The rally at the Capitol was organized by Jason Lewis of KTLK. To be clear: Most of the signs were merely political in nature. But, at some point, doesn't someone have to say, "Hey, buddy, ditch the sign; you're killing our cause, here"?The post got Mitch Berg's attention, who smoked Collins out pretty well:
Was that the sign’s intent? “A monkey could do it” is a not-uncommon way of saying “Duh”; the Bush years saw more than a few “Chimp” references that passed without (disapproving) comment from the mainstream media.
If it was racist – was it a tax protester, or one of the ringers sent from the left to stand by the media’s cameras to smear the tea party?
We don’t know. Bob Collins didn’t check. Perhaps it was because it didn’t fit the narrative that the media has set up about the Tea Party, which both the WaPo article and (wittingly or not) Collins extend – that it’s racist until proven otherwise. Or maybe he didn’t feel like walking through the crowd to check. We’ll never know. For the media’s narrative about the Tea Parties, “knowing” might be inconvenient.
Collins didn't like that analysis and responded in Mitch's comment section:
Mitch, how many nooses does someone have to hang in a fire department before it’s racist? How many swastiskas does someone have to spraypaint on a wall before it’s racist? One, two, six?
Now, I grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, which was the hometown of one of the best practitioners of the "guilt by association" tactic, a fellow by the name of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Let's just say that ol' Joe would recognize the tactic at play here.
It's pretty simple, really: if you see a swastika spray-painted on the wall and there's a fella holding a can of spray paint, go right ahead and excoriate the dude for his bigotry. But it doesn't follow that someone else in the area is a bigot, any more than I would assume that those people who tried to tear up St. Paul in 2008 were representative of Obama supporters.
By all means, read both Collins's post on Gather and Mitch's post. Things are going to be getting pretty contentious as the year goes on and we might look back on this exchange as being surprisingly civil.