THE BLOG
07/07/2010 12:21 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Tea Party "Movement" Biggest Mass Deception Since WMDs

Tea Party "Movement" Biggest Mass Deception Since WMDs
by Trish Nelson

Remember, back in April when we said on Blog for Iowa that the tea party movement was like an extended infomercial without the info? And when we said that the Tea Party-as-grassroots-movement narrative was just one prolonged balloon-boy story that would turn out exactly like it and the WMD story - totally false? Well, we weren't the only ones saying it at the time, but just about. As it turns out, we were right and the entire corporate media, including Iowa's only statewide newspaper, the Des Moines Register, got it wrong.

Last week, Gallup released its most recent polling on the Tea Party, and in the way that research has of documenting the obvious, the results indicate that most (80%) of the tea partiers turn out to be...drum roll please...conservative Republicans! According to Gallup,

"Their similar ideological makeup and views suggest that the Tea Party movement is more a rebranding of core Republicanism than a new or distinct entity on the American political scene."

Who knew? Well, we did. And probably you did. But the Des Moines Register, who should have at least checked into it a little, apparently did not. They ran with the corporate story line like they stole something.

On tax day, the Register handed out free media to the tea party, promising readers "live news updates, photos and video, blog and twitter posts throughout the day."

This analysis by Kathie Obradovich: Insult the Tea Party? That's Risky (Feb. 8, 2010) ran on the same day as a multi-page spread by Thomas Beaumont that put undue stock in a recent Iowa poll about the tea party, and glorified their supposed political might, while downplaying facts that went against the story's pre-determined angle.

Obradovich gushed over the tea party of Iowa, calling it a "full-fledged phenomenon and potentially powerful force." She said "Democrats around the country have disparaged the Tea Party demonstrations, generally dismissing its supporters as wing nuts."

The Register has also repeated the inflammatory rhetoric by referring to the Tea Party movement as a groundswell of anger.

The Iowa poll produced a result seemingly indicating that at least in Iowa, tea partiers were largely independents. But if you look at the wording of the poll, respondents were only asked if they generally supported the tea party movement, not if they were active participants, and not how much they actually knew about the tea party. Since the media was at that time portraying the tea party as a sincere, authentic, independent, non-partisan, mainstream group of average citizens advocating accountability in government spending, well, who wouldn't say they supported that? I would support that. Does no one at the Register take the time to analyze polling results? When you look at the simplicity of the questions, it is obviously not meant to be a thorough undertaking, or assessment of who the tea partiers actually are. It is almost as if the questions were constructed to make a certain point.

As it turns out, the idea that the media bought and then tried to sell, that the tea party was a new, grassroots, completely independent uprising of righteous average citizens of a non-partisan nature, was as phony as John Edwards.

They Should Have Known

They should have known. The information has been out there since the group's inception, that, far from being a grassroots operation, the tea party is supported by conservative lobbying groups, Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, and Americans for Prosperity, among others. This is well documented. Here Here Here Here

They have also been endlessly promoted on Fox News and conservative talk radio, but these facts did not fit in with the corporate-dictated storyline of the tea-party-as-grassroots-movement.

Again, just like the Iraq war prelude and the false story of Iraq possessing WMDs, which the mainstream media (not just conservative media) passed on without question, few bothered to ask enough questions or investigate further. Or if they did, they ignored the facts that didn't fit their preferred storyline. The media, including Iowa's media, took home the handy, pre-packaged narrative, as seen on TV. It was like an impulse buy.

I like how Newscorpse puts it:

"Typical of how the press distorts trends, they make an observation from a narrowly defined (and usually conservative) vantage point and then extrapolate that to the broadest scope of interpretation...."

The Register article about the Iowa poll's results by Thomas Beaumont is a great example of extrapolating beyond the data. Here is just one excerpt out of many:

Beaumont wrote, "The poll's findings, at minimum, reflect anger.... national observers say. At maximum, they could foretell an eruption of voter outrage in November. " [Italics mine]

Really? First, I would like to know what "national observers" Mr. Beaumont is referencing. Limbaugh? Beck? O'Reilly? Drudge? I didn't see where the Iowa poll made an inquiry about whether the respondent was angry.

As for the statement that the poll results, "...could foretell an eruption of voter outrage in November.." this is pure hyperbolic extrapolation - unless the author consulted his tarot cards, there is nothing in the poll that would lead to this conclusion. Actually, maybe the DMReg. would do better on their predictions if they were to visit the 8-ball on John Deeth's blog, concentrate, and ask the 8-ball again...maybe this time the 8-ball will do them a favor and tell them to say, "cannot predict now... "

And speaking of outrage, what about the outrage of us poor slobs who are forced to read such tripe and wild speculation, giving validation to something utterly invalid under the guise of journalism in our beloved Des Moines Register, the paper I and my fellow Iowans have been reading since we were kids?

The Party's Over

As I predicted previously on Blog for Iowa, we will stop hearing about the tea party when the corporate money and corporate media need the message to change. So, isn't it interesting that an election draws near, a more moderate message is needed by the GOP, and a new Gallup poll comes out that is getting a subtly appropriate amount of media, but quietly putting the tea party back in its rightful place on the fringe, ensuring that no conservative politician has to be harmed by being associated with it.

And now that we have documentation of the obvious, that the tea party is in fact mostly right-wing nuts (the other 20% lying about being something other than conservative Republicans), do you think we'll see any retractions?

Not Our Fault

I predict that the media will drop the tea party narrative like a hot potato, quickly move onto the next story, and for the most part, will act as if the tea party "movement" never happened. They will simply pretend that they had nothing to do with it, but if they are ever forced to talk about it, there will be absolutely no insight or acknowledgement of their role in perpetuating the myth of the tea party as an independent, grassroots political force. Their new narrative will become one of feigned cluelessness, "What happened to the tea party movement? Everyone thought it was going to be such a dominant force... No one could have forseen this..." and on and on.

We've heard it all before. It is the same thing that everyone in the media said after it became obvious that there were no WMDs. They postured themselves as completely baffled about why everyone was equally uninformed about the fact that there were no WMDs in Iraq. They blamed the fact that everyone thought there were WMDS in Iraq all on the CIA - bad intelligence was the talking point, not bad reporting.

Will there be apologies from the media for their excessive, biased coverage of the tea partiers last August that helped kill the possibility of a decent health care bill? No, I predict that even though they did not do their jobs, and got it completely wrong, causing dire consequences for millions, just as they did with WMDs, there will definitely be no apologies.

Just to be sure though, I double-checked my prediction on Deeth's blog. The 8-ball said, "It is certain."