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Tracking the Tea Party, and Its Trackers

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, September 9 2010

If you run in certain circles, you might have only a flitting awareness that about a year ago at this time the web-savvy Obama White House asked the American people to help them hunt down "fishy" seeming emails and blog posts and send them into the White House via the email address flag@whitehouse.gov. But amongst some on the right, helped along by FoxNews, the supposed controversy reached some level of notoriety, as evidenced by the (undated) photo to the right collected by the new Tea Party Tracker.

The Tea Party Tracker (tagline: "A Watched Tea Pot Never Boils") is a project of the NAACP, along with ThinkProgress, Media Matters, and New Left Media that, they say, "monitors racism and other forms of extremism within the Tea Party movement." But one of the interesting aspects of the crowd-sourced project is that it offers some insight into what some people judge to be racist and/or extreme. Take the group's Flickr photostream. The NAACP et al invite people to submit eye-witness photos of "Tea Party extremism from around the country." At the moment, that includes photos of men wearing confederate flag baseball caps, images of "I stand with Arizona" buttons, and a woman holding a sign that reads, "I can't pay my bar tab. Send more stimulus."

Check out the Tea Party Tracker here.