Conservative Writer Defends Tea Party Demonstrations

Republicans and conservative leaders have been asked to address the anger directed at House Democrats who supported health care reform. Several lawmakers have experienced verbal threats and vandalism in the wake of Sunday’s landmark vote to overhaul the health care system. Guest host Allison Keyes speaks with Joseph Farrah, CEO of conservative news Web site World Net Daily and a speaker at this year's Tea Party Convention in Nashville.

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ALLISON KEYES, host:

House Republican leader John Boehner has said that violence and threats are unacceptable, and he's encouraged people that are unhappy with the health care law to, quote, "take that anger and channel it into positive change." Republicans and conservative leaders have been asked to quell some of the unrest. Joining us now is Joseph Farah, the CEO of WorldNetDaily, a conservative news Web site. He was a speaker at this year's Tea Party convention in Nashville and joins us by phone from his office in Virginia. Welcome back, Mr. Farah.

Mr. JOSEPH FARAH (CEO, WorldNetDaily): Hi, Allison, thank you. Nice to be with you.

KEYES: I want to start with Congressman Clyburn's allegation that some unnamed group paid some or all of the cost for those that demonstrated this weekend. How do you respond to that?

Mr. FARAH: Well, you know, it's nice to provide some evidence to back up claims like that. And I noticed he didn't do that. If he believes that to be true, he ought to say who paid. And this is just rumor-mongering as far as I'm concerned.

KEYES: There are also some people that have suggested that conservatives and Republicans have been kind of ratcheting people up to this level of anger. Do you think that's true?

Mr. FARAH: Well, what level of anger? The anger that I see is directed at the legislation that people like Mr. Clyburn voted for. You know, whenever you take an unpopular, controversial stance, and especially when you're in a position to impose solutions on people, as legislators are, you know, you better expect anger. And that's what I'm seeing. I don't see any evidence that anybody has to fan the flames about anger. It's there. It's palpable. Look at the polls.

KEYES: I mean, well, earlier we heard the telephone message to Representative Stupak's office. I mean, that doesn't sound angry to you, and I mean really angry?

Mr. FARAH: You know, I get messages like that every single day of my life. I don't know whether members of Congress are insulated in some way because of security and people answering all their phones and their email for them, but, you know, as a controversial person, as somebody who goes out there and is outspoken, I can tell you, this is an everyday occurrence with the advent of the Internet. And I'm surprised that they've never experienced it before.

KEYES: Well, it's not just the phone messages, though, it's the bricks through the windows. There was the propane gas line cut for the brother of the Virginia congressman. I mean, do you run into that kind of thing every day?

Mr. FARAH: Not every day, but those are very when you're talking about millions of people out in the streets of Washington, D.C., as we saw in 9/12, you know, unprecedented for conservatives and people who, you know, are generally speaking, not activists, to mobilize in the way we've seen them mobilize as a result of this legislation, is it surprising that, you know, one or two people might misbehave? You know, I think we've seen that in the past.

But it seems like some of these members of Congress are painting with pretty broad brushes here. The individuals who misbehave, commit crimes, they should be prosecuted. They should be punished. Instead, you know, what I'm seeing, as in the case with Representative Cleaver, who says he was, you know, somebody yelled a racial remark at him and spit on him, he identified the person and then he chose not to have him arrested, chose not to him prosecuted.

Could it be that some of these folks want to portray an entire movement in this light, rather than prosecute the individuals who are actually responsible?

KEYES: Do you think that's what's happening here?

Mr. FARAH: Well, I think it's a possibility. If somebody spits on me and there are policemen take him into custody, I'm going to prosecute him. Why wouldn't I? Why would I then turn around and suggest that all of the demonstrators, many of whom were denouncing this action, are all responsible for one guy spitting?

KEYES: I wonder whether you think that there is a pattern. There's been some suggestions that all of this is coming from Tea Party members. And in the few moments we have left, do you think, A, that is true and if it's not, that people should stop saying it?

Mr. FARAH: I do believe they should stop saying it. You know, individuals are responsible for individual behavior. And when you've got a crowd and one person steps out of the crowd and shouts something inappropriate or misbehaves, it's that person who's responsible. This would be true if it were a, you know, a liberal demonstration or a conservative demonstration. I don't know why we have these dual standards.

This was a very peaceful crowd out in front of the capitol. And it seems like to me we're making a mountain out of a molehill here for the misbehavior of one person.

KEYES: Joseph Farah is the founder of WorldNetDaily, a conservative news Web site. He joined us by phone from his office in Virginia. Thank you very much.

Mr. FARAH: Thank you, Allison.

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