On Thursday night Keith Olbermann took on the “Captain America Tea Party flap” from his liberal perspective, but the segment was interrupted by coverage of a press conference with ex-President Clinton’s cardiologist. Olbermann began the piece by pointing out that Cap was no stranger to controversy and showed the cover from Captain America #1, on which Steve Rogers was depicted landing a hard right to the Fuhrer’s jaw, a full 21 months before Pearl Harbor at a time when much of the American media (including Hollywood with the notable exception of Warner Bros.) was mired in wishy-washy neutrality for fearing of alienating the Germans and their supporters.
While commentators from the right have criticized Marvel for slandering the Tea Party movement by suggesting that it might be racist, Olbermann appeared to be on the verge of criticizing Marvel for refusing to stand behind the depiction of Tea Partiers in Captain America #602, when the sequence was cut short to cover the news conference on ex-President
Olbermann’s report did include a statement posted by Warner Todd Huston on Publius.com. Huston laid out the indictment of Cap #602 from the right (for more coverage, see “Tea Party in Cap Gets Slammed”): “Not only is Cappy quaking in his little red booties, but he is sure that the tea party folks are dangerous racists too. Nice going Marvel Comics, thanks for making patriotic Americans into your newest supervillains.”
Olberman then showed a picture of Marvel EIC Joe Quesada and noted that Quesada had apologized for the signs on the placards depicted in Captain America #602. Just as Olberman began interviewing Dave Weigel of the Washington Independent and showing the picture Weigel had taken of a protester with a sign reading: “Tea Bag the Liberal Dems, Before They Tea Bag You,” the sign that inspired the most criticized placard in the comic--MSNBC cut away to the press conference with Doctor Alan Schwartz.
Will this controversy continue to have legs? It began on the right and now Olbermann has given at least his partial take on it. But will Countdown return to the story tomorrow, and more importantly will the mainsteam media in the middle pick it up now that networks from the right and left have weighed in? The answer may be dictated by the news cycle. Right now it seems clear that the “Captain America Tea Party Flap” ranks well below a routine medical procedure performed upon on ex-President.