Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spontaneous Uprising? Corporate Lobbyists Help Orchestrate Tea Party Protests

Original Link:

By GottaLaff

Short version: Grass roots, my ass. This movement is about as spontaneous as a bar mitzvah. Longer version via Think Progress:

Despite these attempts to make the “movement” appear organic, the principle organizers of the local events are actually the lobbyist-run think tanks Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works. The two groups are heavily staffed and well funded, and are providing all the logistical and public relations work necessary for planning coast-to-coast protests:

– Freedom Works staffers coordinate conference calls among protesters, contacting conservative activists to give them “sign ideas, sample press releases, and a map of events around the country.”

– Freedom Works staffers apparently moved to “take over” the planning of local events in Florida.

– Freedom Works provides how-to guides for delivering a “clear message” to the public and media.

– Freedom Works has several domain addresses — some of them made to look like they were set up by amateurs — to promote the protests.

– Americans for Prosperity is writing press releases and planning the events in New Jersey, Arizona, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, and several other states.

This type of corporate ‘astroturfing‘ is nothing new to either organization. While working to promote Social Security privatization, Freedom Works was caught planting one of its operatives as a “single mom” to ask questions to President Bush in a town hall on the subject. Last year, the Wall Street Journal exposed Freedom Works for similarly building “amateur-looking” websites to promote the lobbying interests of Dick Armey, the former Republican Majority Leader who now leads Freedom Works and is a lobbyist for the firm DLA Piper.

Americans for Prosperity is run by Tim Phillips, who was Ralph Reed’s former partner in the lobbying firm Century Strategies. The group is funded by Koch family foundations — a family whose wealth is derived from the oil industry. Indeed Americans for Prosperity has coordinated pro-drilling ‘grassroots‘ events around the country.

This afternoon, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, leader of the corporate-funded American Solutions for Winning the Futures (ASWF), blasted an e-mail to his supporters with a reminder to attend the protests, along with a "Toolkit" of talking points. Gingrich's ASWF is funded by polluters and helped orchestrate the "Drill Here, Drill Now" campaign last summer. ASWF has been an official "partner" in the tea party effort since at least March.
All that so-called Rushpublic folksiness (think: Sarah Palin's Rushpublic convention speech) and grassrootsiness amount to nothing but a front for the usual corporate puppeteers pulling the usual strings of the usual Stepford puppets who carry out their usual destructive, psycho tasks.

Will the corporate media call them out? I'm sorry, I couldn't hear your answer. It was drowned out by a big, loud, ear-splitting corporate "No!"

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