A conservative blogger who has been in a war of words with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann this week has provided proof that, contrary to Olbermann's claims, the Tea Party movement is not racist.
Writer Roger Aronoff's proof? A few black people at last fall's 9/12 Tea Party.
"I cited and linked to two different YouTube videos of black men who proudly spoke at last September's Tea Party rally in Washington, DC, and were very warmly received," Aronoff writes in a column disputing Olbermann's accusations of racism.
"How many blacks were in the audience? My colleague, Cliff Kincaid, who covered the protest and took pictures of it, saw some blacks in the crowd, although he didn't count them," Aronoff wrote.
Aronoff was responding to Olbermann's "special comment" Wednesday night in which the MSNBC host addressed conservative bloggers who lashed out at him over earlier comments he made asking, "How many black faces do you see at these events [Tea Parties]? How many Hispanics? Asians? Gays? Where are these people?"
Olbermann quoted from Aronoff's column published Tuesday, in which Aronoff said, "The tired race card approach to politics and current events would not normally require any response or comment. It could be dismissed for what it is, coming from a questionable source who deals in vile rhetoric and regularly denounces people as 'the worst' in the world."
(Aronoff was referring to Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" segment.)
On Wednesday, Olbermann replied to Aronoff. "My response to this would be, where are the people of color at the Tea Parties?"
Olbermann used that same reply in responding to other conservative writers who dismissed the Countdown host's claims the Tea Party is racially segregated.
Aronoff's "colleague" who "saw some blacks" at the Tea Party, Cliff Kincaid, is the senior editor of Accuracy in Media, a conservative media watchdog group.
Kincaid has himself been the target of accusations of bigotry. In a 2005 column, he called on the major news networks to start a "quit gay sex" campaign; last fall, he was criticized for defending a Republican ad against Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford that many described as racist.
The ad, which showed a white Playboy bunny sweet-talking the black politician, "play[ed] on fears of interracial relationships to scare some white voters in rural Tennessee," as the L.A. Times put it.
"Would it have been accurate to depict the Playboy-type model in the ad as black? Anybody who takes a passing glance at Playboy knows that the vast majority of the 'models'-- the Playmates or Playboy Bunnies -- are white," Kincaid argued.
This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast Feb. 17, 2010.