Michelle Malkin and Andrew Breitbart have posted rallly videos. | POLITICO screengrab/AP Photos Close
By KENNETH P. VOGEL | 3/3/11 4:24 AM EST Updated: 3/3/11 8:41 PM EST
Stung by allegations of incendiary, racist and homophobic rhetoric at tea party rallies last year, conservative activists with flipcams and camera phones have circulated at the union protests sprouting up across the country in hopes of catching violent or abusive behavior by their liberal adversaries.
The resulting photos and videos have ricocheted around the conservative blogosphere in recent days, prompting mounting outrage on the right.
“Union Hate Rally in Wisconsin: Protests Rife With Hitler, Gun Targets, Death Threats,” blared a headline on Fox News’s opinion site Fox Nation over a video taken at a union rally in Madison by the state Republican Party that showed protestors’ signs including one in which crosshairs were superimposed on a photograph of Republican Gov. Scott Walker next to the words, “Don’t Retreat, Reload,” and others in which Walker is compared to Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Hosni Mubarak.
Breitbart.tv posted a video billed as “The Latest Foaming at the Mouth (Literally) Union Protester,” featuring a man at a Chicago union rally with a sign that read, “KKK ? GOP,” ranting to the two conservatives filming him that he was “looking for a fight with the tea baggers.”
It’s no coincidence that conservative corners of the Web seem inundated with videos and photos of Democrats and union supporters using offensive or violent rhetoric, and even physically engaging with tea partiers. Conservative leaders have been encouraging activists to try to record their pro-union opponents, and to use the kind of confrontational tactics that liberals say are meant to provoke.
The goals of the video offensive are two-fold: marginalizing liberals in ongoing battles, such as the raging debate over collective bargaining and government salaries, and trying to reverse a media narrative blaming heated political rhetoric from the right for poisoning the political discourse.