The Tea Party Challenge

Mark McKinnon (a colleague of mine at Arts+Labs) writes about the uneasy dance between the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement.

Much of the media and most Democrats are dismissive of what is truly a grassroots movement. But the Tea Party has shown remarkable energy in its short life span ... It’s a very interesting dance right now watching the courtship between the movement and GOP candidates and officeholders. ... [T]he movement is wary of being identified as “Republican” or being controlled by any individuals or organization ...

The Tea Party crowd is unlikely to actually become a third party, but their ability to leverage energy behind candidates and policies could be very similar to what MoveOn.org has accomplished on the left. Movements are also often identified by a clear leader. The question that remains: Who will that be?

I think it is an open question whether the tea party dynamic should really be called a "movement" yet.  There is a fine line between movement and mob, and that line is defined by whether they are making progress or noise. 

The Tea Party outrage could organize around viable policies and strategies to accomplish their goals. That would be a movement.  But if it does not identify viable policies and strategies to accomplish their goals - and leadership to move them forward - then the outrage without progress will eventually reduce them (us) to a mob.

However, I'm not sure a tea party movement will resemble Moveon.org.  A Democratic activist once told me he was surprised that (he'd heard) the largest Tea Party email list was only about 50,000 people.  Compared to Moveon.org's many millions of emails, that seemed inconsequential.

That's a key misunderstanding.  The Left think this is an organized, top-down effort - a few organizations spinning up the sheep to do their bidding. That's why they kept insisting this was "astroturf".  But that's exactly wrong (and a serious under-estimation of the legitimacy and broad resonance of the outrage).

The tea party movement is not a single organization with millions of email addresses.  It is tens of thousands of small groups and individuals, each of which has dozens, hundreds or thousands of email addresses.   The tea party movement really is a decentralized, spontaneous, grassroots reaction.

Of course, that has up and down sides. Instead of organizing to accomplish specific victories (as Moveon.org has done on occassion), they may more closely resemble the anti-war crowd - full of sound and fury, but without much specific direction. The anti-war "movement" eventually became alienated or folded into organizations like Moveon.org.

The immediate problem both Tea Party activists and Republicans face is that, while they know what they don't want, they don't have a lot of clear ideas about how to accomplish what they do want. "Be principled" is not a strategy. 

The Tea Party crowd may not end up being a movement, but that's ok.  The energy itself is important to maintain until the policies and organizing vehicles do emerge.

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Yes, the Tea Party movement

Yes, the Tea Party movement is astroturf.  Campaign filings prove that. 

Yes the Tea Party movement is small compared to MoveOn.com and other liberal movements.  The difference is that there is Fox News and the rest of Murdoch to amplify their signal into a roar.  You wouldn't know from the TV that the largest rally in Washington recently was for gay rights.

Yes the Tea Party movement is fringe.  It's populated by birthers, people who think income tax is Communism, and people who think "Darwinism" (i.e. observation based biological science) is a plot to pollute America's precious bodily fluids.  If politicians would act responsibly and denounce these evil loons, America would be a better place.  It probably would be easier for Republicans to get votes.  If I were running a Democrat's campaign, I would love to tie my republican opponent to these whack jobs.

re:

Evidence, please.

Do you read the news?

It's all been in the news.  The campaign filings, the Washington rallies, the campaign signs at tea party events.  Fox "news" and conservative blogosphere are trying to create a news bubble with "liberal biased" information kept out.  It looks like it's working.

Try something more specific than "the news"

This is a great opportunity for you to show everyone who hasn't read what you've read the evidence that convinced you of these things.

You say "the campaign filings" prove the Tea Party movement is astroturf.  I'd love to see how campaign filings prove that.  And if you'd care to share your definition of astroturf, that would be nice too, because I know people who took part in those rallies and who consider themselves to be part of that movement who definitely don't work for a political organization. 

The fact is, conservative and libertarian organizations can't rent mobs that big.  They had to tap into an existing widespread grievance, which centers around opposition to bailouts and spending.  Some of them, like Americans for Prosperity, gave the burgeoning grassroots a time and place to meet up (which was certainly not the case at all events, but at some of them), but that's not astroturf, that's jumping in front of a parade in progress.

You say "the Tea Party movement is small compared to MoveOn.com and other liberal movements."  Does someone have a decent estimate on how big the Tea Party movement is?  Last I heard, the Tea Party was more popular than the Republican Party.  That suggests quite a lot of sympathetic people, wouldn't you say?

