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CBS Uses Al Sharpton to Boost NAACP's Accusation Tea Party is 'Tolerating Bigotry'

A night after ABC's World News elevated the NAACP's allegation that the "Tea Party movement is a threat to the pursuit of human rights, justice and equality for all," the CBS Evening News pitched in to advance the charge from the unlabeled liberal group. Over "BIGOTRY ALLEGATIONS" on screen beneath a Tea Party sign, from New Orleans Katie Couric teased at the top of her Wednesday newscast: "The NAACP accuses the Tea Party movement of tolerating bigotry."

Anchoring from New York, Harry Smith announced "the Tea Party movement has come under fire from the NAACP. The accusation: the party tolerates racism in its ranks." John Dickerson related the charge the "Tea Party tolerates racists, says the NAACP, and these signs allegedly made by Tea Party supporters, are proof." The two signs shown, "Obama's Plan: White Slavery" and "Obama, What you talkin about Willis! Spend my money?"

Explaining how the NAACP's resolution calls "on Tea Party leaders to 'repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches,'" Dickerson featured expert comment from race-hustler Al Sharpton who insisted the Tea Party mission "is to reverse what civil rights did."

Following a clip of FreedomWorks' Matt Kibbe asserting they do not tolerate racism, Dickerson countered with how "sometimes it's the community's leaders who go too far. The Iowa Tea Party purchased a billboard in downtown Mason City comparing Barack Obama to Hitler and Vladimir Lenin."

Such a billboard may be stupid or counter-productive, but how is it racist? Indeed, displaying an image of Hitler and George W. Bush, Dickerson acknowledged "partisans comparing a President to Hitler is not unique to the current President."

From Tuesday night: "ABC Hypes NAACP Indictment of Tea Party as Racist, a Smear the Network Stoked."

From the Wednesday, July 14 CBS Evening News:

HARRY SMITH: Race and politics now. The Tea Party movement has come under fire from the NAACP. The accusation: the party tolerates racism in its ranks. Here's John Dickerson.

JOHN DICKERSON: The Tea Party tolerates racists, says the NAACP, and these signs allegedly made by Tea Party supporters, are proof [signs: "Obama's Plan White Slavery" and "Obama, What you talkin about Willis! Spend my money?"]. Members of the civil rights organization passed a resolution at their annual convention calling on Tea Party leaders to "repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches."

AL SHARPTON: The Tea Party, as a political philosophy, is to reverse what civil rights did and that is saying the federal government must protect people.

DICKERSON: The NAACP also claims activists shouted a racial slur at Congressman John Lewis during a health care protest last March. On her Facebook page, Sarah Palin, a supporter of the movement, called the charge "false, appalling, and a regressive and diversionary tactic." Organizers of the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party movement, like Matt Kibbe, say they have already made it clear they do not tolerate racism.

MATT KIBBE: We will not tolerate any kind of hate in our groups and that if you see it in the community, you need to call them out.

DICKERSON: But sometimes it's the community's leaders who go too far. The Iowa Tea Party purchased a billboard in downtown Mason City comparing Barack Obama to Hitler and Vladimir Lenin. The group has since covered it up, saying it was counterproductive. But partisans comparing a President to Hitler is not unique to the current President [Hitler and George W. Bush image]. Tea Party activists say the NAACP is making this incendiary charge for political reasons.

KIBBE: They're trying to mobilize voters in an election that looks very bad for Democrats.

DICKERSON: The core supporters of both political parties are now in a battle with each other over race, one of the country's most sensitive issues. And now an already contentious election year has gotten more so.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.