Fox's Griff Jenkins Paints the 'Tea Party' as Leaderless While Interviewing Their 'Major Players'
Apparently Fox's Greta Van Susteren and Griff Jenkins find no irony in trying to paint the "Tea Party" movement, a.k.a. the Republican astroturf rebranding effort, as some "leaderless" group during a segment which features all of those corporate funded Republicans who are running the show. Van Susteren and Jenkins have been some of the biggest cheerleaders on Fox with endless promotion of this "movement" and this segment was no exception.
For a reminder of who's funding the "Tea Party", here's Karoli's post from yesterday -- Tea Party, Inc: The Illustrated Guide
VAN SUSTEREN: Who is the Tea Party? Why was it formed? And what does it want to do? Well, FOX News's Griff Jenkins has been hitting the road to bring you a comprehensive look at the powerful national political movement that's been the talk of the town.
SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FOX CONTRIBUTOR: And it's the Tea Party Americans have been bold enough, courageous enough to start telling the truth.
MATT KIBBE, FREEDOM WORKS: When this started fomenting, you saw this energy that we had never seen before. You saw this uprising of citizens who had never been involved before.
JENNY BETH MARTIN, TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: I am one of thousands, if not millions, of Tea Party leaders. There's not one single person. Anyone can be a Tea Party leader.
KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH SR. ADVISER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Four years ago, 82 million people voted in races for the U.S. House of Representatives. I think this Tea Party sentiment that is driving all this activity is likely to drive that turn-out above 86 -- 85, 86, 87 million. I would not be shocked if it didn't make it all the way to 80 -- to 90 million people.
GRIFF JENKINS, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Regardless of the outcome of the mid-term elections, history will note that this was the year of the Tea Party. They've had an undeniable impact in this year's election cycle, most notably winning major victories in Republican primaries in places like Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Nevada and Utah.
In what began as a leaderless grass roots outpouring of anger and frustration at the establishment in Washington has grown into a formidable political movement calling for smaller government and fiscal responsibility. Do we really know who they are or that they are truly leaderless, as they claim to be? And what happens to them after November 2nd? Here we take a look at some of the major players in the Tea Party movement, starting with perhaps an unlikely face, someone who has been an insider in Washington, former House majority leader Dick Armey.
Who are the Tea Party? What do they want?
DICK ARMEY (R-TX), FMR. HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER, FREEDOM WORKS: They're really just plain folks. I tell you they're folks that have said, I'm an American. I'm protected by the Constitution. Therefore, I enjoy the luxury of not having to fear my government. And I can ignore my government. It's my right as a citizen because my Constitution protects my liberties. All of a sudden, they say, Wait a minute. This government is not abiding by the Constitution and they're infringing on my liberties.
This government is big enough -- the worst fear of our Founding Fathers was that our government could be big enough to ruin our nation. And it's gotten that big and that audacious. And so I can no longer now enjoy the luxury of staying out of it. I have got to get on the field and start disciplining this government.
The problem with this government is it doesn't understand its limitations. It doesn't respect its limitations.
JENKINS: Freedom Works is a Libertarian group that was founded by Armey in 2005 with president and CEO Matt Kibbe. Together, they have been helping Tea Party groups organize rallies across the country and get out the vote efforts in local districts.
KIBBE: We've always sought to organize grass roots citizens in the fight for lower taxes, less government and more freedom. And part of that process is training folks how to organize an event, how see a congressman, how to impact the decisions that politicians make.
JENKINS: Obviously, a guy like Dick Armey, former majority leader, yourself, a former Capitol Hill staffer -- there's a sense that this Tea Party is upset with the status quo, upset with the inside establishment guys. You guys are both inside Washington establishment people, but yet you're one of the key players in the Tea Party movement. How does that happen?
KIBBE: Well, we have to be judged every day whether or not we are true to principle, whether or not we are consistent with the Tea Party ethos. But I think if we have a humility going into that, I think we bring a certain value because after the election, the question becomes, How do we translate this movement, this protest movement into specific legislative initiatives that are going to fix our government, that are going to rein in spending, that are going to repeal and replace the health care bill? Dick Armey knows how to do that. I worked on the Hill. I at least understand how the process works. So if I can -- if I can be part of this movement and help people take the next step, I think we still add value.