You say, "You wouldn't know from the TV that the largest rally in Washington recently was for gay rights."  I typically don't watch TV, so perhaps you can help me out.  Would you know from the TV the size of the annual pro-life rallies in DC?

Yes the Tea Party movement is fringe.  It's populated by birthers, people who think income tax is Communism, and people who think "Darwinism" (i.e. observation based biological science) is a plot to pollute America's precious bodily fluids.

Odd, I know quite a few self-described "Tea Party" people who don't believe a single one of those things (although they don't much like paying as much income tax as they do, of course).  Do you have data, or is it your anecdotes against mine? 

Do you really want every movement (or mob) to be judged by a minority of the "campaign signs" that show up at their events?  Because if so, we've got a bonanza of incriminating material on the anti-war movement that should conclusively prove to you that they were always "fringe."  Oh, and we're going to have to judge both the Left and the Right based on the stupid signs the LaRouchies bring to both events.

Use the web, Luke

You're like the kid who cuts class then expects the teacher to fill him in on what he missed.  The wise teacher at some point will say: "NO, figure it out for yourself.  It's in the book."  The information you seek is on the web for anyone who genuinely is interested. 

Just google: "Tea party astroturf pac" and you will learn this, and this, and ...

Or you could follow the news as its happening.

This isn't class

When you make an assertion, the burden of proof is on you.  You don't make a controversial claim and then send someone else off on a goose chase to see if the evidence they can collect on their own is convincing.

And not reading TPM or the Washington Independent is not the equivalent of "cutting class."  I'm not required to read every investigative report produced by Left-leaning rags.

And what I see in the links you provided is far from sufficient evidence to call the whole Tea Party movement "astroturf."  I see evidence that the Tea Party is factionalized, that there are grassroots organizers, that there are a couple of groups that clash with grassroots organizers and with each other (edit: in fact, I just now read some tweets from a tea partier who's continuing to criticize the Tea Party Express), and that they attract real grassroots to their events -- and try to co-opt or cash in on them.  So in fact you've provided evidence that the movement itself is not astroturf.  Thanks.

 

Can you find ...

... The logical contradiction in the preceding comment?

I think it is an open

I think it is an open question whether the tea party dynamic should really be called a "movement" yet.  There is a fine line between movement and mob, and that line is defined by whether they are making progress or noise.

The very reason you find yourself pondering these questions is because the teabaggers are astroturf. I've been writing about this very thing for months. They are not a "movement." They have no central organizing principle beyond hatred of Obama based on the "fact" that he is a Muslim, not a U.S. citizen, a Nazi, a socialist, a guy who wants to kill old people and publicly fund abortions, and so on. It's a never-ending stream of well-circulated, well-financed bullshit that is used to whip up useful idiots into a useful mob. The driving forces behind the teabaggers are Fox News, talk radio, and astroturfing orgs like FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity (and their many fronts), who spent a fortune organizing and coordinating the "decentralized, spontaneous, grassroots movement," starting before it ever even officially began. The teabaggers have no goals, they have no program, they don't even have a central organizing principle other than visceral--and, being based on nonsense, completely irrational--hatred of Obama.

When dealing with the astroturf question, the last is probably the most important part. You bring up the anti-Iraq war movement. That, like all real movements, began not like the teabaggers with a lot of corporate dollars, tall tales, and more corporate dollars to circulate them, but with a central organizing principle: get out of Iraq. It built from there. Even MoveOn.org, which probably had more money available at its birth than any liberal cause we've ever seen, had that--they organized around opposition to the coup attempt then being made by Republicans against the sitting executive. That's how every movement begins. Every real one. You don't have a "movement" for nearly a year, then go looking for a cause.

Re:

They are not a "movement." They have no central organizing principle beyond hatred of Obama based on the "fact" that he is a Muslim, not a U.S. citizen, a Nazi, a socialist, a guy who wants to kill old people and publicly fund abortions, and so on.

The protesting was always overwhelmingly about bailouts and spending (particularly pork and deficit spending).  And as far as that goes, it wasn't just about Obama -- I saw plenty of attacks on other administration figures and on Pelosi and Reid -- although the President always makes a good figurehead for the opposition to target.

The "death panels," publicly-funded abortions, and Muslim/Birther BS were not themes of the Tea Party protests, but a tiny bit of that did worm its way in, the same way anti-Israel protestors and international Socialists wormed their way into anti-war protests.  If you wanted to get the Tea Party crowd to show up, you would talk about big-spending, corrupt government and liberty.

