Maddow: The story behind Michelle Bachmann’s speech — it was a manufactured ‘event’ by CNN & a Republican for-profit consultant

Stunning. It appears from Rachel Maddow’s reporting that there’s a larger story behind the Michelle Bachmann “Tea Party movement official response” to Obama’s state of the union address. Turns out, “Tea Party” doesn’t mean what you think it means; and neither does “movement.”

According to Maddow, CNN has been working with Sal Russo, of the for-profit Republican consulting firm Russo Marsh & Rogers — Rachel used the words “merging” and “partnering” — in several Tea Party–related joint enterprises.

  • One was the placement of “embedded” reporters on Russo’s phony Tea Party Express bus tour (giving credibility to the bus tour and Fox-like publicity to CNN).
  • One will be an upcoming jointly-hosted “first-of-its-kind Tea Party presidential primary debate” (giving same to same; note the Fox-ification of CNN in this).
  • And one was the Michelle Bachmann–delivered “Tea Party movement official response” to Obama. Why was it “official”? Because CNN, who appear to have helped create it, said it was.

Amazing. Here’s Rachel (and note in the clips the continuous selling of this network-anointed “event” by Blitzer):

Put simply, Russo Marsh & Rogers first runs a Republican op whose cover story is “We’re the Tea Party on tour” — and whose actual story is “We’re a phony ginned-up astroturf operation vacuuming dollars from fooled Tea Party supporters into our bank account.” Then Russo Marsh & Rogers moves from raising money for itself to raising money for Republican candidates like Sharron Angle and Joe Miller.

And now CNN is helping them (and hard-right Republicans) validate themselves further and raise even more money, via a joint CNN–Russo op fronted by Michelle Bachmann. More to come, folks. This is apparently just the start.

Talk about monetizing your credibility. “The most trusted name in news” indeed. This is likely to leave a mark, which unfortunately may be all it’s likely to do.

Still, this might tarnish Michelle Bachmann, who unlike Sarah Palin, seems to be a one-song artist who lacks the latter’s more subtle feral instincts.

Either way, it will be worth watching the fallout from Rachel’s reporting.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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