It's been pretty interesting, waiting for the Right to respond to the NAACP's meticulously detailed report on the Tea Party movement and the way it has energized serious extremists, including many white supremacists, by helping them network and spread their propaganda and beliefs.
As we predicted, it's largely been a lot of whining and carping. So far, I haven't seen anyone seriously attempt to tackle the data and the facts gathered therein (though there have been some fairly predictable half-assed attempts by white nationalists). Instead, what we've gotten from the Fox crowd -- as we can see with Glenn Beck's stab at it on Thursday -- is that, instead of actually trying to deal with the facts, they're merely content to smear the authors of the report.
Of course, along the way, he lies -- baldfacedly, unashamedly, concocts "facts" out of pure thin air.
First -- largely reading directly from a piece at his website The Blaze by Meredith Jessup -- he attacks Leonard Zeskind, who runs the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, as a supposed "Communist" for his onetime association (in the 1970s) with the neomarxist Sojourner Truth organization. Then he slams Devin Burghart, reading this:
While working for the Center for New Community, Burghart participated in programs of the Center for Democratic Values, the think-tank arm of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
Then adding himself:
Isn't it amazing that the NAACP would have the gall to cast aspersions on the people the Tea Party associate with when then they themselves are associating with Communists?
Well, full disclosure: Devin Burghart is an old friend of mine. Back in the 1990s, when he worked for the Portland-based Coalition for Human Dignity and I was writing freelance articles about the militia movement, we often traveled together to out-of-town meetings in places like Gig Harbor and Mount Vernon (Glenn's old hometown, as it happens). We have remained in touch over the years.
So I called him up and asked him about this. "It's completely false, completely fabricated," Burghart told me. "I have no idea where they came up with that." Burghart said he's never heard of the "Center for Democratic Values," and he's never had anything to do with DSA whatsoever.
Is this really the best they can do? If so, then why haven't the rest of the media paid this report any more attention than they have? Because it's becoming increasingly clear the NAACP report has the goods.
That's they're having to resort to personal smears. Otherwise they'd be trying to address the report itself and the facts contained therein.
As we noted last week:
If the Tea Party leaders were sincere and honest about wanting to get rid of any racists who might be attaching themselves to their movement, they would take this report seriously and respond to it forthrightly.
But they aren't. So they won't.