Question: was the anti-war movement a "movement" based on your terms?  If they weren't centrally motivated by a hatred of Bush, then why have those big protests evaporated since he left office?

Isn't it funny?

Jon, notice how the lefties here still insist that the Tea Party movement is astroturf even after you've explained why and how it isn't?

And classicliberal2 doesn't even realize that he actually described how the Tea Party movement started while attempting to "prove" how the anti-Iraq war movement was different.

The Tea Parties started the same way.  There was a central organizing principle: Congress was out of control. They were spending more than anyone has ever spent in history. People began to organize from there and the movement grew.

The left simply doesn't understand what the organizing principle IS. The idiots still think it is because Obama is black and refuse to consider that there are millions of people out there who have had enough of Congress overstepping its bounds.

It is funny.

RBill, you are of course correct - they do not want to cede any inch of legitimacy to any type of grassroots movement on the right side of the spectrum, for to do so would be to admit that there is actual, genuine, popular opposition to many of Obama's policies.  It stands in conflict with their stereotypical view of the right as being populated by nothing but idiots and fat cat corporate executives.  They prefer to argue against the Strawman Right as being evil greedy Mr. Scrooges or being inbred redneck Bible-thumping hillbillies.  They are so convinced in their own self-righteous devotion to liberalism and progressivism as not just preferable, but the morally correct solution, that they must destroy any opposition as being not just wrong, but illegitimate and wicked.

It's funny how these same people declare that the Tea Party crowd has no goals or principles, while contrasting them supposedly unfavorably to the anti-Iraq War crowd.  I'm sorry, but the anti-war folks were just as leaderless and incoherent as they claim the Tea Partiers are.  Their "principle" of "get out of Iraq" had no cohesive strategy and did not present any realistic solution.  Nobody stepped forth to give any sensible answer to the question of what Iraq would become if the US just pulled out before the job was finished (i.e., an anarchic bloodbath) and if the US had some obligation to prevent that.  And let us not forget that the anti-war crowd had its fair share of kooks and fringe elements: 9/11 truthers, Saddam/terrorist apologists, anti-Semites, etc.  So yeah the Tea Partiers have some kooks in their midst.  Any grassroots organization is going to bring out teh crazies.  But the Tea Party protests are not solely motivated by "birtherism" no more than the anti-war protests were motivated by "trutherism".

But again, these liberals who claim to be a part of the "reality-based community" cannot even give one inch on this question.  Their goal is not to merely disagree with the Tea Partiers, but to destroy them.

They are so convinced in

They are so convinced in their own self-righteous devotion to liberalism and progressivism as not just preferable, but the morally correct solution, that they must destroy any opposition as being not just wrong, but illegitimate and wicked.

Projection much?

Going to have to agree

Plenty of that going on here on the Right, too.  That's politics.

I would say, however, that small-government people are more likely to grant that their opponents operate out of good intentions.

good intentions

I would say, however, that small-government people are more likely to grant that their opponents operate out of good intentions.

I agree, I used to be one of them, and now I regret it.  They aren't motivated by good intentions.

Astroturf

 It didn't start out as astroturf, but it's quickly being co-opted.

That's too bad. I see the best elements of the tea parties as the voice of goldwater republicans. But that side of the republicans have never been really successful on the policy front. They've mostly been used for window dressing for elections, then tossed away once the decision making starts. 

That's why this movement will most likely be just another tool for anti-liberal rhetoric. It's not that the tea-partyers themselves have bad motives, it's that they're being used for the 2010 and into 2012.

They'll be lots of talk of conservatism and getting back to basics . . . contracts with America and 12 point plans. But in 2014 and on, the federal government won't get any smaller, taxes will hardly change (except for the usual shell game of cutting some and raising others).

-----

I do agree with Jon's point the Move-On and the Tea Party movement are different. Move-on will be around for a lot longer; although, I could envision the tea-party movement being more effective in the next election cycle.

 

Teapary "Astotuff" polling much better than "Move-On"

or ACORN, SEIU, AARP ...

and what's your point?

Having good polling numbers does what . . . in terms of policy? AARP, Move-On . . .those other big groups are not even claiming to be grass roots. Does Move-On? I don't know them well enough. The others are lobbying groups. As long as money is coming in to fund influence, then they probably don't care much about polls (maybe as a secondary concern).

