "Tea Party protesters scream 'n***er' at black congressman."

The McClatchy-owned Kansas City Star, Cleaver's hometown paper, would soon add, "Some Tea Party supporters spat on Cleaver Saturday on Capitol Hill because the U.S. Congressman is black."

... Despite the offer of a $10,000 reward (made by the late Andrew Breitbart, who was there; Breitbart later increased to $100,000 — Ed.), no one has been able to produce evidence of a single racial slur. Please spread the word and put this lie to bed.

Here's more from Cashill from a March 30, 2010 column he wrote for American Thinker, including his reference to an extremely dubious second incident (paragraphs excerpted are not in the same order as they appeared; italics added by me):

... Nor is there any reason to believe Congressional Black Caucus member Andre Carson (D-IN) ... Carson told a story too outsized to be anything but willful propaganda.

According to Brian Beutler in the Talking Points Memo posted at 5:41 PM on that Saturday, March 20, Carson had "a particularly jarring encounter with a large crowd of protesters screaming 'kill the bill' ... and punctuating their chants with the word 'n***er.'"

Although Carson claims to have been standing next to Lewis, Lewis again provides no confirmation. He is quoted only as saying, "People have been just downright mean." Regardless, it is Lewis who is the subject of Beutler's headline, "Tea Partiers Call Lewis ‘N****r.'" (For the record, Beutler, a recent Berkeley grad, has written for the American Prospect, The Nation, Mother Jones, and The Guardian.)

Carson claims that the incident occurred when the group was walking from the Capitol. The Cleaver incident allegedly occurred while the group was walking to the Capitol. The lack of any audio or video evidence of at least two incidents of a "large crowd" of protesters shouting racial slurs should have killed this story before it left the gate.

... If it were not for those damn ubiquitous video cameras, House Democrats and their media allies would have gotten away with it entirely. Instead, they must content themselves with a victory only among those who rely for the news on an increasingly myopic major media.

A Larry O'Connor video concerning the second incident essentially accomplishes what Cashill did with his video relating to the first.

Thus, the default assumption here, absent new evidence, is that Brianna Keilar is a "myopic major media" figure who still believes what has become an urban legend.

One must acknowledge that there is a tiny chance that Ms. Keilar is thinking of another separate incident sometime during the past seven years which virtually no one else recalls besides the two noted here. If so, she needs to provide verifiable specifics. Especially after her network's documented collusion with the Hillary Clinton campaign and its intensely biased coverage during the later stages of the 2016 presidential campaign, there is no reason that either she or her network are entitled to any presumption of credibility based on their word alone.

The fact is that if Keilar is referring to the March 2010 incidents described above, what she claims was done and said by Tea Party "people" (plural) is only in her imagination. It didn't happen.

Instead, again unless she's referring to another incident, Keilar has perpetuated a false smear of Tea Party protesters, concerning which she owes her audience, the Tea Party and the entire nation a full apology and retraction.

Finally, even if Keilar can cite a separate documented and proven incident as she described it, that would be one incident in seven years. Her attempt to draw equivalence between the conduct of Tea Party protesters and leftists who have engaged in violence and destruction with numbing frequency for decades and have no interest in stopping is outrageous.

Cross-posted at