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.”
Rabin-Havt and Shakir stressed the fact that they’re not changing their journalistic practices or funding the teapartytracker.org website — they’re only allowing their content to be published on it.
Rabin-Havt didn’t have a specific answer as to what publishing “racism and extremism” on teapartytracker.org could actually accomplish but Breitbart did.
“The Glenn Beck rally scares the left greatly and they have to figure out a way to taint that group of people so more people don’t join that group because if half a million people becomes a million people becomes 2 million people, 3 million people, the left is in deep trouble and they know it,” Breitbart said.
The long-term implications and effects of painting the Tea Party as a racist and extremist group, Breitbart said, then cause conservative minorities to be afraid to speak their minds for fear of being ostracized.
“The people who are maligned the most and don’t have protection are the minorities who are conservatives because they’re called a form of Uncle Tom or not,” Breitbart said. “The Brian Williamses and the Katie Courics and the Charlie Gibsons defend these people [the left] which sends a message to people out there who may be black or Hispanic or gay and conservative who would like to go to that rally, but they don’t want to be called these terrible names.”
Breitbart called the NAACP a part of an “axis of division.” He said the “axis” — made up of the NAACP, the Democratic Party and several liberal media organizations including Media Matters and Think Progress — drives people away from an “integrated society” and keeps would-be-extinct social boundaries alive.
“My trajectory from left to right was born of recognizing that my desire for a more integrated society and a more colorblind society ran afoul from the Democratic Party’s multicultural model which separates people into their different tribes and manipulates those different tribes for political gain,” Breitbart said. “The NAACP doesn’t represent black people. It represents liberal politics and it is at the forefront of attacking black people who would dare differ on political philosophy.”
Breitbart also said the left is scared because conservatives finally discovered the power of protest – so left-wing politicians and media organizations are “manufacturing” racism to try to stop, or at least slow down, the budding movement.
“I can’t think of anything more un-American than a group telling people of a certain race that they don’t have the right to be conservative or disagree with liberal orthodoxy,” Breitbart said.
The NAACP did not respond to a request for comment.