A Guinea Pig for TEA Party Journalism

by Cowgirl

A TEA Party “media outlet” under fire in Wisconsin for publishing a series of false allegations about the husband of a WI Democratic Congressman has set up shop in Montana.

The Wisconsin TEA Party group Media Trackers was founded by American Majority, a Virginia-based tea party group funded by the Koch brothers.  It also receives funding from a Wisconsin conservative funder called the Bradley Foundation. 

Media Trackers had some success helping the Wisconsin TEA Party with its campaign to decimate unions and promote Governor Scott Walker.  So, as American Majority told Politico last year, the TEA Party is setting up  groups around the country to replicate its work in Wisconsin.   Media Trackers now has faux-journalism groups in the swing states of Ohio, Florida and Colorado.  Montana is the group’s latest guinea pig.

If you’re wondering why haven’t heard of Media Trackers yet, its probably because the mainstream media is not exactly scrambling to pick up its stories. The group was recently caught making up a series of reports alleging that a democratic congressman’s spouse had beaten a GOP volunteer because the Congressman disliked this politics.

The TEA partiers blamed all the false stories on “a faulty source” however, as the Capital Times reported they “never addressed why the group didn’t undertake basic fact-checking before printing the far-fetched allegations.”

You won’t be surprised that the “news” put out by Media Trackers attacks progressives and Democrats while staunchly defending the right. But as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported, the group does more than putting out news with a conservative slant:

Beyond digging up political dirt, the group does political advocacy work, such as filing complaints with regulators and issuing press releases telling candidates what to do. The nonprofit also rarely talks to the subjects of its research to find out their side of a story – a basic rule of journalism that has put plenty of story ideas on ice once the full picture was known.

As the Bozeman Chronicle reported, American Majority set up a group in Bozeman around the same time that Media Trackers entered the state.

Posted: April 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm

This post was written by Cowgirl

11 thoughts on “A Guinea Pig for TEA Party Journalism

  1. Havre Voter

    Dear Media Trackers, take your 200 twitter followers and your endless stream of dribble back to Wisconsin. We’ve reached our quota of TEA Party front groups here for the time being, and after what happened to the Watchdog getting run out of town after their journalistic lies were discovered, you should probably just leave now.

  2. W.H.

    RE “the nonprofit also rarely talks to the subjects of its research to find out their side of a story” Why would anyone treat the TEA Party like a media outlet. Are you telling me that there are people who respond to this like its a news outlet? Bwahahahahaa! I work for a non-profit that got a call from a very very young person from a California cell phone. I said thanks for your call and hung up.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers.

      “Good bye, Senator K Street. Max Baucus has a history of voting with corporate interests and not the interests of Montana voters — taking millions from Wall Street, insurance companies, and lobbyists,” she said in a statement. “Montana will finally have a chance to have a senator with its best interests at heart, and we hope [former Democratic Gov.] Brian Schweitzer jumps into the race immediately.”

      1. Turner

        I’ll work 75% of my ass off to elect Schweitzer in 2014. If he weren’t totally in the pocket of Big Oil I’d work my whole ass off.

        1. Moorcat

          I am not convinced that Brian is “totally in the pocket of big oil”. Schweitzer has been an advocate for exploring resource utilization in Montana and I am not sure that is such a bad thing. If it were done rationally and with some thought to safety, environmental impact and recovery, would it be such a bad thing to create jobs and income for Montanan’s?

  3. Moorcat

    I can’t say that I will be sad to see Baucus go. He has outstayed his welcome and he makes no attempt to even disguise his corporate support. His recent attack on Health Care Reform (which most of the people I talk to see as hypocritical) and his vote against universal background checks would have hurt him in the election anyway. Now we play a waiting game to see who jumps into the race. If Schweitzer runs, the race is over. If not, it is anyone’s ballgame.

  4. Richard Miller

    Here is an interesting concept: How about the “normal” Americans take back our country from these tea party folks by having a tea party of our own. Throw all of the bastards in the ocean like we did when the real tea party folks were in action a couple hundred plus years ago. Oh, I forgot, most shit floats.

  5. Vern Rutter

    Looking forward to Cowgirl’s take on open Senate seat.

    If Schweitzer does decide to run, I’m there. And I’m a cheap date – I just need a place to pitch a tent and take a shower once in a while.

    Cowgirl, you know how to get a hold of me.

    – A friend of Montana from the wet side of Washington.

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