Published July 27, 2012
ABC News had to quickly apologize last week after star correspondent Brian Ross suggested on air that the Colorado massacre suspect was tied to the Tea Party.
But it was hardly the first time a reporter or columnist has implicated the conservative grassroots network during the moments following a high-profile attack. The Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group, has strung together a video chock-full of examples of this since the dawn of the Tea Party in 2009.
The Tea Party suspicion first started to pick up steam early the following year. After a white professor killed three colleagues in Alabama in a terrible shooting spree in February 2010, the Forbes-funded online site True/Slant published an article asking: "Does racism explain the 'tenure shooting' and Tea Party movement?"
The writer posited that the shooting, combined with the "success of the Tea Party movement," together proved that America was not yet in a post-racial period.
Then when Joseph Stack flew a plane into a Texas office building containing an IRS outpost, The New York Times ran a column asking: "The First Tea-Party Terrorist?"
After that, when a would-be bomber tried unsuccessfully to strike Times Square in May, an article in The Nation cast doubt on the idea that the Pakistani Taliban was involved -- pointing instead to disgruntled Tea Partiers.
"That's possible. But it seems far more likely to me that the perpetrator of the bungled Times Square bomb plot was either a lone nut job or a member of some squirrely branch of the Tea Party, anti-government far right," the article said.
Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, who has no known Tea Party ties and was allegedly helped by the Pakistani Taliban, was ultimately convicted in that case.