I think (and I mean I don't know, really), the most that will come of out the tea party is a short term boost in local elections and a revenue stream for republicans. There's very little new here.

The Tea Party Movement will die out...

..."if" someone doesn't attack the GOP from the topside down and dislodge the GOP Hierarchy/ Elitists.  The Tea Partiers are working bottom up and I believe I see signs it is in the beginning stages of wearing down.  If someone of stature (maybe a Palin or a Limbaugh) doesn't get more aggressive and make more demands of the actual Republican Party, then the grassroots will become discouraged and, I expect, will try to go the 3rd party route. 

You have to hand it to the Tea Partiers.  They are giving the GOP a chance to get its dysfunctional house in order.  Most of these know what happened in '92 w/UWS and don't want a repeat. But if the GOP continues to try and  BS its way out of this situation, then expect at least one 3rd party to be formed. Then fragmentation will set in.  DD 

Yes, they will...

...but it's because the astroturfers behind them will, once their corporate paymaters' goals are accomplished, withdraw from the field. Six months later, the Reform party, circa 2000, will look huge by comparison.

Corporate paymasters? HA!!....

...the Tea Partiers don't have a George Soros to  fall back on.  Their digging into their own pockets.  The traditional donors to the GOP (the U.S. Chamber of Commerce & its members) want nothing to do w/the Tea Party movement. Why? Because one of the premier demands of this true grassroots movement is seal the southern border and strictly/aggressively enforce existing immigration laws. And, of course, the US Chamber & its members want to keep the flow of cheap labor uninterrupted.  They like it. 

Thats part of the problem w/the Tea Party movement. It really doesn't have the massive bucks behind it.  Which is why it will eventually run out of steam "unless" we get a courageous leader that will start hammering  the GOP from the top down.  That will keep the TP movement enthusiastic and motivated.   Darvin Dowdy

Don't buy into the "Money" myth of grass roots.

Yes astroturf need money. Politicians need money, But grassroots has the same funding source as the church. The money is in the pockets of its members and they are good stewards.

 

What?

one of the premier demands of this true grassroots movement is seal the southern border and strictly/aggressively enforce existing immigration laws.

What?  Really?  Who's saying that?  Sounds like someone's trying to piggyback their pet issue into this.

What?  Really?  Who's saying

What?  Really?  Who's saying that?  Sounds like someone's trying to piggyback their pet issue into this.

Exactly. But when you have an astroturf movement with no goals, no program, and no central organizing principle (beyond hatred of the Muslim non-citizen in the White House who wants to kill old people), I suppose you can claim the "movement" is about anything you'd like.

astroturfing dishonesty

when you have an astroturf movement with no goals, no program, and no central organizing principle

This contradicts the very definition of "astroturf".  The WHOLE IDEA of "astroturf" is to accomplish some specific goal while making it look like the goal has broad grassroots support.  Take the archetypal example of astroturfing, by Axelrod's ASK company:

ASK's relationship with ComEd goes back much further: The Chicago-based utility says ASK has been an adviser since at least 2002. ASK's workload picked up in 2005, as the Exelon subsidiary was nearing the end of a 10-year rate freeze and preparing to ask state regulators for higher electricity prices. Based on ASK's advice, ComEd formed Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity (CORE) to win support.

One TV commercial, penned by ASK, warned of a ComEd bankruptcy and blackouts without a rate hike: "A few years ago, California politicians seized control of electric rates. They held rates down, but the true cost of energy kept rising. Soon the electric company went bust; the lights went out. Consumers had to pay for the mess. Now, some people in Illinois are playing the same game." CORE, which describes itself on its Web site as "a coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations," was identified as the ad's sponsor. After a complaint was filed with state regulators, ComEd acknowledged that it had bankrolled the entire $15 million effort.

ComEd and ASK had a specifc goal: raise electricity rates, and use the phony-baloney CORE group to accomplish it.

It's clear now that you only use the term "astroturf" as an epithet.  How dishonest of you.

...the Tea Partiers don't

...the Tea Partiers don't have a George Soros to  fall back on.  Their digging into their own pockets... Thats part of the problem w/the Tea Party movement. It really doesn't have the massive bucks behind it.

