CNN Throws A Tea Party

Allegedly "Centrist" News Network Snuggles Up To Far Right

fair.org reports on 09.12.11:
Tonight's Republican debate might look familiar, with a well-known journalist posing questions to a stage full of candidates. But CNN's event is actually a co-production of sorts with the far-right Tea Party Express, raising serious questions about a journalistic outlet's decision to formally partner with a controversial political group.

As CNN explained the relationship (9/8/11):
CNN and the Tea Party Express, along with more than 100 local Tea Party groups from every state across the country, will team up Monday, September 12, to present a first-of-its-kind debate from the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention.
The CNN statement adds:
In addition to questions from [CNN's Wolf] Blitzer, audience members inside the debate hall, made up in part by members from Tea Party groups in 31 states and the District of Columbia, will be invited to ask questions directly to the candidates. Questions will also be taken live from Tea Party members at debate watch parties in Phoenix, Arizona; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Portsmouth, Virginia.
There were earlier indications that the event would be structured to cater to the Tea Party's ideological agenda. The Associated Press (6/14/11) reported that, according to CNN, "topics for the debate will be tailored for the interests of this political insurgent movement." When the partnership was announced, CNN political director Sam Feist (Daily Kos, 12/17/10) called the Tea Party movement "a fascinating, diverse grassroots force."

It's unusual for a centrist news outlet to take an openly partisan group as a partner in producing a political event; we can't recall progressive groups being granted any similar opportunities in recent years. ...>more