UPDATE: Listen to Peter talk with Emery McClendon about this event live on-air. Audio available here.
On Monday, I talked about an appalling piece of race-baiting that appeared in the Kokomo Tribune's "Public Eye" section over the weekend. The political gossip column is authored by Ken de la Bastide and Scott Smith. They don't individually take credit for which parts they write themselves, so there's no way of knowing for sure who deserves the most criticism for this shoddy bit of journalism-at-its-worst.
The piece was entitled "Where's the Inclusion?" and focused on a recent statewide Tea-Party planning meeting held in Tipton, IN. As was typical, the "Public Eye" was apparently wearing a patch over their right one and viewing the world solely from their left eye, as this piece amounted to nothing more than smearing a bunch of patriotic Americans for being...wait for it...bigots and racists:
Ever since the Tea Party movement started, leaders have contended the organization is inclusive, not exclusive.
But one has to wonder about that statement following the initial meeting of Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate last weekend in Tipton, a meeting that brought together 70 Tea Party groups interested in preventing U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar from capturing the Republican Party's nomination in 2012.
One has to wonder? Why? As evidence, the "Public Eye" cited an "ethnic joke" about people from Afghanistan and convenience stores. Sort of like the one that Vice President Joe Biden once made when campaigning for President? Funny, I can't recall the "Public Eye" blasting Joe and his left-leaning supporters as un-inclusive.
But then came this little jewel:
Another telling incident occurred when, of the close to 200 people at the Tipton County meeting, the lone black in attendance, a man from Fort Wayne, was selected to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Unbelievable. In other words, the "Public Eye" decided to single out the man with dark skin pigmentation and label him a token. Now, who was it that had the race problems? Call me crazy, but I don't think it's the people who are rallying for Constitutional government, traditional morality and individual liberty. In fact, it's pretty amazing that Smith and de la Bastide don't see that as a message that minorities could support. Apparently to them, minorities must all think the same way.
Further, it seems to me that rather than a bunch of patriotic Americans rallying to elect a conservative to the Senate, the ones with the real race problems are the ones who are sitting at that meeting with a tally book trying to count the people with dark skin. What kind of a person does that? One that wants to disgustingly smear people he doesn't agree with politically, that's who.
As it turns out, I happen to know the "lone black in attendance." He's a disabled American veteran named Emery McClendon. I have shared the stage with him many times at Tea Party events throughout the state. He's a great man with a great family who believes that Barack Obama is doing untold damage to the country with destructive policies.
Did the "Public Eye" express any interest in seeing why Emery was there, why he was chosen to lead the Pledge, or what his thoughts on American government were? No. They were merely interested in his skin color. They were merely interested in identifying him as a "token" and using him to smear their opponents (the tea party).
All of that says a great deal about their character and their commitment to serious journalism. Seems to me that the "Public Eye" would be well advised to remove the plank from itself before attempting to flick the speck of sawdust from the Tea Party's, no?