When the Tea Party movement arose after 2008, the American Left launched a full court press to discredit it. There were three general lines in the strategy: that the Tea Party was encouraging or even engaging in political violence, that the Tea Party people were pervasively racist, and that the Tea Party was "astroturfed", i.e., created by rich conservatives.
All three charges were obvious nonsense. The Tea Party meetings, of which there were thousands across the US, were as spontaneous as any political movement ever was. No doubt some had wealthy benefactors, but the vast majority of the meetings and organizations were locally funded and organized. No doubt some of those who showed up at Tea Party meetings were racist. It would be astounding if that were not true. It is easier, however, to show evidence of anti-Semitism among the people who showed up at Occupy events, anti-war rallies, or among Democrats in general, than to show racism among Tea Party folks.
The most common calumny against the Tea Party, however, was the line about political violence. Joel Gehrke, writing at the Beltway Confidential site, provides a brief history of the attempts by the MSM to falsely link the Tea Party to acts of violence.
Exhibit A, of course, was the appalling journalistic sin committed by ABC News' Brian Ross as the Aurora Colorado shooting was hitting the airwaves. Here is the actual quote:
Stephanopoulos: I'm going to go to Brian Ross. You've been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.
Ross: There's a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colo., page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don't know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it's Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colo.
It turns out that there are a lot of fellows named Jim Holmes running around. Apparently, according to James Taranto, there are almost three thousand of them. So why did Ross pick this one innocent JH out? For the simple reason that he was listed in a Tea Party document that someone on Ross's staff managed to Google.
Ross not only managed to slander thousands of Americans who did nothing more than show up for public meetings but also to finger, briefly (if with a caveat) an innocent man. The caveat (we don't know if this is the same Jim Holmes) makes the scandal worse. Imagine for a moment, dear reader, if you fingered by Ross as the person who maybe, we don't know yet, might be the mass murder.
There are conspiracy crackpots and racists on the right and all honest conservatives should vehemently disavow them. The Left should give up its passionate desire to demonize the Tea Party movement.