Mark Williams' Blog Post Creates Tea Party Furor
July 19, 2010 at 5:01 AM (PT)
Veteran talk radio host MARK WILLIAMS' "Tea Party" activity hit the national news media in a big way last week with a satirical blog post at his site blowing up into a conflict with other Tea Party leaders and charges of bigotry. The brouhaha led to a group called the NATIONAL TEA PARTY FEDERATION expelling WILLIAMS' TEA PARTY EXPRESS.
WILLIAMS' controversial blog post, since removed, was a reaction to the NAACP alleging racism in the Tea Party movement and urging leaders of the Tea Party to take a stand against racism. It took the form of a parody letter from NAACP Pres. BEN JEALOUS to Pres. ABRAHAM LINCOLN and played off the NAACP's inclusion of the words "Colored People" in its name. After the post began to generate attention, the NATIONAL TEA PARTY FEDERATION's DAVID WEBB, in an appearance on CBS' "FACE THE NATION," said his organization was expelling WILLIAMS and the TEA PARTY EXPRESS.
In another blog post on SUNDAY, WILLIAMS responded, "Apparently I have offended the tea party 'leadership.' Mind you, there is no tea party leadership; every tea partier is a tea party leader. But something happens when the stronger egos and personalities in a movement begin to feel a sense of ownership. It is not long before they act to claim and defend that feeling."
After discussing a summit between himself and NAACP SVP HILARY SHELTON, Rev. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE Pres. MARC MORIAL, and PROJECT 21 Dir. DENEEN BORELI on GERALDO RIVERA's FOX NEWS CHANNEL show SATURDAY night, WILLIAMS said, "By the end of the evening we were all in agreement that the rhetoric has reached such a level, and unjustifiably so, that it makes actual conversation let alone understanding of our common ground all but impossible. We all agreed too that it was time to dial down the backward finger pointing and move forward ... it was with profound disappointment that ... (subsequent to the show) my telephone message box and e-mail were packed with requests for comments about something somebody from the NATIONAL TEA PARTY FEDERATION said about the TEA PARTY EXPRESS and me. We've had enough of this, Mr. WEBB."
WILLIAMS said that he will refuse all media requests for comment and added, "The fact of the matter is that the tea party movement is a grass roots uprising of Americans who share a love for liberty and that Mr. WEBB speaks only for Mr. WEBB just as I speak for only myself."
In response to the action by WEBB, a radio talker himself, JEALOUS told CNN that WEBB did the right thing by "self-policing" the Tea Party movement and added, "As the movement grows up, you have to act responsibly and they have to keep doing what they just did to MARK WILLIAMS and make it clear there is no space for bigots here, period."
[Lots of strong opinions about this. What's yours? If WILLIAMS was simply posting a satirical blog -- whould he have taken it down? Do you think he has the right to his opinion -- or was it in poor taste, or even racist? Share your thoughts below.]