10 questions with Tea Party Review editor Steven Allen

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Steven Allen will be launching Tea Party Review, a new monthly magazine, in March. The Daily Caller asked Allen 10 questions about his new publication, his goals with it and what he plans to fill its pages with.

The Daily Caller (TheDC): What’s the goal of the Tea Party Review? What are you guys trying to do?

Steven Allen (SA): We’re trying to provide the forum for members of the movement. We’re talking about somewhere between 25 and 30 percent of the American people who have turned to the Tea Party movement first, over the Republicans and the Democrats, for political leadership and we want to provide a forum for them and all the people in the working class and small business class who aren’t really represented in Washington right now.

TheDC: Is this going to fill any needs that aren’t being met by other media out there right now?

SA: Oh, absolutely. You just really have to search far and wide to find working class, small business class, Tea Party type views represented in the mainstream media. I mean, there are a few organizations that are better than others, but it’s tough.

TheDC: What kind of stories can we expect in your magazine?

SA: We’re going to do several different things. We’re going to have people discuss issues applying Tea Party values in a way of having debate and, in effect, working out the platform of the Tea Party over time, grassroots up, by having people express themselves. So, for example, you might have someone, one month, write about foreign policy from a non-interventionist perspective, like Ron Paul’s, and maybe next month, it would be more of a foreign policy hardliner-like. Then, people would get to go back and forth and work out exactly what the Tea Party movement stands for and that’ll happen over time. Or, people will just decide to agree to disagree and still work together on the things that hold everybody together within the movement regarding saving us from this mountain of debt and taxes and regulations that are going to destroy the lives of our children and our grandchildren if we don’t do something about it. We’re also going to have articles that explain issues in ways that average people can understand.

TheDC: Any big name special contributors to the first issue or future issues?

SA: I’m not saying we would never print something from a person who was already famous but I would much rather try to find talented people out there and try to give them an opportunity to write. There are some people who are writing in our first issue who have written for The New York Times, and one of our writers has written for the Chicago Defender, which is the top African American paper in the country over the last century or so. We have one of our writers, who I don’t think will be in this issue but will be in future issues, who was the book review editor of the Harvard Law Review. So, we’ve got a lot of people. But, we’ve also got other people who have never been in print before and this is their first time to write for a national magazine or any magazine. My goal will be to try to pull the new writers in.

TheDC: On a more personal level, who’s your favorite Tea Party member of Congress?

SA: I have the greatest respect for members of Congress, but the fact is that they’re working in an environment that the people from the grassroots are trying to create. That’s something we’re definitely interested in and we honor the people in Congress who are doing the work, but it’s the people of this country, the grassroots, that are going to determine which way this country goes. I don’t really focus on who are the stars, either inside of Congress or outside of Congress. The stars are all those people at the grassroots. Those are the stars to me, the people who drive to the meetings in the middle of a rainstorm and make sure they’re all there. They’re the ones who book the halls, they’re the ones who call their congressmen.

TheDC: Is there any particular journalist or media personality you look up to, whether they be Tea Party or not? Is there anybody that you want to model yourself after or your publication after?

SA: In a very narrow sense, I would say this: William F. Buckley was a populist. Remember he once said he’d rather be governed by the first 300 names in the Cambridge phone book than by the faculty at Harvard. But, he was also a great thinker. Before he came along with National Review in 1955, you could pretty much say anything you wanted to about the conservative movement and nobody could respond to you. You could get away with that because there was nobody to speak up against it, but then Buckley came up with the National Review and that changed everything for the conservative movement. That made the conservative movement viable and led, eventually, to the election of Ronald Reagan.

TheDC: What kind of election coverage for 2012 will you guys have?

SA: We’re going to cover all the candidates fairly. We don’t have any favorites in terms of picking out someone in advance and saying that’s our person. That’s for the movement to decide. We’re going to use the online process to poll our readers. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say we’ll make something of an endorsement in the presidential race but it won’t be from the top down. It will be from the bottom up. It will be made by the grassroots. And, in the next few months, we’ll explain what I mean by that statement. But it’s not going to be us doing it and imposing it on those people. It’s going to be the people in the movement making that decision.

TheDC: Any big exposes for the first issue? Future issues?

SA: Nothing yet, but I actually was an investigative reporter very early on in my career. With my partner, I won a state API award. I think I was, let’s see, maybe 18 years old when I did that reporting as a radio reporter. So you can expect that we’ll do our share of exposes. That’s definitely on the plate. A lot of that will happen as time develops and we get the good writers and find out who the really good people are and put those people forward.

TheDC: Is there going to be more of a focus on analysis into issues or on news?

SA: We’re going to have a mixture, some that’s news that’s happening around the country, what’s happening in the Tea Party movement, what’s happening in politics in general. We’re going to cover issues that are very closely related to the Tea Party concerns, political corruption around the country. You see certain patterns in terms of where the money is going and what things certain politicians are doing and so you’re going to see an emphasis on that. We’ll talk about the struggle of the little guy against the big political machine or big powers in general and big business using the power of government to enrich itself.

TheDC: What does “Tea Party” mean to you?

SA: The Tea Party is a protest movement. It’s in the tradition of the great protest movements of our American history, going from the abolitionists to the women’s suffrage movement to organized labor to the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war protests and, obviously, some of those movements have things in common with other movements, and some things that are very different. But what they have in common is, the American people, from the grassroots up, are standing up and making their opinions known and standing against taking freedoms away like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances, using the First Amendment as our guide stone. The Tea Party movement is the current embodiment within that in dealing with the explosion of the size and cost of government and it’s a threat to the future prosperity and freedom of this country to the lives that we hope our children and grandchildren will have the opportunity to live.