The article I put together as part of our ongoing investigative piece on the Tea Party movement concentrates on tracing the origins of the movement from a national frame to its current role in state and local communities. Since the article serves primarily to outline the origins and history of the movement, I turned to social science research and journalistic articles rather than the whistle-blowing pieces and commentaries that form a thicker cloud around issues of big name financers like the Koch brothers.
Near the end of the article, I do discuss the air of hypocrisy that surrounds the fact that in the populist ideals of the Tea Party movement, corporate leaders like the Koch brothers are considered the epitome of the political/economic elite and are therefore to be inherently distrusted or despised and yet it is from these entities that much of the Tea Party’s monetary donations originate.
Again I turned simply to social science data from Georgetown University History professor Michael Kazin, who has done extensive qualitative research into the history of U.S. political and social movements to back this statement up.
The first part of the article deals with (in inverted pyramid tradition) outlining the who, what, when, where, and why of the Tea Party movement. As you can glean from the links Dr. Gamache has posted with the article, its modern origins can be traced to the large-scale media protests arranged by well-known public media figures Keli Carender in Seattle and Rick Santelli in Chicago; the former receiving the majority of its lasting coverage from News Corporation entity Fox News (News Corporation also falling, in my opinion, under the category of the hypocritical political/economic elite), and the latter generating interest via extensive broadcast by the fact that Santelli was CNBC’s Business News editor (CNBC of course is a division of NBC Universal Inc., over 80% of which is owned by General Electric, with the other 20% owned by Vivendi, all of these being entities that the populist ideals of the Tea Party supposedly condemn).
Something that I think is very important to note comes up in the last segment of my article in which I mention that the Tea Party’s “face,” the light in which it is portrayed across the political spectrum of the media, is one rooted in honesty.
The brand of dissent that marks Tea Party protests is warranted and necessary in the eyes of its allies, but its ideals clearly cannot be shared by the corporate entities that systematically and often secretively finance the Tea Party movement proper. This kind of financing is so easy to do when the entire movement is billed as a “grassroots” protest – when every group can be labeled as a localized non-profit organization made up of ordinary citizens – by the time money from the coffers of the conservative corporate elite reach the hands of these grassroots organizations, it is miraculously untainted and often anonymous; it is completely separated from its origins.
This is, as adequately outlined in Jane Meyer's New Yorker article “Covert Operations: the Koch Brothers War against Obama,” a clear attempt by corporations like Koch Industries to use Tea Party candidates as puppets for bolstering their own agendas of having less corporate responsibility, looser regulations on environmental practices, and other maneuvers made possible by enlisting the blind support of those who wish to elect candidates who will simply oppose any kind of governmental regulation.