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What Does CNN have to say?

Tonight, Monday, September 12, CNN pairs with Tea Party Express, a political action committee, to officially sponsor a Republican presidential candidate debate in Tampa, Florida. The debate comes at the end of Tea Party Express’ fifth bus tour, a multi-stop cross-country extravaganza designed to increase the organization’s support. On this latest tour, Tea Party Express invited Tea Party Nation founder, Judson Phillips, to join them. Phillips’ record of bigotry belies the political action committee’s attempt to erase its own evidence of racism.

Much of this year’s tour message has focused on lashing out at those who recently expressed concerns about the racism within the Tea Party. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been prominent in this regard. The Tea Party Express blog has featured stories such as, “NAACP and Black Ministers Betrayal of Blacks,” published on August 11. The committee’s attacks aim at diverting attention away from Tea Party Express’ own well-documented record. As IREHR noted in its October 2010 report, Tea Party Nationalism, other Tea Party groups have found working with Tea Party Express too onerous because of its racism.

Judson Phillips, president of Tea Party Nation, has lurched towards an explicit expression of white nationalism. The group has already been widely criticized for his proposal to deny voting rights for those citizens who do not own property, for promoting anti-gay bullying, and for embracing the birthers. He is even on record defending the now defunct and indefensibly racist National Origins Act of 1924. Tea Party Nation went so far as to assert that “American culture” will soon perish since the “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) population is headed for extinction.”

As for Tea Party Express, its past chairman, Mark Williams, repeatedly crossed the line from civil political discourse into vicious and explicit rants. Williams referred to President Obama as a Nazi, a half-white racist, a half-black racist and an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare fraud. After similar comments in response to an NAACP resolution during the summer of 2010, Williams was forced to step aside.

Williams was replaced by TPExpress Director of Grassroots & Coalitions, Amy Kremer. But just like Williams, Kremer has a problem. Like Williams, Kremer is a birther. Her blog, “Southern Belle Politics,” is filled with calumny for the president, including repetition of the (false) charge that he is not a natural born American. She’s also gone out of her way to defend a fellow Tea Partier after he sent out racist emails depicting president Obama as a witch doctor.

CNN’s relationship with the Tea Party movement has grown in recent months. It hired as a commentator Dana Loesch, a leadership team member of the Tea Party Coalition. CNN has also embedded reporters on Tea Party Express bus tours. Now it has entered into an official partnership with Tea Party Express for this evening’s Republican Party debate. CNN’s ability to objectively cover the mounting evidence of bigotry and racism in Tea Party ranks has been compromised. You should, however, look for such documentation here and at

Devin Burghart

Author Devin Burghart

is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...

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