So the University of California Irvine has suspended the Muslim Student Union over its protest against the Israeli ambassador to the United States. The students tried to shout down the ambassador as he was giving a speech. There was no violence and according to a Washington Post editorial today, they all left the lecture hall peacefully.
On the day of the Glenn Beck rally August 28, The Post ran a 2700+-word story on its meaning, a nearly 800-word story on the media coverage of it, and another 1300+-word story on how to host a march on the Mall.
Today, that same newspaper has one dead tree story that’s about 500 words, although online that same story is 800 words with the most noticeable edit being mention of a last minute lawsuit by the event staging company that produced the Beck rally to stop this one over claims of misuse of the company’s proprietary information. A judge threw out the suit.
By the way, the online version is the first I’ve seen this week that didn’t include a photo of the Beck rally!
Meanwhile, on the front page of the Style section, there’s a 1,128-word story on how Tea Partiers are abused and misunderstood by friends and neighbors.
Andrew Breitbart has done his job. He’s offered to donate $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund to anyone who can provide proof that black Congressmen were called “nigger” during the days of the House debate on healthcare reform, thereby starting the narrative that charges of racism against members of the Tea Party folks are unfounded.
This is a typical right-wing attack on the media: raise doubt about one incident and thereby cause the mainstream media to adopt the position that all all racism charges against the right-wing are unfounded. If Breitbart can convince mainstream media that the right-wing has been wronged on one occasion, the media will sheepishly avoid the issue or write stories that always include the disclaimer that they are “alleged” charges or “never proven.”
But there are other charges of racism that are documented, including a voice message left (view clip below) on Congressman John Lewis’s (D-Ga.) voice mail. If someone was willing to do that, it’s not a stretch to believe that someone in the crowd that day hurled such epithets.
If there is video or audio evidence of the racial slurs against Lewis and Carson, it has yet to emerge. Breitbart insists they "made it up." If so, they’re good actors.
Roxana Tiron, a reporter for the Hill newspaper, said she was talking with a congressional staffer inside a House entrance to the Capitol when a "trembling" and "agitated" Carson said he and Lewis had just been called the N-word by protesters outside. "He literally grabbed me by the arm and . . . said ‘You need to come out with me,’ " imploring her to step back outside to listen to the taunts. Post reporter Paul Kane was nearby and witnessed Carson’s reaction. "It was real. It was raw. It was angry. It was emotional. And he wanted it documented," recalled Kane, who said U.S. Capitol Police prevented them from going outside. Carson later told the Associated Press the protesters had chanted the N-word "15 times." Breitbart told me the "phantom 15 words" is "beyond absurd."
Through spokesman Justin Ohlemiller, Carson stands by his assertion. The spokeswoman for Lewis, Brenda Jones, insists he and his chief of staff heard repeated uses of the N-word. They are declining interviews, she said, because they don’t want to "fan the flames of destructive language."
Breitbart’s $100,000 challenge may be publicity-seeking theater. But it’s part of widespread conservative claims that mainstream media, including The Post, swallowed a huge fabrication. The incidents are weeks old, but it’s worth assigning Post reporters to find the truth. After all, a civil rights legend is being called a liar. That aside, there’s serious money at stake.
Perhaps The Post will try to ferret out the truth about the charges at the rally. The proof Breitbart wants is a video. It is unusual but not impossible that no video existed. This was not a planned event at which there were many cameras. How many, I’m not sure, but the lack of videotape doesn’t not mean it didn’t happen.
What happens when a print reporter quotes someone, most likely without video and possibly without an audio tape? Is that quote then subject to video proof?
At the end of the day, the right may get its wish by raising doubt about just one incident of racism to disprove any charge of racism. It will be interesting to see how the MSM reacts to the right’s broadside. If past is prologue, look for a meek MSM to cower.
Further assessment – this took longer than I should have spent on it.
Above is the last sentence in a long, detailed explanation with electronic images of why the author (Mediate’s Philip Bump) thinks the now infamous photo of Tea Party founder Dale Robertson is not a fake. Robertson had said he never seen examples of racism at Tea party events. Then this photo of him was circulated.
In today’s media environment, just by spending so much time and energy debunking the myth that it’s a fake reinforces the message that it’s a fake.