The teabaggers were invented by a trifecta of corporate-backed astroturf specialists, run by corporate lobbyists. An unknown fortune has been poured into manufacturing an artificial "movement" (and giving the impression of a much larger one). The teabaggers may not have George Soros, but they have Rupert Murdoch: as I've said elsewhere, the free Fox News contribution to the "movement" would, alone, have to equal tens of millions of dollars this past year. The "grassroots" Tea Part Patriots--the major teabagger org in the U.S.--is entirely a front for FreedomWorks and the other astroturfers. It has no president. It maintains no offices. It's entirely run by the astroturfers, who dictate its every move. The "grassroots" Tea Party Express is the creation of a corporate-funded PAC called Our Country Deserves Better, which took in nearly $2 million last year, and is, itself, the creation of a California-based Republican political consulting firm, Russo Marsh & Rogers. (who fund other astroturf campaigns through entities like Move America Forward).

"astroturf" in action

So I went to my local chapter's AFP meeting a little while ago.  AFP, Americans for Prosperity, is one of those eeeeeeeeeevil "astroturf" organizations that classicliberal2 is talking about.  Our local group wanted to bring out one of AFP's speakers to our area in order to hold a public forum on a local ballot measure that is coming up here soon.  We wanted this particular person to come because he is a good speaker and especially knowledgeable on the issues.  The state AFP organization said that they couldn't pay to send this person out, that they had used up their travel budget for the year.  So what did we do?  We pitched in OUR OWN MONEY to bring him out here.

Our AFP chapter has no budget.  Its officers receive no compensation.  EVERYTHING is accomplished by voluntary donations of time and money.

This is what classicliberal2 claims is "astroturf".

$2 Whole Million! HAAAA!!!....

HAAAA!  What a joke! Sorry, can't stop laughing. What are you gonna do with a measly  $2 million? Thanks for making my point classidlib2. 

A "laughable" drop in the bucket compared to tens of millions of $$ Soros, the Tides Foundation, Ford Foundation, Herb and Marion Sandler and dozens of other mega-wealthy donors pour into radical left wing causes.  $2 Million....Ha!

And thank God for Rupert Murdoch.  At least he insists on both sides being presented.  Compare lonesome little Fox News with the hard liberal biased ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and all of the far left blogs.  Thank goodness for good old Fox News. Certainly Fair and Balanced.

Tea Partiers can't afford to pay a president nor can they afford offices. They operate off of their home computer & maintain a family and full time job simultaneously. Now thats grassroots. Darvin Dowdy

Tea Partiers don't have massive $$'s, they have "Numbers"

Massive Informed Voters, trumps  $$'s.   Obama Bought his Election, SEIU contributed Massive $$'s.  But Voters are informed now, especially the C-Span Voters.....they are not seeing what they were Promised.

All that "O" money got 'em 52% of the National Vote.   Massive $$'s did not equal a Landslide.  

NJ and Va. are the Canary in the Piggy Bank.   Massachusetts will the Eagle in the Bank Vault.

Astroturf and Grass Root

Liberal ToddLuvsLounging says:

If not astroturf, Freedom Works and Fox sure did fertilize the heck out of it. Whether or not the tea partiers began as a grass root phenomenon, they have become a force within the Republican Party. In fact, they have become a Frankenstein creation no longer under control of their astroturf gardeners and now the party must watch their party become even more unelectable.

If not astroturf, Freedom

If not astroturf, Freedom Works and Fox sure did fertilize the heck out of it.

Is there a single genuine grassroots movement in the history of grassroots movements that had its own 24-hour-a-day nationwide network promoting it, from its birth, every hour on the hour? The total amount of free advertising given to the teabaggers in 2009 via Fox News alone would almost certainly come to tens of millions of dollars (or more) by Fox's standard ad rates, and that's before you get to the even-more voluminous contribution of outlets like talk radio. What became the teabagger movement was invented by three corporate-backed, right-wing organizations run by corporate lobbyists, orgs that specialized in astroturf campaigns. That's who they are; that's what they do. These are the same orgs who have been behind every major teabagger event to date, and most of the teabagger orgs are front-groups, subsidiaries, or affiliates of one or more of these same orgs (a 4th was later added). The purpose of the astroturfers is to give an impression of public discontent much wider and more severe than is actually the case, which is why every teabagger event is subject to astroturfing lies by its organizers--a mediocre crowd of 60-70,000 in D.C. is transformed, by the head of one of the astroturfing orgs, into 1.5 million, then 2 million, even "the biggest rally in the capitol's history," and, within days, photos from a completely different, much larger rally are circulated around the internet by the teabagger orgs to back up the lie. Fox News takes a later teabagger event that draws a paltry crowd and inserts file video of a larger crowd from a different event to make it look larger. The psychotic Michelle Bachmann conspires with the astroturfers to create a teabagger rally on the steps of the capitol then goes on televisionto tell the world that the rally was entirely spontaneous, organized solely by word of mouth, and didn't feature a single person trucked in from anywhere, while, in the real world, the event was put together by the same orgs behind all of the teabagger events, the "spontaneous" rally that emerged via "word of mouth" was, in fact, heavily promoted by Fox, right-wing talk radio, and the astroturfing orgs on the internet, and one of the astroturf orgs trucked in at least 40 busloads worth of "spontaneous" crowd.

