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The Media Need To Quit Pretending The 'Tea Party' Is Anything Other Than A Republican Rebranding Gimmick

I don't know about the rest of you but I get really tired of the media helping the Republican Party pretend that their lobbyist and corporate-funded a
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I don't know about the rest of you but I get really tired of the media helping the Republican Party pretend that their lobbyist and corporate-funded astroturf Tea Party is anything other than a way to get the Bush stink off of the GOP brand. What's ironic is they're now having discussions about how to get rid of the crazy, wingnut, racist, nativist brand that has always been the extreme right wing base of the Republican Party -- since they're closely associating with this Tea Party "movement", the stink is coming from the Republicans as well.

What they'll never admit is that this is just more of the same from the GOP, which has had little other than fear, race-baiting and division of one sort or the other, where they pit working-class people against each other for electoral advantage for ages now. Instead we get treated to conversations like this one on John King's show on CNN, which isn't short of its usual hackery even when he's gone on vacation. Jessica Yellin has jumped right in to fill King's shoes while he's been gone.

CNN seems to be trying to figure out how they want to brand themselves lately. So far it looks like the strategy is just to be a kinder, gentler version of ClusterFox. MSNBC during the day and right up through Tweety's show is just about as bad. The only person in the media I've seen any honest reporting on with just what the "Tea Party movement" is and who is paying for, riling up and busing in those protesters is Rachel Maddow, God bless her.

I don't think I've seen a single show on CNN or most of cable or network news for that matter other than Rachel's show tell their viewers about who is funding the movement and what their industry ties are. They'd rather keep up with the perception that this is some real grass roots movement that has broken off from the Republican Party when that could not be further from the truth. The Tea Party movement is the Republican Party and they're tied at the hip with their corporate backers and their leaders and their agenda.

Any attempt to paint them as otherwise is just propaganda. Sadly, this conversation on CNN is just one more example of what we see day in and day out out of most of our corporate media, and it's not even one of the worst examples. The downright cheerleading from Fox with their coverage of the rallies and CNN not being too far behind with riding along with them on their tours had to be some of the worst.

There have been much bigger protests from the left on the Iraq invasion among other things and those received nothing short of a collective yawn from our "mainstream media". I guess covering issues that actually have millions of Americans rightfully upset with their government just isn't as interesting to them as pushing their latest Drudge/Politico/right wing talk radio/Republican talking point of the day.

CNN's hackery below the fold.

YELLIN: Let's move onto something else that happened today, a group representing the Tea Party Express had a press conference in Washington, D.C. and addressed the issue of race. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SELENA OWENS, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: This is not a movement driven by race but of love of country, of our Constitution, and for the principles of liberty and freedom that are dear to all Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: Obviously she's respond to the charge by the NAACP that the Tea Party is racist. Do you think, Gloria, the fact that they're even in this debate that the Tea Party is having this debate hurts the Republican Party's chances with minorities down the line? If you look at our census statistics --

BORGER: Sure.

YELLIN: -- the expectation is less than 50 percent of the country will be white --

BORGER: Sure, I think it hurts their chances. But I'm not saying that minorities would naturally embrace a Republican platform --

YELLIN: Anyway.

BORGER: So, you know look, Republicans have problems right now with minorities and with Hispanics. So yes I do think this certainly doesn't help their argument that they want to become a more inclusive party which by the way started when you were in the White House with George W. Bush, who really reached out to Hispanic voters and tried to get an immigration bill passed.

YELLIN: Does the party's turn-around surprise you that under -- when you were there under President Bush there was this embrace of immigration and this effort to reach out to minorities --

GERSON: Well this is clearly the most dangerous element of the Tea Party movement I believe in the long term, is to have the Republican Party characterized in its public utterances by (INAUDIBLE) sentiment. You know I think you would talk to people, experts on this Republicans can't win national elections in the long term without maybe 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, which is about what George Bush got in his re-election campaign. And so this is a survival issue, an existential issue for Republicans that they're not taking very seriously.

YELLIN: But Sam, let me ask you, when I'm out covering the Tea Party, these are energized people who tell me that they used to go out, some of them, and protest about -- for pro-life or they were passionate about other issues. It was a Christian right and now that that energy has been redirected into these economic issues. In a way, is the Tea Party helping, arguably, the Republican Party by refocusing on to the economy?

STEIN: Yes, I mean this is really the weak point of the Obama presidency is that he's spent all this money and a lot of people don't think there's much to show for it. Now I happen to think that the Recovery Act has done a lot of good, but when you have unemployment hovering at 9.5 percent it's very tough to make that case to the American public. What the Tea Party is doing is they're really blaring focus and spotlight on to that discrepancy and I think in that sense they do help the Republican Party.

JOHNS: Yes, the other thing you have to say, and you can't say enough, is when you talk about Tea Party, you're talking about a lot of moving parts here.

YELLIN: Yes.

JOHNS: But equally when you talk about the African-American vote, there's a lot of moving parts there too and there are people out on the wings who will say things that go too far. And there are some people who will get accused of not going far enough. So this is all part of the political system. And it's frankly all healthy.

BORGER: But it's not a way to really introduce yourself to American voters. If you look at the polls on the Tea Party movement particularly with independent voters, it's going in the wrong direction for the Tea Party movement because people liked tea partiers and the idea of it at first more than they do now. So they're introducing themselves to the public and the public is kind of saying, wait a minute, maybe you're not as great as we thought you were at the beginning because we agree with some of your anti-big government sentiment but --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you dig a little deeper --

BORGER: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

YELLIN: We'll see in November --

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