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Erick Erickson, Founder Of ‘We Are The 53%’ Site, Whines About His Brand New House And Well Paid CNN Gig

CNN's Erick Erickson

Mounting a clever public relations gimmick to conceal the fact that nearly every American pays taxes in the form of payroll taxes, sales taxes, and fees, CNN’s Erick Erickson helped start the “We Are The 53%” website. The website, a parody of the popular We Are The 99 Percent Tumblr, features Americans posting messages about how they work hard and do not complain about diminishing living standards or the phenomenon that a tiny segment of the population is slowly accumulating most of the nation’s wealth.

Erickson’s message is a scribbled rant that reads:

I work 3 jobs./I have a house I can’t sell./My family insurance costs are outrageous./But I don’t blame Wall Street./Suck it up you whiners./I am the 53% subsidizing you so you can hang out on Wall Street and complain.

The three jobs Erickson wants you to believe he scrapes by on include occasional paid opinion blogging at RedState.com, a lucrative television contract with CNN, and a radio gig that paid the previous host $165,183 a year (Herman Cain’s financial disclosures show he was paid this amount before Erickson took over his spot). The house Erickson can’t sell? Bibb County, Georgia records reveal that Erickson just bought a new $374,900 house in February of this year, and owns another that, according to an estimate by the website Zillow, might be worth slightly less than the amount he paid for it in 2001. And its likely that Erickson’s CNN job alone provides him with a personal driver and covered travel expenses when he needs to appear on the show.

Moreover, when Erickson says he doesn’t blame Wall Street, who could be surprised? Erickson should be grateful to big corporations since they sponsor his blog and provide him with content:

Shilling For Banks: During the congressional battle over the Durbin Amendment, a rule that limits the amount banks can charge businesses to process debit-card fees, Erickson came out fiercely on the side of big banks. According to Bloomberg, Erickson had spoken with public relation firms employed by bank lobbyists while writing his posts. In his defense, Erickson told Bloomberg he became “leery” that bank lobbyists were excited about his March 14 post supporting the banker position. But later that month, he kept hawking banker talking points.

Shilling For Walmart: The first major evidence of RedState’s corporate sock-puppetry came in 2006 when the New York Times broke the story that Mike Krempasky, a RedState founder and blogger, was being paid by Walmart to orchestrate online attacks on the company’s critics. Krempasky had secured the Walmart deal through his job at the public relations firm Edelman, which maintained a major contract Walmart at the time. Since the first reports of Krempasky’s corporate contract, RedState has been a stalwart defender of Walmart.

Selling Erick Erickson ‘Video Endorsements’: An email uncovered earlier this year from Eagle Publishing, the owner of RedState, sold not only traditional advertisements and sponsorship opportunities, but also a “video endorsement” from Erick Erickson. “Organizations with issues, candidates and viewpoints that are in line with Erick’s positions can truly benefit from his endorsement,” read the sales pitch. Erickson has rented his list to MyWireless.org, a telecom front group funded by industry, as well as the American Petroleum Institute, an oil lobbying association.

Representatives For Corporate Lobbyists Guest Blog For Erickson’s Website: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a lobbying association for top firms like Goldman Sachs, Chevron, AIG and Dow Chemical, has partnered with RedState for blogger briefings and guest posts. Pat Cleary, a longtime communications person for the Chamber, is a regular front page writer for RedState.

Erickson’s Blog Caught In Pay-For-Blogging Scheme Orchestrated By Malaysian Lobbyists: The most unusual example of RedState’s fraudulent blogging may be the case of Josh Trevino, RedState’s co-founder. The government of Malaysia paid a consulting firm owned by Trevino and other regular RedState contributors to promote the ruling party using various conservative websites. Trevino, who recently collaborated with Erickson to created “We Are The 53%” site, even sponsored blogger meet and greets and fake media town halls with the current Malaysian prime minister.

Unfortunately, Erickson’s phony economic victim act is slowly catching on. In what has become a strange display of American feudalism, people are now contributing messages to Erickson’s 53 Percent site and boasting about being screwed by the economy. As Gawker notes, one 53 Percent post features a man who proudly says that he works hard yet lacks health insurance and can “barely afford” his rent. Another, a “former marine,” says he hasn’t had “4 consecutive days off in 4 years.” Blogger Max Read thinks Erickson has exposed “where the best of American values meet their most masochistic applications.” Reading through the contributions to the 53% site, Read concludes: “‘paid time off’ and ‘health insurance’ and ‘a living wage’ are apparently the demands of an unreasonably entitled parasitic class.”

UPDATE

Erickson has responded on his blog with name calling but no new facts. He says he isn’t paid well at CNN or through his radio show host job, but won’t even give a ball park figure of his income. He also ignores his extra salary from Eagle Publishing, the sponsor of his blog. Erickson began his “We Are The 53%” blog with a victimhood rant about his “3 jobs” and a house he “can’t sell.” But in his response to ThinkProgress, Erickson now says he is a winner of the failing economy. The second house ThinkProgress revealed, which Erickson bought for nearly $400,000 this year, was “originally for sale for over $600,000.00” and Erickson says he “benefited from the misery of others in the market downturn.” Erickson adds, “it was tasty misery at that.”

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