That's how astroturf works.

You don't want this fight

Is there a single genuine grassroots movement in the history of grassroots movements that had its own 24-hour-a-day nationwide network promoting it, from its birth, every hour on the hour? The total amount of free advertising given to the teabaggers in 2009 via Fox News alone would almost certainly come to tens of millions of dollars (or more) by Fox's standard ad rates, and that's before you get to the even-more voluminous contribution of outlets like talk radio.

Shall we start comparing the Tea Party with the anti-war movement in these terms as well?  Really?  It's pretty clear which side had more media promotion.

wow

Shall we start comparing the Tea Party with the anti-war movement in these terms as well?  Really?  It's pretty clear which side had more media promotion.

If you're suggesting the anti-Iraq-war movement has any real promotion by the corporate press, you're making as complete a fool of yourself as you would by earnestly claiming the moon is made of green cheese or the Holocaust never happened. They received no promotion at all, and their total coverage, in 8 years, was probably equal to a few hours of what the teabaggers received on Fox going into any one of their events.

In the real world, anti-war sources couldn't pay to get covered by a corporate press that acted as a virtual co-conspirator with the Bush administration. The press, as almost a monolith, took the pro-war position, and voices of dissent were almost entirely locked out of the coverage. Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting ran the numbers on Iraq coverage by the three major U.S. news networks and PBS' Newshour. It broke down every news story on Iraq in a two-week period during the critical lead-up to the conflict (1/30/03 to 2/12/03). In that time, there were 393 on-camera sources on the evening newscasts. Out of that, only 17% "represented skeptical or critical positions on the U.S.'s war policy." Among U.S. sources, 75% were "official sources"--current or former government or military officials--and, of these, only one expressed any skepticism of the Bush policy. Only 6% of total U.S. sources were skeptics, and, "of all 393 sources, only three (less than 1 percent) were identified with organized protests or anti-war groups."

When the war began, FAIR followed this up with another study, beginning the day Bush launched the war, and continung for three weeks. This one cast an even wider net--it examined the Iraq coverage of the three networks, the Newshour, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports, and Fox’s Special Report with Brit Hume. In this period, there were 1,617 sources appearing, but the results were even worse than before:

"Nearly two thirds of all sources, 64 percent, were pro-war, while 71 percent of U.S. guests favored the war. Anti-war voices were 10 percent of all sources, but just 6 percent of non-Iraqi sources and 3 percent of U.S. sources. Thus viewers were more than six times as likely to see a pro-war source as one who was anti-war; with U.S. guests alone, the ratio increases to 25 to 1... [T]heir [Americans opposing the war] proportion of the guestlist may still overstate the degree to which they were able to present their views on U.S. television. Guests with anti-war viewpoints were almost universally allowed one-sentence soundbites taken from interviews conducted on the street. Not a single show in the study conducted a sit-down interview with a person identified as being against the war."

Two years later, nothing had changed. The protests held on the second anniversary of the war's launch didn't receive a single mention on any network newscast. Later, in September, the anti-war movement brought over 100,000 people to D.C.; the total tv coverage that day was a passing mention on NBC Nightly News and a brief reference to it on CNN.

And so on.

The anti-war movement couldn't buy coverage, certainly not promotion--it was lucky if most of the corporate press even mentioned it existed at all. This compares to the open, aggressive promotion of the various tea party events--not just coverage--by Fox News (only one of the outlets to offer such promotion), which has the subject on the air every hour, 24-hours/day for weeks leading up to every major teabagger event, and do all-day live broadcasts from each of those events. FNC promotes them, encouraging people to attend, and pimps the fictions that inflame the useful idiots into doing so. A Fox producer was even caught whipping up a crowd, off camera, to make it look better on TV. As I said, the bill for the free advertising, using regular FNC rates, would have to be in the tens of millions of dollars. Fox was even running hundreds of ads, in with their regular commercials, promoting their coverage of these events. Fox also spent the money to run a full-page ad in the Washington Post in Sept. complaining about the failure of the networks to cover the 9/12 teabagger event. In reality, every news outlet named in the ad had heavily covered it, and the ad was merely an astroturf tactic aimed at getting even more out of them. Because the teabaggers are astroturf, that became a pattern throughout the year; the press would run hundreds of stories on the teabaggers--far more than was warranted--while conservatives would claim the teabaggers were being ignored.

