Alternet Breaks Down the Workings of “Tea Party Inc.”

It's a lot to digest, but it's all there if you look. This is no grassroots movement.

By Kai Wright Oct 25, 2010

Speaking of Fox News’ mission to make bigotry a pro-and-con debate, Alternet’s Adele Stan has an excellent investigative story today that breaks down "Tea Party Inc." Stan is the latest to make the point that the supposedly grassroots movement exists only through the massive support of both News Corp. and oil billionaire David Koch. But Stan’s story details all the connections, and is accompanied by a great infographic digesting the whole, messy web of connections. (Nepotism alert! My boyfriend’s Yield Media designed the graphic.) As Stan writes,

Though billed as a people’s movement, the Tea Party wouldn’t exist without a gusher of cash from oil billionaire David H. Koch and the vast media empire of Rupert Murdoch. Many of the small donations to Tea Party candidates have been cultivated by either Fox News Channel, a property of Murdoch’s News Corporation, or the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, chaired by Koch. The movement’s major organizations are all run, not by first-time, mad-as-hell activists, but by former GOP officials or operatives.

Taken together, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks (another far-right political group seeded by the Kochs) and Murdoch’s News Corp, owner of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, form the corporate headquarters of a conglomerate one might call Tea Party, Inc. This is the syndicate that funds the organizing, crafts the messages, and channels the rage of conservative Americans at their falling fortunes into an oppositional force to President Obama and to any government solution to the current economic calamity. Groups such as Tea Party Express, Tea Party Nation, and the FreedomWorks-affiliated Tea Party Patriots; the bevy of political consultants for hire; and various allied elected officials can be understood as Tea Party, Inc.’s loosely affiliated subsidiaries. The Web sites of FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party side projects of Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck are linked with those of Tea Party Express and Tea Party Patriots, all of which in turn solicit support for Tea Party candidates.

The armies of angry white people with their "Don’t Tread on Me" flags, the actual grassroots activists, are not the agents of the Tea Party revolt, but its end users, enriching the Tea Party’s corporate owners just as you and I enrich Google through our clicks.

Read the whole story over at Alternet. Also, from our archives, check out ColorLines’ own interactive timeline of the Tea Party’s racist history and the ways in which corporate media and the Republican Party both provoked and exploited that racism.