Jack Cashill, at The American Thinker, having researched the Capital steps tea party controversy of March 20, has come to a conclusion: The William Douglas story in the liberal McClatchy Newspapers, which broke the alleged racial incidents “seems to meet the standards for libel. It is provably false, preposterously reckless, quite possibly malicious, and has caused real damage to publicly identified Tea Party leaders”.
Since my congresscritter, Emanuel Cleaver was a key player in the libel, I’ve taken special interest in the story, which Cashill dissects, here:
Here is what happened. Rather than use the tunnel from the Cannon Office Building to the Capitol, a contingent from the Black Caucus chose to walk through a crowd of protesters. In none of the videos shot that day, including those by the members of the Caucus themselves, has anyone identified a single audible racial slur.
What the videos show are protesters booing the black congressmen as lustily as they did their white counterparts. The one thing they do scream is the racially neutral “Kill the bill.” The caucus members pass without incident until they reach the Capitol steps. There, an inattentive Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), flanked by a police officer, walks right in front of a man who has been screaming “kill the bill” through cupped hands for at least the last ten seconds.
Cleaver appears to get caught in the vocal spray. Once the videos emerged, Cleaver would tell the Washington Post that the man “allowed saliva to hit my face.” In the immediate aftermath of the incident, however, a visibly angry Cleaver — he poked his finger in the man’s face after being sprayed — spread a much darker story. As Douglas reported in his 4:21 posting, Cleaver’s office claimed in a statement “that [Cleaver] had also been spat upon and that Capitol Police had arrested his assailant.” The Cleaver statement continued, “The man who spat on the congressman was arrested, but the congressman has chosen not to press charges.”
Yael T. Abouhalkah, the editorial page columnist in Cleaver’s hometown Kansas City Star, a McClatchy paper, captured the party line nicely with the claim that “some Tea Party supporter spat on Cleaver Saturday on Capitol Hill because the U.S. congressman is black.” The video evidence belies all this nonsense.
About a minute after the incident, Cleaver returns to the scene of the crime with a Capitol Police officer. The “assailant” is still standing there shouting, unaware that he has committed anything like a crime. Heck, until a year or so ago, he had been led to believe that dissent was patriotic, not racist. More embarrassingly, Cleaver fails to recognize the man even though he is standing right in front of him, and the man is making no effort to hide. There is no arrest, no detention as Cleaver’s office would later claim, no noble decision to not press charges.
“There were no elements of a crime, and the individual wasn’t able to be positively identified,” a spokeswoman for the Capitol Police would tell FoxNews.com. “[Cleaver] was unable to positively identify.” More troubling, in Douglas’s report, it was only Cleaver who was said to hear the word “nigger.” Even in the later posting, “Tea party protesters call Georgia’s John Lewis ‘nigger,'” Lewis himself does not make this claim.
“They were shouting, sort of harassing,” Lewis told Douglas. What they shouted, Douglas reports, is “kill the bill, kill the bill.” House majority whip James CIyburn, who walked with the contingent, heard no racist remarks, either. “I experienced some of [the anger],” Clyburn told Keith Olbermann on March 22. “I didn`t hear the slurs.“Douglas cites only Cleaver as the person who “distinctly heard ‘nigger.'” It is Douglas himself who inflates that one one word into multiple “protestors” who “scream” it at Lewis. There is no story without that word, and given the lack of video evidence and Cleaver’s willingness to dissemble on the alleged arrest, there is no reason to believe him.
If we wanted to be generous, we could say it may well be that Cleaver thought he heard the ‘n’ word amongst all the shouting, (although none of the tapes picked it up), but there’s no doubt in my mind that he was caught trying to smear the tea partiers with his initial story about being spat upon. There is a big difference between accidental spray, and being “spat upon”.
That’s disappointing because although I always knew single payer proponent, Cleaver was a man of the left, I thought he was an honest one. Apparently not.
Luckily for MO district 5, there is an alternative this November:
Ace: Palin: Let’s Elect Veterans to Congress
Did I mention that Turk is a Marine veteran?