By Brendan Fischer on September 12, 2011

CNN Tea PartyCNN Online has published a story titled an "angry electorate helps sustain tea party," ignoring the clear evidence the "movement" is only sustained by thinly-veiled religious zeal and wealthy funders like the Koch brothers.

Perhaps in an effort to avoid accusations of liberal bias, CNN Online parrots Tea Party spin, concluding the article by quoting a GOP strategist who states "The tea party is an organic movement that was largely created by people who were frustrated by Washington. ... There's not much you can do about something that's genuine, something that grew organically." On the contrary, the tea party has been funded since its inception by the billionaire Koch brothers and other wealthy ideologues, and its events and gatherings have been orchestrated by corporate lobbyists.

Koch-funded Christian Right

Studies show that most people who now identify with the Tea Party were already highly partisan Republicans and identified with the religious right before the "movement" began. In the August 2010 New Yorker article lifting the veil on Tea Party funding, conservative economist Bruce Bartlett explained that "the problem for the Kochs has been trying to create a movement," and that they are "trying to shape and control and channel the populist uprising into their own policies." Tea Party handlers, then, harness the religious zeal of its members, allege they are motivated by Ayn Rand-inspired economic populism, and run candidates like Michele Bachmann who play down their extreme social conservatism in favor of an economic platform. And news outlets like CNN apparently continue to take the "grassroots movement" at face value.

Clearly Partisan Agenda

Matt Kibbe, longtime Republican operative and president of tea party group FreedomWorks, told CNN "we're not a protest movement anymore; we've morphed into something else. We're a get-out-the-vote machine. We're organizing at the community level."

Recently released recordings from the Koch brothers' donor retreat in June, though, demonstrate that Tea Party events have always been aimed at electing Republicans. As Think Progress notes, Koch Industries executive and lobbyist Kevin Gentry described being "on the road" in 2010 for the Koch-funded "Americans for Prosperity's last minute kind of get out the vote tours," which he said was "a Tea Party AFP event designed to help in the Congressional races." The specific "get out the vote" event Gentry referenced was in Congressman Paul Ryan's district.

CNN is co-sponsoring a GOP presidential debate with the Tea Party Express tonight (which Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting discusses here).

Brendan Fischer

Brendan Fischer is CMD's General Counsel. He graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Comments

And how exactly are the Kock brothers more bothersome than say Warren Buffet? I guess it's because Buffet backs Obama that he's ok?

The hypocrisy displayed in posts like yours is astounding!

to the best of my knowledge, Warren Buffet is not funding and orchestrating astroturf groups and calling them "grassroots," and the media is not parroting the message.

First of all, I have no idea who Warrant Buffett "backs" or has backed over the years, and his views on President Obama whatever they may be are really beside the point.

Second, Buffett's actual views that are germane are those on the unfairness of a tax code that allows him to pay less as a percentage of his income than his salaried secretary. One would think that this would concern any thinking person, regardless of party. And, it would be rational to think that tea party folk--were they not poisoned with calculated disinformation--would be eager to embrace a billionaire's request to pay his fair share, rather than receive a note like yours that imagines a hypocrisy that is not evident in this article.

Third, so count me suprised that you'd rather take pot shots at the president and a billionaire who has spoken out about the shameful truth about the way the tax code helps him and other billionaires rather than you expressing any concern for the billionaire bankrolling expensive tea party motor coaches, like Koch Industries' David Koch who chairs and funds "Americans for Prosperity" with its campaign events in Wisconsin and elsewhere....

Remarks like this one by Anonymous are disturbing because they characterize the extreme lack of voter comprehension that facilitates ALEC is achieving its goals.

Anonymous, please tell your friends it DOES matter how they vote this time, and suggest they and you learn a little more about the issues and the people.