"Wow" yourself

[The anti-war movement] received no promotion at all, and their total coverage, in 8 years, was probably equal to a few hours of what the teabaggers received on Fox going into any one of their events.

Even back in 2003 I wasn't watching much TV, and even I saw enough -- on TV and in newspapers -- over the time between the invasion and Bush leaving office to know that that's BS.  Cable and the national papers and magazines covered big protests, local news covered little local protests like students walking out of school early to protest the war.  I read about the protests in the paper, many many times, including in the conservative press.  I followed blogs pretty well from 2003 on, and there wasn't a shortage of links to stories about protests.  Conservative bloggers, in turn, picked things about the protests to criticize.  Zombietime was at work from early 2003 on.

Maybe the press was largely favorable to the Iraq War in the opening weeks.  But the 5 weeks you talk about is just a tiny part of the war -- and at that point, the anti-war movement was just getting started.

Now, you do mention a number of statistics over that 5-week period.  I appreciate that.  But let's take those percentages you mention -- the sources and newscasts that were anti-war or mentioned the anti-war movement in the 5 weeks surrounding the war.  Let me ask: what percentage of sources and newscasts promoted the tea parties?  What percentage were dismissive or actively hostile?

I remember some reporters getting pretty hostile, asking random protestors policy questions along the lines of, "Do you realize that Obama is cutting taxes for 95% of workers?"  Plenty of reporters called the protestors "teabaggers" (as I see you're still doing), both before and after a variety of talking heads made adolescent "teabagging" jokes.

insulting the protesters

Bryan, that's an important point.  Even if classicliberal2's claims are correct, did the MSM reporters go out of their way to insult and demean the antiwar protesters, like what they did to the Tea Party protesters?  No.  In fact they went out of their way in the opposite end - downplaying the socialist/communist ties to the protests' organizers, and emphasizing that the protesters were composed of little old ladies and suburban soccer moms (rather than the radical college students and hippie antiwar protesters recycled from the 60's, which were a good portion of them too).

FAIR's bogus study

Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting ran the numbers on Iraq coverage by the three major U.S. news networks and PBS' Newshour. It broke down every news story on Iraq in a two-week period during the critical lead-up to the conflict (1/30/03 to 2/12/03).

Gee, what a coincidence - FAIR stopped their "study" just as the largest antiwar protests were starting up.

This would be equivalent to saying that Fox News didn't promote the Tea Party protests at all because they barely mentioned them at all during the month of May.  (The biggest protests were in April, July and September.)

Try again when you have something intellectually honest to report.

How would you rate the media on Palin Reporting?

The media is in the business to make money, they need viewership to do that. When hundreds of thousands take to the streets people want to know it - this is what one calls "the news."

I once had the honor of talking with somebody about life in poland when it was controlled by the USSR and had state ran media. People knew the News was biased - they did not get information about "the News" from the state media. Information about strikes was passed along by the method used to relay the news before broadcast media. But with the advent of the trucking it was the truck drivers that relayed the news.

I guess if we did not have FOX news in this country would you be saying the truck drivers were the astroturf for telling other people about people on the street in front of city hall? Do you really think it can be kept a secret?

Many ultra liberal news outlets are failing; soon they may ask for a Government bailout. If they get it - it will be the end of them; Expect boycotts after that point. Many ultra liberal news outlets seem to think bashing Palin is "News" while they iqnore real news like:

  • While Obama claims economic growth the Government revenues are down by double digits
  • Obama first year has the most jobs lost since 1940
  • And yes, large numbers of people on the streets - unless it is in another country.

 

I'm a libertarian, not a lefty but . . .

going to huffington post the big headline is . . .

