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Tea Party Leaders Criticize Beck’s 8/28 Rally: ‘All He’s Doing Is Trying To Use Us To Promote Himself’

By Ben Armbruster on August 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm

"Tea Party Leaders Criticize Beck’s 8/28 Rally: ‘All He’s Doing Is Trying To Use Us To Promote Himself’"

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glennbeckThis Saturday in Washington, DC, Fox News host Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally will take place at the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Beck has claimed that the rally — meant “to recognize our First Amendment rights and honor the service members who fight to protect those freedoms” — is “going to be one for the history books” and will be “a turning point in America.”

Beck has been a fervent supporter of the Tea Party, having previously promoted its events and rallies and even provided a forum for various Tea Party factions to work out their differences. While many local Tea Party chapters are helping to turn out attendees for the rally, some Tea Party leaders aren’t interested in helping Beck:

At least one tea party group rejected Beck’s entreaties to assist with the march, concluding he was offering little in return for its organizational know-how and credibility, while giving preferential treatment to FreedomWorks, which is paying to sponsor Beck’s radio show. The group’s leader, who requested anonymity to avoid antagonizing Beck, said, “All he’s doing is trying to use us to promote himself.” [...]

“I call it ‘Beckaplooza,’ because it seems to be all about Beck,” said Andrew Ian Dodge, the Maine state coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, a coalition of local groups that has helped stage several big rallies. … [W]hen the Patriots were deciding whether to help with Saturday’s rally, Dodge said there was internal queasiness over the M.L.K. link and Beck’s inflammatory rhetoric, including his blasting of Obama as a racist. … “Beck takes it outside of the realm of fiscal conservatism into issues that are more emotional and make you wonder if we really want to be associated with this guy,” [Dodge said].

RedState.com’s Erick Erickson said Beck is going to have to “be careful” or his gimmicks are “going to start becoming a punchline.”

Fox executive Bill Shine told Politico that “there is no organized promotion planned for the rally on Fox News and the network has nothing to do with it.” But as Media Matters notes, Fox has in fact been the “unofficial corporate sponsor” of Beck’s event. Perhaps that’s why Beck is expecting such a high turnout, recently suggesting that it will be similar in size to President Obama’s inauguration. “This will be a thing that your children will remember,” he has said. “I expect a miracle on 8/28.” Organizers are anticipating 300,000 participants. The country anxiously awaits.

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