Stop smearing tea partiers as racist

That’s still quite an assertion about a group of people Cohen didn’t even try to talk to for his column. He could have asked Tea Partiers whether they were bothered by Clarence Thomas’s marriage to a white woman, given that she took a (short-lived) role as a would-be Tea Party leader in 2009 and 2010. He could have asked about their reaction to FreedomWorks’s outreach director Deneen Borelli, whose husband Tom is white. Or, because anecdotal evidence is only worth so much, he could have “taken the Internet express” to Gallup.com and noticed that 85 percent of whites and 70 percent of elderly people are fine with interracial marriage. He could have shelled out for some current political science research, which suggests that “there is no difference between the racial attitudes of the general white population and self-identified tea party members.”

He could have. Instead, Cohen made up a claim about a bunch of conservatives probably holding circa 1960 racial views. It’s the sort of claim any columnist with sense or a work ethic would probably veto right away, but it jibes with a sterotype of conservatives, so even the publisher of the Washington Post gave it an attaboy.