The Weekend Wonk: No, Media – Trump #Resistance is NOT “Just like the Tea Party”
February 25, 2017
Above, a workshop from 2010, training “spontaneous” Tea Party “patriots” on how to skew information on social media.
Especially note, – “80 percent of the books I star, I don’t read. That’s how it works.”
I’m pushing back against the media’s newly minted meme of comparing the current resistance movement against a true home-grown crypto-fascist regime, with the racist, film-flam Tea Party scam of 6 years ago. Herd journalism is a tough thing to overcome, so just understand this will be require a push, and some very large citizen uprisings in coming months.
Below, Christopher Hirchens on the 2011-ish Tea Party movement.
Staffers at CPAC quickly scrambled to confiscate Russian flags with the word “TRUMP” written on the front that were being waved by attendees during President Donald Trump’s speech on Friday.
The trouble began when some attendees took out pro-Trump flags to wave during the president’s speech that also happened to have the same white-blue-and-red striped pattern as Russia’s official flag.
Reporter Peter Hamby notes that CPAC staffers quickly realized that its attendees were waving Russian flags, and moved to confiscate them.
“Why Facts don’t Change our Minds” – The New Yorker:
Where it gets us into trouble, according to Sloman and Fernbach, is in the political domain. It’s one thing for me to flush a toilet without knowing how it operates, and another for me to favor (or oppose) an immigration ban without knowing what I’m talking about. Sloman and Fernbach cite a survey conducted in 2014, not long after Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Respondents were asked how they thought the U.S. should react, and also whether they could identify Ukraine on a map. The farther off base they were about the geography, the more likely they were to favor military intervention. (Respondents were so unsure of Ukraine’s location that the median guess was wrong by eighteen hundred miles, roughly the distance from Kiev to Madrid.)
Now, a little history.
Time magazine recently excerpted Poison Tea: How Big Oil and Big Tobacco Invented the Tea Party and Captured the GOP – which I guess I’ll have to add to my stack next to Dark Money.
Author Jeff Nesbit was former communications official at the FDA and George H.W. Bush White House.
He describes his first gig after he lost his White House gig following the 1992 election – working for the Koch Brothers front group, Citizens for a Sound Economy.(CSE)
Nesbit wrote about it in the book “Poison Tea”.
Charles and David Koch—who, if their individual fortunes were combined in one place, would quite possibly represent the wealthiest person on earth—have almost certainly spent or raised more than a billion dollars to successfully bend one of the two national parties in America to their will. The long rise of the Tea Party movement was orchestrated, well funded, and deliberate. Its aim was to break Washington. And it has nearly succeeded, as America saw in the debt-ceiling debacle of 2011, prompted by the Republican Party’s demand that the president negotiate over deficit reduction in exchange for an increase in the maximum amount of money the US Treasury is allowed to borrow. There are no mistakes or accidents in the Tea Party movement. Its leadership has made certain of that.
One of my first assignments as a consultant for CSE was to join the CSE leadership on a New York fund-raising trip to meet with a huge corporate partner with vast experience in building real political muscle who could help CSE reach beyond Koch oil money for their new grassroots efforts. We visited Philip Morris’ headquarters in New York.
We were met by several of Philip Morris’s state-based government affairs experts, all of whom had significant experience in building coalitions with an eye toward blocking regulations they didn’t like at the state level. The concept that CSE put on the conference table, which was quickly taken up by the Philip Morris staff, was a bit shocking to me. They proposed an unholy alliance—Philip Morris money commingled with Koch money to create anti-tax front groups in a handful of states that would battle any tax that moved. It would make no difference what kind of tax—the front groups could battle cigarette excise taxes in the Northeast and refined-oil fees at the coasts. Any tax, for any purpose, was bad—and these front groups would tackle them all, with Philip Morris and the Kochs behind them.
It made good business sense—and good political sense as well. You could relabel just about anything as a tax, and heaven knows the American public hates taxes. This, at its core, was the beginning of the American Tea Party revolt against the power of the government to pay for its programs. They could recruit average citizens from a variety of ideological groups to their cause. They would work side by side with corporate-directed workers and employees, providing real boots on the ground when enough activists weren’t readily available. And no one would be the wiser—or even care— that these “grassroots” anti-tax groups would be jointly created and funded by the largest private oil company and the largest cigarette company in the world.
Over the years, Rich Fink, Charles Koch’s political adviser, and his various Koch protégés have occasionally talked publicly about what would be needed to take over one of the two national political parties from the outside and place Libertarian, free-market principles at its center. It would take:
• an extensive academic network to support it intellectually;
• policy networks in every state to draw on that intellectual underpinning from hundreds of American universities;
• a true political grassroots alliance that extended to all of those state capitals and worked closely with the academic and policy network;
• a propaganda arm that could bring tightly controlled messaging and narratives to the fore in the state networks in a way that looked
like in- dependent journalism;
• and a national coordinating group that could enforce discipline in what would otherwise be a chaotic, unruly, wildly disconnected political
network that ran the gamut from the patriot movement to American exceptionalism.
As luck—or careful, strategic planning—would have it, just such a highly leveraged network with these very pillars was in place as the Tea Party movement appeared to emerge from nowhere at the start of President Obama’s first term in office. That Tea Party movement looked an awful lot like the efforts the Kochs’ CSE had led in the Clinton and Bush years—just with more money, broad state-based causes, better-trained leaders, and a willingness to integrate and coordinate more efficiently with each other.
A recent study from the University of San Francisco catalogued the connections between what became the Glenn Beck era “Tea Party”, and a long history of Koch, Oil, and Tobacco funded efforts to create just such a bogus “movement”.
Consider further, the so-called “Climate Gate” would-be scandal of 2009-10 – that was ginned up on climate science, following the upload of stolen climate science emails to, you guessed it, a Russian server.
Note the activation here of the early “Alt-Right”, and climate denier Marc Morano’s deployment of the “Stochastic terror” meme – “…no one’s advocating violence, but”..
The power of weaponizing emails, of course, played heavily in the 2016 election, as this word cloud of news accounts in regard to Hillary Clinton shows.
Almost as if someone was road-testing disinformation tactics to use on a grand scale.
Finally, Samantha Bee, (comedian who does the media’s job) in Russia interviews professional internet Trolls, like those involved in distorting public perceptions in the lead up to the 2016 US election.