Kilmeade Ignores His Own Network's Promotion To Call Tea Parties "Organic"


On Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade claimed, unlike the Wall Street protests, the tea party's origins were "organic." In fact, the protests were launched by GOP consultants and PACs and were heavily promoted and participated in by Fox News Channel.

Kilmeade: The Tea Party "Was An Organic Movement"

Kilmeade: "[The Tea Party] Was An Organic Movement That Started Across This Country Without One Definitive Leader." On the October 5 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed the tea party protests were "an organic movement that started across this country." From the broadcast:

KILMEADE: The big question is "Occupy Wall Street" and [the] tea party. They're actually equating the two? One was an, was an, organic movement that started across this country without any one definitive leader, that just talked about getting spending in order.

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Right.

KILMEADE: "Occupy Wall Street," you can't get a definition of what they stand for.

DOOCY: And this Van Jones is somehow tangled up in "Occupy Wall Street." There's a big difference between "Occupy Wall Street," "Occupy Washington," "Occupy Boston" than the tea party. For instance, when was the last time 700 people got arrested at a tea party rally? [Fox News Channel, Fox & Friends, 10/05/11]

But The Tea Party Movement Was Launched And Funded By GOP Consultants And PACS...

AP: Tea Party Express Run By Republican PAC. In an October 2008 article, the Associated Press reported that Our Country Deserves Better PAC, which launched and still pays for the Tea Party Express "was formed in August [2008] by California political consultant Sal Russo and former California Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian." [Associated Press, 10/17/08; Tea Party Express, accessed 10/5/11]

Huffington Post: Conservative Group FreedomWorks Organized Many Tea Parties. An April 2009 post on The Huffington Post quoted a letter authored by former Republican House Majority Leader and FreedomWorks chairman, Dick Armey in March 2009 in which he claimed "Freedomworks has been organizing many of these 'tea parties.' " In this letter he wrote:

FreedomWorks has been organizing many of these "tea parties" and we are listing the details on our website

If you visit the website, you can rsvp for an event near you, and you can download guidelines to organizing a tea party in your home town if there isn't one being planned already. [The Huffington Post, 4/13/09]

New Yorker: Koch Brother's funded Americans For Prosperity Helped Train Tea Party Activists. An August, 2010 New Yorker article quoted portions of an interview with Peggy Venable, "a longtime political operative who draws a salary from Americans for Prosperity, and who has worked for Koch-funded political groups since 1994." From The New Yorker:

At the lectern in Austin, however, Venable--a longtime political operative who draws a salary from Americans for Prosperity, and who has worked for Koch-funded political groups since 1994--spoke less warily. "We love what the Tea Parties are doing, because that's how we're going to take back America!" she declared, as the crowd cheered. In a subsequent interview, she described herself as an early member of the movement, joking, "I was part of the Tea Party before it was cool!" She explained that the role of Americans for Prosperity was to help "educate" Tea Party activists on policy details, and to give them "next-step training" after their rallies, so that their political energy could be channelled "more effectively." And she noted that Americans for Prosperity had provided Tea Party activists with lists of elected officials to target. She said of the Kochs, "They're certainly our people. David's the chairman of our board. I've certainly met with them, and I'm very appreciative of what they do." [The New Yorker, 8/30/10, emphasis added]

...And Relentlessly Promoted And Endorsed By Fox News Channel

Fox News "Hop[ped]" Aboard Tea Party Express With Rampant Promotions, Live Coverage. On August 28, 2009, Fox News devoted live coverage and publicity to the kickoff of the Tea Party Express. Fox News' coverage followed numerous promotions of the tour on Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Nation, and [Media Matters, 8/28/09]

Fox News' Embedded Reporter Jenkins Touted Tea Party Express. Despite his claim to be "simply reporting" on 2009 Tea Party Express rallies, Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins, who traveled with the cross-country bus tour, repeatedly expressed support for the protesters, whom he referred to as "the America that Washington forgot." [Media Matters, 9/2/09]

"Back By Popular Demand": Fox News Promoted Tea Party Express II. During the October 25, 2009, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Sunday, co-host Dave Briggs hosted then-Tea Party Express co-chairman Mark Williams and tea party activist Lloyd Marcus, introducing them by stating: "Well, the bus tour that took the country by storm is back by popular demand. The Tea Party Express kicks off its second national tour today in San Diego, California." Briggs invited Williams -- who was a known birther -- to plug the organization's website and closed the interview by a playing portion of Marcus' "Tea Party Anthem." [Media Matters, 10/25/09]

Tea Party Express Praised "Great Television News Coverage" From Fox News And CNN. In an email to supporters, the Tea Party Express praised "some of the great television news coverage this effort has received. Media coverage is an important aspect of the Tea Party Express tours -- it's all about getting our message out to millions of Americans -- to inform them that there is an active political resistance against the socialist agenda of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid." [Media Matters, 11/17/09]

For more on Fox's promotion of the tea party protests, click here.

Posted In
FOX & Friends
Occupy Wall Street
Drop Fox
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.