Remember This While Watching The CNN/Tea Party GOP Debate

CNN Tea PartyWhen the Republican debate tonight airs it is important to put into context the venue in which the candidates will appear. This debate is being broadcast on CNN along with their co-hosts, the Tea Party Express (TPE).

From the start, the notion of elevating any Tea Party group to the position of national debate sponsor was ludicrous. The Tea Party is nothing but a fringe element of the Republican Party. It has very little support, even amongst Republicans, and its approval ratings have been on a path of rapid descent. It’s most recent nationwide bus tour, which is scheduled to conclude today at the Tampa site of the debate, has been an utter failure with record low attendance.

Contrary to the general practice of engaging impartial partners for debate presentations, TPE is hardly impartial. It is a political action committee that has actively engaged in campaigning on behalf of specific candidates. They supported senate candidates Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and Joe Miller in Alaska (all lost). They have also been vocal proponents of Sarah Palin who has appeared as a sort of mascot for the group. Palin is supposedly still considering joining the race president herself (although I submit that she is perpetrating something of a hoax in conjunction with Fox News), so TPE cannot now be reasonably be portrayed as fair presenters. They have far too many obvious conflicts of interest.

What makes matters worse is that TPE is a corrupt organization that has even been rebuked by the rest of the so-called Tea Party movement. They were created by Sal Russo and his Republican PR firm, Russo Marsh, and their brief history is fraught with scandal. Rival Tea Party groups were harshly critical of them for directing nearly half of the money they raised from citizen supporters to Russo’s firm. Their former spokesman, Mark Williams, was forced to resign after publishing a racially offensive article on his web site. TPE was booted from the National Tea Party Federation for these and other ethical lapses.

What might have have prompted CNN to make this unholy alliance with a discredited and over-hyped entity? Undoubtedly CNN’s new president Ken Jautz had something to do with it. Jautz, who took the reins at CNN last September, was previously in charge of their sister network HLN. It was there that he made history by giving Glenn Beck his first job in television. At CNN he has already distinguished himself by hiring Andrew Breitbart’s Editor-in-Chief, Dana Loesch, as a political analyst and being alone in airing Michele Bachmann’s embarrassing Tea Party response to President Obama’s State of the Union message.

The CNN/Tea Party Express alliance is an unprecedented partnership between a news organization and an active political action committee that has already taken sides in the debate. Would CNN ever consider partnering with for a Democratic debate? Ironically, the American Dream Movement (of which MoveOn is a part) is now asking for equal time in the form of a post-debate response. Since CNN gave Tea Partier Michele Bachmann just such an opportunity, it would be only fair to grant the same courtesy to a legitimate enterprise with far more popular support. And what’s more, CNN should partner with the American Dreamers to co-host a debate in the upcoming election.

CNN is embarrassing themselves with this association with Tea Party Express. This debate is a farce that lacks the sort of credibility that an honest news enterprise would set as a goal. They ought to take measures to try to redeem what’s left of their tattered reputation – if it isn’t too late already.

[Addendum] CNN has posted an article today about how an “Angry electorate helps sustain tea party.” In it they assert that the Tea Party has “moved toward the mainstream.” CNN’s evidence for this is that CNN chose the Tea Party to co-host a debate that is airing on CNN. And this absurdly circular logic was the work of – you guessed it – a CNN political producer. So CNN is validating their own choice for debate partner by having a CNN analyst write an article for CNN praising the partnership with CNN. How convenient.


3 thoughts on “Remember This While Watching The CNN/Tea Party GOP Debate

  1. Good analysis of these frauds being foisted on the american people. They already have Fox not News why is CNN throwing in with this unholy alliance.

  2. Tea Party has been hijacked by neocons. “They dont attack us because of our actions but because we are free and prosperous”-Santorum. Who even believes this neocon rhetoric anymore. As Paul began to explain the principles of “blowback”, the “Tea Party” booed him. This wss a Perry / Romney debate and they had nothing to say. Apparently the “Tea Party” does not want an end to the wars. Minimal applause. This debate was a farce!

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