Politics

NAACP launches coalition watchdog site to ‘monitor’ Tea Party ‘racists’

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

The NAACP partnered with Media Matters, Think Progress and New Left Media to launch teapartytracker.org, a website that will specifically publish and monitor “racism and other forms of extremism within the Tea Party movement.”

Media Matters and Think Progress representatives said their content and reporting haven’t changed and that the NAACP approached their organizations seeking only to republish select content they’ve produced. The NAACP’s new teapartytracker.org is aimed specifically at highlighting “racism” in the Tea Party.

New Left Media, the duo of Chase Whiteside and Erick Stoll who use a “Trojan trick” to get interviews with Tea Partiers, is also a partner organization on the new site.

As for what Media Matters, New Left Media, Think Progress and the NAACP plan to do with teapartytracker.org, Think Progress editor Faiz Shakir and Media Matters Vice President for Research and Communications Ari Rabin-Havt said the NAACP contacted them about sharing content related to the Tea Party.

Shakir said the website isn’t meant to attack the Tea Party, only to “hold it accountable.”

“When they display intolerance and the kinds of racial signs that we’ve seen and the kinds of angry rhetoric, there’s nobody pushing back on that rhetoric or to check the record or fact-check it,” Shakir said. “I think it [the website] should be viewed in light of the NAACP being opposed to the intolerant elements of the Tea Party.”

Conservative media guru Andrew Breitbart, who was once a victim of New Left Media’s trickery (though he says he doesn’t object to that type of journalism), said Think Progress and Media Matters shouldn’t, by any means, partner with an advocacy group, especially the NAACP, in trying to the paint the Tea Party a certain color.

“It’s called projection,” Breitbart said. “The alliance of the left, the Think Progress, the Media Matters and the NAACP are projecting onto the Tea Party. The accusations are a projection of who the coordinated, well-funded left is. They are manufacturing the racism. They are the ones who are fomenting the violence, the ones who are the only perpetrators of violence over the last year.”

Shakir thinks his organization, though, unlike the NAACP, has held itself to higher journalistic standards. He said Think Progress is a group of “advocacy journalists,” but that his staff values fact-checking and reporting truth.

“I would argue that we are showing both sides,” Shakir said. “If we’re talking to Tea Party person or putting their picture up, we’re giving you their perspective and, also, obviously, pushing back with our own. Whatever the issue may be, I think we [Think Progress] are taking on all fronts of it, whereas the teapartytrack.org site seems to be a little more focused.”

Rabin-Havt said the NAACP contacted Media Matters about publishing content from its general RSS feed and “we’re more than happy to let anyone use our content and host and so we’re more than happy for them [the NAACP] to use it.”

He continued, “There are elements within the Tea Party movement that display extremism and racism and other aspects that should be noted. Our [Media Matters’] goal is to document conservative misinformation in the media and document conservative groups.”