The Washington Post, among other mainstream media outlets, relentlessly stokes claims that Tea Partiers are racist.

Eugene Robinson accuses almost everyone who opposes the Obama agenda — but particularly those active in the Tea Party movement — of being motivated by racism and prone to violence.

Jonathan Capehart, another WaPo columnist, does the same.

So lo and behold, the WaPo news writers, citing a WaPo poll, announce that Tea party groups battling perceptions of racism (emphasis mine):

As several states with active “tea party” groups prepare to hold important primary elections this month, the movement is struggling to overcome accusations of racism that are tinting perceptions of this loose network of conservatives….

In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, most Americans see the movement as motivated by distrust of government, opposition to the policies of Obama and the Democratic Party, and broad concern about the economy. But nearly three in 10 see racial prejudice as underlying the tea party.

First of all, the fact that “nearly three in ten” Americans perceive the Tea Parties as racist is amazingly low considering how much time WaPo and NY Times columnists, Democratic members of Congress, and left-wing blogs spend calling Tea Partiers racist.

But dig into the background data (Question 26), and you will see that of that “nearly three in ten” (actually, 28%, but who’s counting when perception is at stake), only 19% rate the racism factor strongly. By contrast, 43% say racism plays no factor whatsoever.

So what WaPo is doing is taking a poll which shows that a strong plurality of Americans do not believe that Tea Parties are motivated at all by racism, and spinning it into Tea Parties having a racism perception problem.

The news writers even cite the Obama Joker poster as contributing to the perception of Tea Party racism even though the poster was created by a liberal Democratic Party supporter.

WaPo stokes perceptions of Tea Party racism, and then spins the polling data to support the conclusion it wants in a headline.

This is how they do it.

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The Great Deception of 2008
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