It’s official. America’s most ludicrous, harebrained, unbalanced, politically naive collection of cantankerous, hateful, rightist zealots (Tea Baggers), has spawned its own media association to bring to journalism the same type of biased, counter-factual, willfully ignorant, propaganda pioneered by the AstroTurf lobbyists, evangelists, and politicos who brewed up the Tea Parties in the first place.
The National Tea Party Convention, where it will cost “average” citizen activists $549.00 to attend and to witness yet another vapid lecture by keynote speaker Sarah Palin, has released a list of those who will be issued press credentials to cover the affair. It is an admirably diverse group that spans the political spectrum from ultra-conservatism to uber-cultist, Patriopathic™ dementia:
- Fox News
- The Wall Street Journal
And that’s it. This coalition of partisan blowhards forms the cornerstone of what I will henceforth call the Tea Party Media Association. The founding members include two Rupert Murdoch mouthpieces. Murdoch, of course, also employs Palin, the confab’s star attraction. The other three credentialed news manglers are notorious purveyors of right-wing disinformation. And WND’s boss, Joseph Farah, is also a speaker at the convention.
The event was originally off limits to the media, but with the addition of Palin as the celebrity draw, the conventioneers have reconsidered. It may have something to do with Palin’s insatiable lust for self-promotion. Or perhaps they just need to find ways to recoup the reported $100,000.00 speaking fee Palin gouged from them.
The rise of the Tea Party Media is not entirely unexpected. It isn’t much more than an extension of the Conventional Media. Whenever there is an exploitable incident the press reverts to its native pack mentality and relies on its basest instincts rather than reason, which is more difficult to convey in sound bites. So whether it involves a celebrity death, a high-speed police chase, or a political dust-up, the media will behave with precision predictability and flood the zone with shallow reporting and analysis.
But the Tea Party Media takes this behavior to new extremes. It is a closed loop of directed storytelling wherein the various participants borrow from, and feed to, one another. What shows up as wild speculation on Breitbart.com is regurgitated as an outrage by Glenn Beck. Then the Wall Street Journal reports that “some” in the media are saying it. Thereafter, the rest of the press sources the Wall Street Journal without doing any research of their own. Finally, Breitbart uses the these media references to certify his original fabrication.
In order to sustain this process it is critical to control media access. That is why the Tea Baggers convention is only permitting the most reliably partisan hacks to cover it. They are palpably afraid of honest observers gaining access. The Tea Party movement itself is cracking from within as rival factions battle for control and authenticity. The Tea Party Express hate the Tea Party Patriots who hate the Tea Party Nation. While most of these groups hate the Democrats, some also hate the Republicans, and everybody seems to hate RNC Chair, Michael Steele. Part of the effort to limit press availability is to suppress reporting of these squabbles and present a united front.
Without a doubt, Fox News is the dominant presence in the Tea Party Media. They brazenly promoted the Tax Day Tea Parties and last fall’s 9/12 rally in Washington, DC. They even re-branded them as FNC events. They already had the Tea Bag King (Glenn Back) on the payroll and now they have hired the Queen Tea Bagger as a commentator. Fox will have to compete for Palin’s time as she continues on her book tour and makes room in her schedule for any speaking engagement that will shell out the big bucks.
Amongst Palin’s upcoming engagements is an appearance at the annual meeting of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association. It apparently didn’t matter whether their keynoter had any knowledge of the beverage industry. It could also make for some confusion as reports are sure surface that Palin is speaking at a “Whine” convention and people will automatically assume it’s the Tea Baggers. Not to worry, though. The Tea Party Media will set everything straight for the audience of delusional malcontents it serves and everyone will arrive safely at their appointed indoctrination destination.