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Abortion Protesters Clarify: Coffin Was On Rep. Carnahan’s Sidewalk, Not Lawn

Don’t think the Tea Partiers are unaware of the recent criticisms cast at them regarding their potentially violent protest behavior. They’ve heard the complaints loud and clear and are taking a “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” approach to the negative coverage, possibly triggered (no pun intended) by Sarah Palin‘s advice to “reload” rather than acknowledge that they have been worryingly excitable lately. Today’s battlefield is the few feet of space between Missouri Congressman Russ Carnahan’s home lawn and the sidewalk before it, where Big Government‘s Jim Hoft defies Carnahan to prove the protesters put a coffin on private property.

Hoft, who participated in a prayer vigil in front of the Congressman’s home for his soul and the “millions of babies that will be slaughtered” under Obamacare, is accusing Politico of lying about the location of a coffin the anti-abortion protesters took with them to the vigil. “After our prayer service,” he explains, “we took our coffin and went and prayed on the sidewalk outside of Russ Carnahan’s home.” Politico reported that the coffin was placed on Carnahan’s lawn. Or, rather, Hoft is fuming at Carnahan’s people for Politico‘s choice to report the story. Apparently, the coffin actually only touched the sidewalk in front of his home, not the lawn as reported in the headline of Jake Sherman‘s piece:

Russ Carnahan is so frightened to meet with his constituents after his very unpopular vote that he is now lying about a prayer service. This is despicable. Russ Carnahan never said anything when his SEIU supporters beat, kicked and stomped on Kenneth Gladney in a parking lot outside one of his events. These were the same supporters he was sneaking into one of his staged town halls. Instead of apologizing for his supporter’s violence, he is making up stories about peaceful tea party protesters at a prayer service.

Attacking Carnahan for this is a predictable move, but judging from the complete text of the Politico article, it doesn’t seem that Carnahan’s office spread the supposed untruth that the coffin was placed on his lawn; the Congressman’s spokesman only said it was being exhibited “near his home.” The spokesman did tell other news outlets that the coffin was placed on the lawn and left there, but these statements were not reported in the piece Hoft is complaining about. Sherman took the liberty of claiming the coffin was on the lawn without citing evidence for that. Even if the assumption turned out to be true, Hoft’s argument would be greatly strengthened if he took the time to cite other sources to prove the lawn comment came straight from the horse’s mouth.

You know what else would greatly strengthen Hoft’s argument? Not bringing a coffin to a health care protest in front of the private residence of a member of Congress. Yes, melodrama is often a powerful and effective tool to convince others that your point of view is correct, but the Tea Party movement is already plagued with a reputation for being frivolous and dismissible. They should be doing everything in their power to rehabilitate that image into one of legitimacy. The image at the top of this article of a crowd of people chanting at a coffin and holding Solo cups in front of a Congressman’s private residence, is not anywhere near the definition of legitimacy.

Focusing on the very specific location of the coffin isn’t helping matters, either– the real question is why there was a coffin present at all. It adds nothing but a circus atmosphere to what could have been a serious event, and ranting the next week about the SEIU because someone botched the prop’s location plays right into the radical left’s stereotype of the “rabid teabagger.” For the sake of the reputations of everyone on the right, let’s hope the health care reform protesters pick their battles better next time.

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