Matthew Yglesiasand Jon Henkeargue over whether the anti-spending Tea Party protests are “astroturf” — fake “grassroots” — because groups like FreedomWorks and the Institute for Liberty are helping to organize them. I don’t think that’s a huge deal, as these groups have been around for a while and have always organized events like this. They’re up front about it, and anyone can read their old financial records.
The stranger aspect of the Tea Parties is how they are being aggressively promoted by America’s most successful cable news station. Media Matters has been clipping video left and right, and this one’s amusing for 1) the appearance of “color” reporter Griff Jenkins in colonial dress and 2) the insistence by Ann Coulter that these rallies are more legit than anything “George Soros” funds, as if she didn’t just see a Fox News reporter promoting them. (Video after the jump.)
Having lived in Washington for five years, I’m familiar with media coverage of protests. The day before the protests there are (occasionally) stories on what they’re about and how they might affect your travel plans. The day of, there are (occasionally) stories about what happened, especially if violence broke out. I’m really at a loss to think of another example of a news station telling people to show up to protests and promising to cover them.