Imagine this: A future Republican president invites Tea Party leaders to the White House. Some have themselves photographed standing in front of a portrait of President Obama with their middle fingers extended. They then post these photos on Facebook with the caption "F--k Obama." (Needless to say, the F-word is spelled out.)
1. How much coverage do you think the national press would give to this?
2. How would Democratic — and Republican — leaders react?
3. How would Tea Party activists react?
1. The mainstream media would widely report what had happened and repeatedly show these photos. The New York Times would editorialize about the racism of the Tea Party. Liberal columnists would be relentless in their condemnations of the Tea Party as a low-life movement of yahoos.
2. Democrats and Republicans alike would condemn these leaders and demand their resignation.
3. Tea Party activists would feel embarrassed by these people who represented them, and they would be deeply concerned that their movement's good name had been permanently tarnished.
Now let's explore a real-life situation from this past week.
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