Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:50:05 PM PST
It's starting to look like we may all be victims of the biggest product placement ad ever staged, and the product being placed is pure right wing astroturf. In short, America may have been scammed by a collaboration between CNBC and conservative media consultants.
According to an article appearing in Playboy, CNBC's "Chicago Tea Party" was a hoax planned well in advance of Rick Santelli's trading floor meltdown.
But was Santellis rant really so spontaneous? How did a minor-league TV figure, whose contract with CNBC is due this summer, get so quickly launched into a nationwide rightwing blog sensation? Why were there so many sites and organizations online and live within minutes or hours after his rant, leading to a nationwide protest just a week after his rant?
What hasnt been reported until now is evidence linking Santellis "tea party" rant with some very familiar names in the Republican rightwing machine, from PR operatives who specialize in imitation-grassroots PR campaigns (called "astroturfing") to bigwig politicians and notorious billionaire funders.
If this article is correct, then CNBC has staged the news, not just a single incident, but a whole string of discussions and programs that have been at the center of CNBC's programming since Santelli's staged rant. And from the evidence -- including the fact that the website used to organize the so-called tea party was created well in advance by the same right wing sources who orchestrated the Obama-Ayers story -- it appears that at least some of those involved were in on the scam.
What we discovered is that Santellis "rant" was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a "Chicago Tea Party" was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced.
Maybe this is part of their new cost-cutting measures on CNBC. After all, it's a lot easier to just create the news yourself rather than report it. Or maybe Santelli, whose contract is up soon, was collecting a paycheck from other sources than just NBC.
But if there's any truth to this, more than an apology is going to be necessary.