The Political Uses of Spit
© Jack Cashill
WorldNetDaily.com - April 8, 2010
he media response to the Tea Party protest—let us call it “Spittlegate” in that “Spitgate” implies intention—has shown those of us who care just how thoroughly complicit the mainstream media and the Democratic Party have become and how thoroughly corrupt is that complicity.
Between them, with a little help from progressive outposts like the Huffington Post, they manufactured an incident that has discredited the legacy of the civil rights movement and further poisoned race relations in the allegedly post-racial age of Obama.
Despite the $100,000 award offered by Andrew Breitbart, despite the fact that at least two members of the Black Caucus were recording the march to and fro, not one camera has recorded anyone even whispering the word “nigger.”
Pure fiction, unbelievable on its face, was the “chorus” of race mongers promised by the McClatchy Papers’ William Douglas in his inflammatory article, “Tea Party Protestors Scream ‘Nigger’ at Congressman.”
Rather than address the illusory, allow me to focus on something that did happen, more or less anyhow, the saliva spray that infringed on the personal space of my Kansas City congressman, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.
Cleaver’s response to Spittlegate does not surprise those who have watched him. He stumbled into something he would not likely have contrived on his own, yielded to the pressure to politicize it, and now tries to dissemble his way out.
On April 2, two weeks after the incident, Cleaver told FOX 4 News in Kansas City, "I haven't talked about this incident on TV or anywhere, and I've been approached to talk about it on every national TV show." He added, "I never, I never reported anything, never a single thing in Washington, not one thing.”
This is nonsense. Cleaver and his proxies have been publicizing this incident from the moment it happened. That very afternoon, March 20th, Cleaver’s office put out a press release that reads in part:
"This afternoon, the congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. . . The man who spat on the congressman was arrested, but the Congressman has chosen not to press charges. He has left the matter with the Capitol police."
Douglas incorporated this release into his inflammatory article posted immediately after the incident, a release that is problematic in any number of ways.
For one, Cleaver claimed he was walking “into the Capitol” when it happened. Taking him at his word, I had presumed the steps in the video I put together on the subject (cashill.com) were the Capitol steps, but they are apparently not.
Cleaver is actually walking into the Cannon Office Building on the way back from his march to the Capitol. This further tightens the timeline on the reporting.
It has become more and more clear that the walk to and from the Capitol—congressmen almost always take the tunnel underneath--was designed to provoke some kind of incident, real or imagined.
The incident proved to be more imagined than real. As the video shows, the alleged spitter was shouting "kill the bill" through cupped hands. He shouted it for at least 20 seconds before Cleaver walked right in front of him and 20 seconds afterwards.
Since thousands of protestors were clearly shouting something other than racial slurs, the media have tended to focus on the spitting incident, especially since the man who allegedly spat on Cleaver “was arrested,” except that he wasn’t.
In an online article the following day, local station KCTV 5 cited an email from Sgt. Kimberly Schneider of the U.S. Capitol Police on the subject of Cleaver, "We did not make any arrests today."
The following day Schneider told FOX NEWS. "There were no elements of a crime, and the individual wasn't able to be positively identified. [Cleaver] was unable to positively identify."
Although a Cleaver spokeswoman claimed that Cleaver chose not to identify the man lest the police be "obligated" to arrest him, the video shows a clueless Cleaver unable to ID the same guy shouting through the same cupped hands he had been a minute earlier.
None of this mattered to Cleaver’s champions at the Kansas City Star, a McClatchy paper. On March 21, Star editorial page columnist, Yael T. Abouhalkah, made the toxic claim that “some Tea Party supporter spat on Cleaver Saturday on Capitol Hill because the U.S. congressman is black.”
To ratchet up the racial tension a wee bit more, Abouhalkah repeated as fact the rumor that “someone spat on him, while the word ‘nigger’ was used to describe Cleaver and other black congressmen.”
Meanwhile Cleaver's communications director, Danny Rotert, was telling USA Today, "This is not the first time the congressman has been called the "n" word.”
A few days after the incident Cleaver himself spoke to Washington Post Metro columnist Courtland Milloy about the man "who allowed saliva to hit my face.” Cleaver could afford to appear judicious because he knew Milloy, an African American hack, would do his dirty work for him.
Said the Post columnist of the Tea Party people, “I want to spit on them, take one of their ‘Obama Plan White Slavery’ signs and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads.” This was exactly the message going out to black America, and Cleaver was doing nothing to stop it.
Almost immediately after telling FOX 4 News in Kansas City that he had no intention of talking about this incident—the station's online article was titled, “Cleaver Steadfastly Refuses to Discuss Spitting Incident”-- Cleaver appeared on a rival station to, well, talk about the incident. The station just happened to be the one where his daughter works as a reporter, KSHB, Kansas City's NBC affiliate.
“I thought when I first felt the moisture that maybe it was an accident,” Cleaver conceded to KSHB’s Chris Hernandez. “What many of the Democrats wanted me to do was stand up and demonize those [Tea Party] people, and I am not going to do it.”
Hernandez summed up the thrust of the interview, “[Cleaver] resisted pressure from his own party. He would rather seek civility than score political points.”
In his troubled heart, Cleaver may even think he is telling the truth, and I truly wanted to believe him when I saw this interview. There is something innately vulnerable and sympathetic about the man.
And then I heard from Jacob Turk, Cleaver’s Republican opponent in a race that this year Cleaver could possibly lose. Turk was distressed. A former Marine, Turk may very well be the sincerest, straightest, hardest working candidate in America.
For years, Turk has been laboring to make headway in Kansas City’s black neighborhoods. Now, he has a new challenge. Cleaver’s minions are spreading the word that Turk is a friend of the Tea Party people. You know, the ones who spit on Emanuel Cleaver and called him 'nigger’.
Makes you wonder if this wasn’t the game plan all along.
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