CNBC approached Tea Party activists, looking for angry protest events that would make good television, according to a leaked email from a Tea Party discussion group. And one Tea Bagger responded by flagging an upcoming event that, he said, "should be a riot ... literally."Oh.
Yesterday, Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin sent an email, obtained by TPMmuckraker, to a Tea Party google group. Martin told the group: "We have a media request for an event this week that will have lots of energy and lots of anger. This is for CNBC."
She then asked: "So, where are the big events this week and where can TPP best be represented on the news?"
Later that day, a Tea Bagger named Pat Wayman responded with a suggestion, also obtained by TPMmuckraker: "This one should be a riot! literally...." he wrote.
Wayman then posted information for an upcoming "health fair" hosted by Rep. David Scott (D-GA), at which the uninsured will receive free medical coverage*.
As Wayman noted, "[t]his is the Congressman who got a swastika painted on his office sign last night."
Wayman also included a link to a far-right website which lists the Scott event.
You can see both the Martin and Wayman emails here.
So, at least in Martin's telling, the pro-business CNBC was specifically looking for an event with "lots of energy and lots of anger." (Earlier this year, they just relied on their own correspondents for that.)
And of course, some Tea Baggers were only to happy to try to provide that anger.
Late Update: Martin tells TPMmuckraker that she did not forward the Scott event -- or, in fact, any event -- on to CNBC as a candidate for coverage. She stressed that her group "does not endorse anything that incites violence of any kind," adding that the email list is un-moderated. "I can't moderate every single comment," she said.
Asked whether CNBC had specifically told her they were looking for an event with "lots of energy and lots of anger," Martin replied: "That was the impression that I received from them." She declined to elaborate."
Well, it's at least theoretically possible that CNBC didn't actively encourage this person, at least according to the update. Maybe she "declined to elaborate" because she knew she was overstating the case, not because she didn't want to burn a high-profile contact.
After all, it's not like CNBC could have a stake in killing health care reform, right? You'd have to catch them publishing pieces talking about endangered profits from the reform, and there's no way they'd do that...
Well, hey, he's mostly laying out the pros and cons for investors. Sure, the bill as written is actually a winner for insurance and pharma corps. And sure, he doesn't acknowledge that. But, hey, it's at least moderately balanced. You'd really have to have someone from CNBC going to bat for these private companies to make the case that they're against reform. And I doubt an objective news organization would stoop to...
Hell with 'em.