On August 28, Fox News devoted live coverage and publicity to the kickoff of the Tea Party Express, a bus tour organized by the Republican PAC Our Country Deserves Better, whose mission is to oppose President Obama and the Democrats. Fox News' kickoff coverage follows numerous promotions of the tour on Fox News, Fox Business, The Fox Nation, and FoxNews.com.
Fox News heavily promotes Tea Party Express with promos on air and online
Fox Nation asked: “Will you join the Tea Party Express?” On July 28, Fox Nation posted a promotional ad for the Tea Party Express using the headline, “Will You Join the Tea Party Express?” From The Fox Nation:
The Our Country Deserves Better PAC used Fox Nation's promotion of its video in a July 29 fundraising email.
Fox & Friends tells viewers “how you can join” Tea Party Express. During its August 19 broadcast, Fox & Friends hosted Tea Party Express organizer and OCDB vice chairman Mark Williams, who has said Obama lacks a valid birth certificate and has compared “Obama's death panels” to Nazi experiments. During the segment, Fox News helped viewers find out “how you can join” the tour by noting the dates and locations of 22 upcoming stops.
Fox News anchor Bream: “We want to let folks know” Tea Party schedule so “they can be a part” of events. The August 23 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ hosted Williams to promote the tour. During the segment, host Shannon Bream said of the tour's schedule:
BREAM: You do have a bit of a cohesive, at least organized schedule -- we want to let folks know you're going to be making --
BREAM: -- 34, 35 stops, I believe it is, all across the country, so if they want to come out and take part, they certainly can be a part of what you're doing, and, you know, this has definitely struck a chord with people.
Jenkins promotes upcoming Fox coverage on Greta. On the August 25 edition of Fox News' On the Record, correspondent Griff Jenkins promoted Fox News' coverage of the Tea Party Express, stating that “a Tea Party Express, which we will cover here, begins Friday in California, making its way all the way to Washington.”
Fox's Business' Cavuto hosts Williams to promote tea parties. During the August 27 edition of Fox Business' Cavuto, host Neil Cavuto promoted the tour and interviewed Williams. During the segment, Fox Business ran a graphic map of the tour's path through the country and posted the tour's website address.
" 'Hannity' Hops the Tea Party Express!" In an August 27 post on Sean Hannity's FoxNews.com blog, a producer wrote that Hannity “will be along for the ride!” adding: "Click here for more on the tour and to find the tea party nearest you." From the post, titled, " 'Hannity' Hops the Tea Party Express!":
Starting tomorrow, the Tea Party Express will begin its 16-day, 35-city tour across the nation, rallying Americans to stand up against out-of-control government spending... and 'Hannity' will be along for the ride!
With video camera in hand, our own Griff Jenkins will be catching all the action on the road and filing reports for The Great American Blog as the Express makes its way from Sacramento, CA to the Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C. Sept. 12!
Click here for more on the tour and to find the tea party nearest you.
And make sure to check back starting tomorrow to follow Griff on the road!
Hannity's post was celebrated on the Tea Party Express blog in an August 27 entry, titled, “Sean Hannity blogs about the Tea Party Express!”
Hannity: Griff Jenkins at “every single place.” On the August 27 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Hannity said:
HANNITY: And now, starting this weekend, by the way, the Tea Party Express tour kicks off, where Americans from all over the country are going to hit the streets to voice their grievances over government spending and, of course, universal government health care. And our own Griff Jenkins is going to stop every single place, and he's starting this weekend and he's going to be checking in and giving us an update and blogging with the latest video on our Great, Great American Blog, and we'll also be checking in with him in our -- all throughout the next week, so that's coming up.
Fox News reports live from Tea Party Express kickoff
On August 28, Fox News dispatched Jenkins and reporter William La Jeunesse to the Tea Party Express kickoff in Sacramento. Between 8 a.m. and noon ET, La Jeunesse filed two live reports for Fox News and one for Fox Business.
La Jeunesse: “Hopefully Washington will listen to their concerns.” During the August 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, La Jeunesse reported live from Sacramento on the kickoff of the Tea Party Express. At the conclusion of his report, La Jeunesse said of the tour's concerns: "[T]hey believe, collectively, that they at least have a voice, and hopefully Washington will listen to their concerns."
La Jeunesse interviews Mark Williams. During the August 28 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, La Jeunesse interviewed Williams. La Jeunesse asked Williams, “critics like Speaker Pelosi say this is Astroturf, that basically Republican operatives like yourself are organizing this with one goal in mind, to unseat Democrats.” Williams responded:
WILLIAMS: Well, the Republican Party right now is in a coma. I wish they were helping. I wish they had the capability to help with something like this. No, this is democracy. These are working stiff, taxpaying citizens, who are being abused horribly by their government. You will see that here today in Sacramento where the emphasis will be on the Central Valley and water rights and such, so you'll be seeing guys taking breaks from their fields to come here.
La Jeunesse also reported live from the kickoff for the 11 a.m. ET hour of Fox Business.
Jenkins covering Tea Party Express for Greta and Hannity. As previously noted, Hannity said that Jenkins “is going to stop at every single place, and he's starting this weekend and he's going to be checking in and giving us an update and blogging with the latest video.” And according to a Fox News promo, Jenkins will also be “LIVE at the kickoff bus tour” for the August 28 edition of On the Record.