MANCESSION: 1 IN 5 WORKING AGE MEN DON'T HAVE A JOB Unemployment Stuck At 10%... 85,000 Jobs Lost In December, Worse Than Expected Long-Term Unemployment Is Becoming The Norm

 

sorry for the big graphics. I lifted straight from. Do you get out much? As for Obama claiming improvements . . . that's what presidents do. They try to find the bright spot. Bush did it. Even as the national debt was rising and economic indicators were all turning south, I remember him talking about the robustness of home ownership as proof the economy wasn't tanking.

 

It is the Obama's "FLOGs" are making the astroturf claims.

Astro Turf refers to fake grassroots movements. Which may put up a website and look like it has lots of activity but is actually a hand full of employees who are doing community organization for a paycheck.

An astroturf if forced to get people to a meeting tend to bring them all in the same bus. While grass roots movements people drive themselves, have a mind for themselves and are active for their own interests - not for a paycheck that they did not receive.

For astroturf to have had 1000 plus parties with 1000 plus people would mean an organizer would of needed to spend over $100,000,000 the tea parties have been much larger than that.

Flogs are fake logs ... people who are paid to post messages on sites. The flogs are the people who are claiming teaparties are astroturf.

Funny to watch this.

"It's astro-turf."

"Not it's not . . . ACORN"

"Astroturf"

"ACORN"

-----------------------------

Both parties back groups of genuinely motivated people (for decent causes) to raise money and win elections. Call it what you will, it's conventional politics. Reagan was called a radical by his own party when he was running, and now he's St. Reagan to Repbulicans. Obama was some seething radical when he was getting elected and he turns out to be a fairly conventional Dem (and of course, he's now a lier because he hasn't done anything radical).

The tea party will run it's course, and we'll all fondly remember it as much as we do 'The Contract with America", which I think worked better and I'm sure Dick Army is channeling. Maybe Newt's on as a paid consultant.

Already you see genuine t-party memebers splintering. They're starting to see the money/influence side of it. They're good people in a nasty game, and the experts of that game have been playing it a long time.

 

Prominent Voice in Health Care Debate Took Money from the Admin

Hat tip Black Kettle

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber has become the go-to economist for fans of the health care reform wending its way through congress. He regularly produces analyses showing how great reform is going to be for people buying insurance in the individual market, and has been a vocal advocate for the excise tax. His prominence made him a natural lead-in for Ron Brownstein’s recent piece on the health care bill for Atlantic Politics:

To bad the FTC is not asking flogs to disclose when they make a profit off their posts as is required if they endorse a product and have an affiliation.

The "Clear Leader" of the Tea Party is being answered

Palin has been announced as a keynote Speaker...or THE keynote Speaker of the Tea Party Convention.

And as usual, the Tea Party movement is being underestimated....but things are rolling along...But  with an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll ranking a generic “Tea Party” as more popular than either Democrats or Republicans.............Don't worry, be Happy, The Tea Party will run through the RNC.....literally.....

The Question Begs.......who is leading the Republican Party ?   Steel ?  or butter.

 

Palin's tea party raises eyebrows

 

http://mobile.politico.com/story.cfm?id=31284&cat=topnews

 

The Tea Party Convention is being organized by Tea Party Nation, a for-profit company that runs a social networking website for activists, but is not considered a leading group in the tea party movement. It’s paying for Palin’s fee (reported to be in the low six figures) and other overhead by selling tickets (at $560 a pop) and by offering sponsorships, in some cases for $50,000 each.

“She thinks she’s coming to endorse the tea party movement, but most tea party people won’t be there because they can’t afford it,” he said. “The tea party movement is a grass-roots movement; it’s not a business,” he added, asserting the convention “could potentially harm the movement, because it’s a premature national initiative that doesn’t have the support of the majority of we the people.”

 

(emphasis mine)

We will see....all that $$$$$ (money) for a Convention...hmmm

As a Tea Party Participant, you are correct....so far we're working.... and can't afford to attend a Convention.  Lots of Un-employed have time on their hands to attend, but no money, and NO Hope for Change.

But Tea Partiers can afford to vote.   All that Money showing up at a Tea Party Convention is going to be interesting to Observe......after all.....it is a Plan for a Convention, and so far not yet a Reality......But Palin Guarantees attendence.

Palin can Speak at Lots of Conventions, she has options, this is just one speaking engagement ..............She may speak and set a Tone that Obama and Friends cannot afford to Ignore, but I hope they do ignore the 800 lb Gorilla. 

The Boston Tea Party was in the middle of the night, while Boston Slept, and the Enemy was Ignoring the Harbor, Security was Lax.