Just before Glenn Beck’s “non-political” tea party rally on the National Mall less than two weeks ago, the NAACP — in collaboration with ThinkProgress, Media Matters, and New Left Media — launched a site called TeaPartyTracker.org. Consistent with the NAACP’s stated desire to expose the intolerant elements of the tea party, the new site will aggregate and filter content produced by its partners that is related to the core mission of holding the tea parties accountable.
The tea party tracking site has spawned a conspiratorial fit from the right wing. The conservative blog Gateway Pundit sees the effort as a “smear” against the right. Glenn Beck’s new site cautions, “Tea Partiers beware — the NAACP is watching you.” This morning on Fox & Friends, contributor Andrew Napolitano said that because Glenn Beck has assembled “the largest political gathering in the past 40 years,” “suddenly, the left is worried.”
Appearing on CNBC to discuss the CAPAF-sponsored Clean Energy Summit, John Podesta was asked about the tea party tracking effort by conservative host Joe Kernen. Podesta responded, “What we’re trying to do is just really focus on the facts, talk to people, see what they’re for. … We want to have an open dialogue.” Referring to Fox News, he added, “There shouldn’t just be one source of information about the tea parties coming from one of your network rivals.” Watch a compilation:
As frequent readers of our site are well aware, tracking the tea party movement is not something “new” for ThinkProgress. We’ve been monitoring the growth of angry right-wing activism, prior to when it was calling itself the “tea parties.”
This new TeaPartyTracker site will simply aggregate the content that ThinkProgress is already producing. As I explained to the Daily Caller and the Washington Post last week, ThinkProgress will continue to do what it has always done. We aren’t changing our focus or receiving any new resources for this specific effort. We’ll simply produce the content we always have, and the NAACP will select pieces of it that they feel deserve more attention.
Astroturf corporate front groups are already planning a response in reaction to our efforts to hold the tea parties more accountable. FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe said his organization will roll out “Diverse Tea,” a campaign that will showcase diversity in the Tea Party movement, sometime this week or early next week. “The idea is to create a platform for African-American Tea Party leaders, Hispanic Tea Party leaders and Jewish Tea Party leaders to get out there and talk about why they’re involved and why these issues matter so much to them,” Kibbe said.
Fox also called the Tea Party Tracker site a “sneaky new campaign” by “left-leaning media” to “paint” tea party “as racists.”
Lynnehs says: “So let me get this straight. The Tea Partiers go out in public doing protests and demonstrations designed to attract public attention. And now they are upset that while they are out in public trying to drum up attention, other people are paying them the attention they so desperately crave. Does that about sum it up?”