Organizers of the radical anti-Obama “tea party” protests have been trying to claim that the events are rising up spontaneously. Many of these organizers, such as Eric Odom, are claiming that the tea parties are being held by “regular American[s] in protest of government spending and extreme taxation.”
However, as Media Matters recently documented, Fox News has been aggressively promoting the anti-tax protests:
Specifically, Fox News has in dozens of instances provided attendance and organizing information for future protests, such as protest dates, locations and website URLs. Fox News websites have also posted information and publicity material for protests. Fox News hosts have repeatedly encouraged viewers to join them at several April 15 protests that they are attending and covering.
The network has also been pushing the movement’s talking points, saying that people are “angry,” “upset,” and “feeling disenfranchised,” which is why they’re organizing this “nationwide grassroots movement.” Promising “fair and balanced” coverage, hosts such as Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, and Sean Hannity are all planning to broadcast live from the events. The Fox broadcasts are in turn being used by the tea party organizers to promote their protests.
Think Progress has put together a video illustrating Fox News’s active role in promoting the “FNC Tax Day Tea Parties.” Watch it:
Fox News isn’t the only right-wing organization involved in building up these so-called “grassroots” events. The tea parties have been heavily backed by corporate lobbyists. The principle organizers of many of the local events are actually the lobbyist-run think tanks Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, and Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions. The groups are heavily staffed and well funded, and are providing all the logistical and public relations work necessary for planning coast-to-coast protests.
With its aggressive advocacy for the anti-Obama protests, it looks like Fox is quickly dropping its “fair and balanced” slogan to become the “voice of opposition” to the Obama administration.
Andrew Sullivan has more here on the symbiosis between the protests and Fox News.