Until Friday, the New York Times had not mentioned Louis Farrakhan in a serious story since October. The Old Gray Lady tried mightily to avoid covering Democrats' and leftist leaders' past and recent embraces of the controversial Nation of Islam leader before finally — but very incompletely — giving in. Jonah Engel Bromwich's story failed to mention Congressmen Keith Ellison and Andre Carson, and ignored a days-earlier call by a Republican Jewish group for the resignations of seven "Farrakhan-connected" congresspersons.
On CNN's New Day Tuesday, co-host Chris Cuomo recapped his interview on the show yesterday with Iowa Representative Steve King as the Republican congressman "just trying to provoke conversation." This comes in the midst of King facing backlash over a tweet, agreeing with far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
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.
After the mass shooting in Tucson of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a federal judge, and other bystanders, President Obama gave one of those unite-the-divide speeches that give journalists leg thrills. We need to “sharpen our instincts for empathy,” he said.
He lamented political finger-pointing: “It's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” The initial speculation was that conservatives were responsible for the Tucson horror. Even after this proved to be false, the attacks were relentless, with a barrage of media reports on the alleged excesses and mean-spiritedness of the Tea Party and all things right of center.
On Wednesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), quoting Indiana Congressman Andre Carson's inexcusable, hateful comment at a Congressional Black Caucus event on August 22 (key sentence: "Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree"), I observed that "Carson was obviously accusing some of his congressional colleagues, whom he gutlessly would not name, of actually wanting (not metaphorically wishing) to see himself and his black colleagues lynched." I should also note that in an earlier segment of the quote originally cited by Matthew Balan at NewsBusters, Carson said, of Tea Party sympathizers wishes, "And this is beyond symbolic change." This is why I also wrote that "The meaning of the words Carson used is not arguable."
With a disregard for the truth and gutlessness similar to Carson's, Indianapolis Star columnist Erika D. Smith wrote today that the congressman "had the guts to stand up and say what we've all seen over the last three years," while also asserting that "I really don't care" if any congressmen actually want to lynch anyone. Here's more; brace yourself (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
According to the Associated Press's Steve Peoples in a Saturday evening report, presidential candidate Rick Perry, speaking at a private reception in New Hampshire (which begs the question of whether Peoples was even there), told those attending: "I don't support a fence on the border." Then, again according to Peoples, "The answer produced an angry shout from at least one audience member."
"Jane" (actually Jane Woodworth) at the YouTooCongress blog (HT Instapundit) says otherwise: "I attended that event, stood about 15 feet from where he delivered those remarks and never heard an 'angry shout.' Either the AP is making it up or it wasn’t much of a shout. Perhaps they can supply the audio." They definitely should.
Rep. Allen West (Fla.), the only Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), is considering leaving the CBC after a fellow member of the caucus practically compared Tea Party members to lynch mob members.
Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) recently told a gathering in Miami that Tea Party members "would love to see us as second-class citizens" and to see blacks "hanging on a tree."
New York Times staffer Jennifer Steinhauer reported the development yesterday on The Caucus blog. Today the Times ran a condensed version of that blog post on page A16 and headlined it "Taking Issue With Criticism," as though Rep. Andre Carson's comments were legitimate critiques of the Tea Party movement.
Using a time-honored establishment press technique, an unbylined Associated Press report out of Indianapolis this evening ("Ind. lawmaker's lynching reference riles tea party;" saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) twisted the real news about Congressman Andre Carson's inexcusable, hateful comments at a Congressional Black Caucus-sponsored event in Miami on August 22 by making the story largely about the reaction to what he said. By doing so, the AP largely diverted attention from Carson's clear primary targets: Tea Party-sympathetic congressional colleagues.
The AP report also opens by contending that what Carson said was only a "metaphor." Really.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post's Felicia Sonmez noted how MSNBC's Tamron Hall moderated the recent Congressional Black Caucus town hall where Rep. Andre Carson smeared the Tea Party by accusing them of wanting to bring back Jim Crow laws and endorsing the lynching of blacks. Former Obama aide turned NBC employee Joy-Ann Reid also attended the CBC event, but omitted Rep. Carson's attack from her report.
During the August 22 town hall in Miami, Carson, a leader within the liberal Congressional Black Caucus from Indiana, actually apologized to Hall in the midst of his inflammatory remarks against the Tea Party:
Representative Andre Carson's inflammatory attack on the Tea Party has yet to have receive any attention from the Big Three networks. As reported by Politico on Wednesday, Rep. Carson accused Tea Party-friendly members of Congress of wanting to bring back Jim Crow and went so far to accuse his colleagues of wanting to bring back lynching: "Some of them...would love to see you and me...hanging on a tree."
Jake Sherman's report for Politico noted that the "explosive comments, caught on tape, were uploaded on the Internet Tuesday, and Carson's office stood by the remarks." The Blaze, a website run by Glenn Beck, uploaded a video compilation onto YouTube on Tuesday morning which included the Indiana Democrat's smear of the Tea Party. Carson attacked the Tea Party immediately after complimenting Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Emanuel Cleaver at a CBC town hall in Miami on August 22:
[Video compilation embedded below the jump]
Are the mainstream media playing fast and loose with their coverage of the tea parties and what the tea party activists believe? Andrew Breitbart says they are, and points to accusations of racism.
Breitbart spoke at one of the tea party events held near the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. on April 15. He said his involvement in the movement began when he realized how the media would react to the Tea Party movement and detailed an incident in which Contessa Brewer's MSNBC cropped out the face of a black man in footage of a tea party event to make the movement appear to lack diversity.
"I think that we're going to have a problem if we want to start talking about founding fathers, the founding documents, what the origins of our country because the mainstream media is not going to like what you have to say, and so I volunteered myself," Breitbart said. "And on day one, I had to contend with the fact that you guys were called ‘teabaggers.' And I had to deal with the fact an unfortunately named sister, by the name of Contessa Brewer on MSNBC, before you even spoke, told you what your grievances were to the country and our dissent his patriotic presidency. This person took a photo and cut off the head of a black man, and asked is the tea party nation - are the people who are protesting Barack Obama racist? The person was black."