JENKINS: The Tea Party Patriots is likely the largest national Tea Party organization, consisting of thousands of groups under one umbrella. They were founded last year by California lawyer Mark Meckler (ph) and stay-at-home mom Jenny Beth Martin, who lives in Atlanta. They are a non- profit organization, rather than a political action committee. So they neither endorse candidates nor give money directly to them. Their efforts are focused entirely on supporting the grass roots. And they recently received a $1 million donation from an anonymous donor.
Do you guys get behind candidates? Some of the other Tea Party groups have chosen to support Sharron Angle in Nevada or Christine O'Donnell in Delaware?
MARTIN: Endorsements are a perfect example of how Tea Party Patriots works. We had people getting on the call (ph) and saying, Can we endorse? Should we endorse? And we kept going back and forth about this. And finally, back in April or so of this year, someone brought it up again. And we really, really just sat there and discussed it for two-and-a-half hours. That Webinar went on for almost three, three-and-a-half hours, the whole thing. And we discussed the pros and the cons of endorsing nationally and locally.
And ultimately, the local coordinators said, No, do not endorse. We'd rather stick to our principles and educate people on the principles, rather than teaching the pros and cons of one person versus another.
JENKINS: So you don't endorse candidates. You're not a political action committee that puts money into races.
MARTIN: That's correct.
SANTORUM: Right? You're a non-profit organization?
MARTIN: Right. We're a 501C-4.
JENKINS: And so you support these conservative principles. What are the principles? What is Tea Party Patriots -- you're a Tea Party Patriot if you support what principles?
MARTIN: Three principles -- fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets.
ROVE: The Tea Party movement is but an expression. It's here's the Tea Party movement. It's an expression of a broader Tea Party sentiment that gave rise to it. And this is a powerful movement. You know, the sentiment that is out there in the country, which has expressed itself by some of the people who have that sentiment banding together in this highly energetic, incredibly decentralized group of organizations around the country, is going to have a huge impact on the election.
JENKINS: The Tea Party Express is best known for their cross-country bus tours and are currently on their fourth and final journey. They are a political action committee created by California-based Republican strategist Sal Russo.
SAL RUSSO, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: When the Tea Party idea came up, people says, Yes, we've got to do something different. We can't use the traditional parties. And that's what brought all the enthusiasm and the excitement. So we knew right then that we needed to get people to see that there were millions around the country that shared their views, that if they got off the couch, stopped throwing the slipper at the TV set when they're angry and actually got out in concerted action that they could make a big difference in America.
And so we did our first two bus tours in 2009 with that purpose, to make people see that it wasn't hopeless, that if you get out there, you get involved, you can make a difference and we can take our country back.
PALIN: Our message is, We don't work for you any more, Mr. Reid! Enjoy your retirement. We don't work for you anymore, Nancy Pelosi! You're fired! And Mr. Obama and your czars, you're next because now we can see 2012 from our house!
SANTORUM: Did you think when you first started participating with the Tea Party that it was going to get this big, that this movement was going to have the impact that it's had?
PALIN: Absolutely. And we know that the impact is going to be even greater come November 3rd because people then will be focused on the 2012 election and the need then for an even more aggressive movement to stop what President Obama is doing to this country when it comes to killing jobs with all the policies that he's so engaged in that make absolutely no sense for America.
What I'm real encouraged about and want to encourage Tea Party Americans about is to keep the faith. You know, they've been slandered. They've been lied about by mainstream media calling them racist, calling them fear mongers and violence inciters, and none of that is true. And yet they've been persevering through all of that adversity and all of that extra challenge. They're standing strong. They're standing very committed to their message. It is the right message for America, and I want to encourage them to just keep the faith, keep it up.
JENKINS: Are you the leader of the Tea Party?
PALIN: You know, thank goodness, Tea Party Americans don't have, they don't need a leader, an individual. They're not a bunch of sheeple. You know, they're -- they're good, hard-working, patriotic independent Americans, you know, not just hard-core conservatives or involved in any kind of political machine. They're independents knowing that America is based on some very, very solid foundational principles. They want to get back to those principles, and that has nothing do with having a party machine telling them or an individual politician telling them what to do.
VAN SUSTEREN: And we'll find out in eight short days the impact of the Tea Party on this year's elections.