News reporters took the word of Georgia Democrat Congressman and civil right icon John Lewis, who claimed Tea Party protesters hurled racial epithets at him and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they made their way into the Rotunda on Saturday.
“They were shouting, sort of harassing,” Lewis told reporters. “But, it’s okay, I’ve faced this before. It reminded me of the 60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean.”
Others verified Congressman Lewis’ claim, including Missouri Democrat Congressman Emanuel Cleaver.
However, video of the incident taken by Tea Party activists clearly shows that, while there were many boos and jeers hurled at the Congressmen, not one protester shouted the word “nigger.”
In a separate incident, Congressman Cleaver also claimed a Tea Party protester spat on him. However, police escorting the Missouri Democrat did not make any arrests in what would have been an actual physical assault if it had really happened.
Despite the fact that no arrests were made, Congressman Cleaver issued a press release stating that he would not press charges. Against whom, it was not said.
Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank also claimed to be the victim of a “hate” speech attack Saturday. The openly-gay Democrat said protesters called him “faggot” as he was walking from the Longworth office building to the Rayburn office building.
No proof has been made to verify Frank’s claim.
Additionally, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller used the name for a vulgar gay sex act to describe the Saturday protests:
The term “tea bagger” was coined by the gay CNN reporter Anderson Cooper almost a year ago on April 14, 2009. Since then, the vulgar reference has been used by many liberal members of the mainstream media, including Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, CNN’s Candy Crowley, and more recently, by left-wing radio flamethrower Mike Malloy.