Rightbloggers Dispute Racial Slur Charges By Any Means Necessary
Usually, not much. To counter imputations that they're making these ludicrous accusations to appeal to racists, they have adopted a few pre-emptive measures -- for example, finding the few black folks who have appeared at Tea Party protests and publicizing the hell out of them.
For the most part, though, they've been well advised to leave the subject alone. To do otherwise can't help, except in some backwoods jurisdictions. But as the struggle to denigrate Obama persists and heats up, rightbloggers are finding themselves less able to avoid it -- and tempted to get into it up to the armpits.
You probably heard about the rambunctious behavior allegedly exhibited by some Tea Party protesters toward some black Democratic Representatives in Washington last month, including racial slurs and even spitting on Emanuel Cleaver.
The latter incident was captured on video, but like the "Second Spitter" footage shown by Jerry Seinfeld years ago, it leaves room for doubt. A reasonable viewer might take Cleaver's reaction to the guy with his hands cupped around his mouth to indicate that something like that happened, though the spitting may have been accidental.
There was no sane reason for rightbloggers to get defensive about this; the smart play was to call such behavior wrong, if it occurred, and move on -- as did National Review's Kathryn J. Lopez, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and others.
But rightbloggers are heavily invested in two things upon which this incident touches: Tea Parties, and conservative victim status. They are thoroughly committed both to the promotion of the protests, and to the notion that -- as Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit likes to put it -- the left and its cats-paws in the "state-run media" (meaning not only PBS, but every news outlet which does not report the news as they would prefer) are out to destroy the Tea Parties, conservatives, and America.
So when Cleaver told the press that he himself never "reported" the spitting incident ("People assume I went somewhere, never done press conference, never done an interview on it and I'm not going to do it"), Weasel Zippers leapt on the fact that Cleaver had mentioned the spitting in a press conference and even reported that a perp had been arrested (a suspect had merely been detained).
There's an obvious conflict between the two accounts, which may be taken as suggesting that Cleaver was less than forthright about his role in promoting coverage of the incident. Weasel Zippers, however, took it as "proving [the incident] NEVER happened."
As more careful readers at the Kansas City Star noticed, it proves nothing of the sort, unless some common English words have suddenly changed their meanings. Nonetheless rightbloggers insisted that Cleaver had debunked the story, either intentionally or unintentionally, and proven liberal media malfeasance.
Left Coast Rebel just declared outright that "Rep. Emanuel Cleaver Admits he Was Never Spit on." RedState was a little more circumspect, claiming only that "Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D, MO) disavows any role in spitting smear" ("Can't say that I'm surprised that he doesn't want to lay any blame at the feet of the DNC's would-be race-hate demagogues, either..."). Hot Air's Allahpundit said, "Emanuel Cleaver: I haven't done anything to hype that spitting incident," adding, "so transparent a lie is this that I don't know how to read it except as a tacit admission that he wasn't, in fact, deliberately spat on."
Others avoided such stark, unsupported declarations, but went to some effort to lead readers to similar conclusions. The Daily Caller, for example, began its report thus: "Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri Democrat, was one of a few central figures key to the narrative that Democrats used in the days after the health care vote to argue that many of the people who opposed the massive new law are racist or deranged." Thus motive was established up front, so readers could properly interpret events.