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Web site calls ‘Tea Parties’ astroturf

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 at 10:35 am in General.

A new web site www.savetherich.com surfaced this morning by a group that says the anti-tax Tea Parties scheduled for Wednesday across the country are the product of a clever conspiracy by conservative organizations trying to pose as grassroots organizers.

Called astroturfing, it’s a technique used by all sides of the political debate.

I don’t know about a conspiracy.

But it is clear that the events are being driven by conservative voices. In my conversations with the folks organizing and sponsoring the East Bay events, most of them belong to conservative organizations. They also say they have and expect to have the participation of Democrats who are mad about the federal bailout or AIG bonuses or the auto industry loans.

That’s probably true although I do not expect to see droves of representatives from liberal organizations standing shoulder-to-shoulder with conservatives at these Tea Parties tomorrow.

As for this new web site, I’m not sure who is behind it. The web domain is registered to David Meyer with a what appears (via Google Earth) to be a residential address in Washington, D.C.  A quick Nexis search found mention of a David Meyer quoted about a mix-up getting into President Barack Obama’s inauguration. It’s a common name, though, so it may be unrelated.

I’ve posted www.savetherich.com’s press release below, so let me know what you think:

Washington, DC-A new website was launched today to highlight the truth behind the so-called “Tax Day Tea Parties.” The new site, $aveTheRich [www.savetherich.com], will document efforts by Fox News Network, prominent Republican Officials and conservative millionaires who are attempting to create the false impression of a grassroots movement through a political tactic known as “astroturfing.”

Astroturfing is a coordinated public relations campaign, usually spearheaded by large organizations and consultants. The goal of an astroturf campaign is to disguise the efforts of the political or commercial entity by orchestrating public activity through outreach, marketing and disinformation. These actions are often heavily funded by corporate or political entities that rely on computer databases, phone-banking and hired organizers.

And so far, the tell-tale signs of astroturfing are everywhere in the so-called “Tax Day Tea Party” events:

  • Large lobbying organizations and their consultants are quietly organizing behind the scenes. The principle organizers of the local events are actually lobbyist-run think tanks Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works and American Solutions for Winning the Futures (ASWF) an organization run by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.  [http://thinkprogress.org/2009/04/09/lobbyists-planning-teaparties/]
  • Fox News is listed as a sponsor of the events and has aggressively promoted the so-called “Tax Day Tea Parties” and encouraged viewers to get involved. According to reports, Fox News provided attendance and organizing information for future protests, such as protest dates, locations and website URLs. Fox News websites have also posted information and publicity material for protests. Fox News hosts have repeatedly encouraged viewers to join them at several April 15 protests that they are attending and covering. Tea-party organizers have used the planned attendance of the Fox News hosts to promote their protests. [http://mediamatters.org/items/200904080025?f=h_top ]
  • At the events which have been held in advance of April 15th , protesters appear to be confused about why they are protesting. Despite claims from Fox News and other organizers that the protests are against high taxes and wasteful government spending, many of the participants are calling for the impeachment of President Obama and raising questions about his place of birth. Other protesters appear to be from myriad far-right causes such as gun rights, secessionists, immigration and neo-Nazi groups.
  • Elected officials are driving turn out and, as in the case of Sen. David Vitter even sponsoring a bill to honor the protests. At least 12 Republican members of Congress, and a handful of Governors, will be featured prominently at the so-called “Tax Day Tea Parties.” In one particular instance, Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) is actually seen on video holding a conference callhttp://thinkprogress.org/2009/04/08/gopestablishment-joins-teaparties/] instructing Tea Party participants on talking points and messaging. [

You can find out more about $aveTheRich at: www.savetherich.com

Not sure what Astroturfing is?  You can learn more here.

$aveTheRich is dedicated to documenting efforts by Fox News Network, their media personalities and a handful of conservative millionaires to deceive the press and the American public with these so-called “Tax Day Tea Parties.”

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  • Sean Duckworth

    This just confirms both what I said in the comment on your Facebook status, and the narrowmindedness and “WAH!”ing of conservatives.

  • http://veritasvincitprolibertate.wordpress.com/ Marshall

    Sean,Sean,Sean

    savetherich appears to be nothing but liberal whining because the rest of us have a winning strategy. What started out as a grass roots effort wound up getting support from political groups. As if you progressive/socialist don’t do the same thing. These socialist sites attempting to diminish the work of the honest citizens who partook in the protest is pathetic at best.

  • Jake

    So… when George Soros buys a war protest, it is a genuine grassroots effort.

    If people start organizing Tea Parties, and someone shows up and starts selling hot dogs, it’s AstroTurfing.

    It could only be a grassroots effort if thousands of people spontaneously and mysteriously converge on places holding signs. They must all come to the idea independently and simultaneously. Interesting bar height you’ve set.

  • RR

    The Vast Right-wing Conspiracy is at it again.

  • Sean Duckworth

    Nationwide attendence of 250,000 in these tea parties. One Obama rally had the same if not more. One pro-choice rally in DC in 2004 had the same.

    The TEA parties were a FAIL of epic proportions.