Tea Party Express: Organized by anti-Dem PAC with history of smearing Democrats
Tea Party Express' purpose is to “highlight some of the worst offenders in Congress.” Our Country Deserves Better PAC's website states that the Tea Party Express “will host a series of tea party rallies all across the nation. ... At each stop the tour will highlight some of the worst offenders in Congress who have voted for higher spending, higher taxes, and government intervention in the lives of American families and businesses. These Members of Congress have infringed upon the freedom of the individual in this great nation, and its time for us to say: 'Enough is Enough!' ” [TeaPartyExpress.org, accessed 8/19/09]
Tea Party Express' “Target[s]” -- since removed -- were all Democrats. OCDB's website previously contained a section -- at http://www.teapartyexpress.org/races/index.html -- titled, “Target Races,” which stated that in “order for the Tea Party movement to truly have an impact, we must vote out of office those politicians who have betrayed their constituents by pushing through massive deficits, higher taxes and government intervention into the private sector and private lives of American families.” All 30 targets listed as of July 28 were Democrats. The section of the website has been removed since Media Matters for America last accessed and reviewed the section. [TeaPartyExpress.org, accessed 7/28/09]
OCDB formed by Republicans. OCDB PAC “was formed in August  by California political consultant Sal Russo and former California Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian.” [Associated Press,10/16/08] As their OCDB biographies note, Russo is a veteran Republican consultant, and Kaloogian served as a Republican in the California Assembly.
OCDB's mission is to oppose Obama and “Democratic Congress.” On its “About Us” page, OCDB states that “we must stand up to Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress.” The PAC also solicits contributions by stating, “Help us fight the Democratic Congress!”
In 2008, OCDB's sole objective was Obama's defeat. NPR reported on September 26, 2008, that OCDB's website then said “it has one objective: to defeat Obama.” During the 2008 campaign, the PAC hosted “patriotic, pro-McCain/Palin rallies” to “Stop Obama.”
OCDB's history of smears against Democrats. In 2008, OCDB produced ads and videos with such titles as "Obama's Wrong Values," "Obama: Not Faithful to Our Military," and "Obama's Patriotism Problem." A recent ad by the group compared Obama to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
From the August 25 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
VAN SUSTEREN: Griff, you've had a chance now to go to a number of town hall meetings. In fact, I think you probably may hold the record in the country as the most town hall meetings. How do you compare and contrast them? Are they getting smaller, bigger? Are they in different states? Tell me the difference and the similarities.
JENKINS: Well, you know, a couple of observations: the first, the earliest ones seemed to be a real referendum on Washington: the deficit spending, “cash for clunkers,” all array of issues. And the last few have been focused on the health care fight, and it's been more organized as we saw tonight, these signs from Organizing for America in support. And you've seen a larger turnout of folks that are opposed to it and it's focusing on health care. But it's not getting any lower.
And, of course, the recent polls suggest that support is waning a little bit for the president's health care initiative. And tomorrow, the Democrats are going to continue to have these organizing parties -- they're not tea parties -- but they're going to be organizing rallies in support of health care. And a Tea Party Express, which we will cover here, begins Friday in California, making its way all the way to Washington.
So, this fight, specifically with regards to health care, is heating up here at the end of August, as the kids get ready to go back to school -- Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Griff, thank you.
From the August 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Well, the tea party folks are back and they're taking their message on the road, starting today. Joining us now outside the capitol building in Sacramento, California, Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse -- William, what do these people want? Where exactly are they going? How big is this group?
LA JEUNESSE: All right, generally speaking, they want smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, and they don't want their health care run out of Washington by some bureaucrat. Sixteen days, Brian and Gretchen -- they start here in Sacramento, then they'll go to Reno, Las Vegas, Flagstaff, and beyond, ending at the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C.
Who are they? Well, you have groups and you have individuals: libertarians and conservatives, clearly -- not necessarily all Republicans. One group here -- Howard Jarvis Taxpayers -- they say 30 percent of their members are Democrats. So, some groups you probably know, like the National Taxpayers Union and Citizens Against Government Waste, they're here. Some more partisan organizations, like FreedomWorks, that's run by former Majority Leader Dick Armey.
But a lot of people here are coming for personal reasons. You have farmers in California who've lost all of their water because of something called a delta smelt. They're upset -- 40 percent unemployment in those towns. Then you have truckers who feel they're being driven out of business by diesel air regulations. So as this caravan moves across the country, they hope to gain momentum, and people are going to come out for their own reasons. But by and large, Brian, they're upset. They feel Washington is out of control with the debt and the spending and the corporate takeovers and the bank bailouts. They feel they've been left by the side.
So we're expecting several thousand people here later today, starting in about three hours or so, then they'll leave around noon, 1 o'clock, as I said, headed to Nevada. But they believe, collectively, that they at least have a voice, and hopefully Washington will listen to their concerns. Back to you.
From the August 28 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
GREGG JARRETT (guest co-host): The tea parties, they're back. Remember these? This time around, people are taking their message across the country in a bus. They're going to begin their journey in Sacramento, California, and they're going to head to the nation's capital. William La Jeunesse is live in Sacramento this morning. He joins us now. William, tell us about this group and where are they going and the whole deal.
LA JEUNESSE: Sixteen days, 15 states, 34 cities, Gregg. They start here in Sacramento, they'll end in Washington, D.C., with a taxpayer march on the Capitol on September 12. Generally speaking, these people want lower taxes, less regulation, less government.
But I'm joined right now by Mark Williams; he is with one of the groups that is actually putting this thing on. Tell me, Mark, what do these people want from Washington?
WILLIAMS: Basically, to be heard, and to be listened to. We're taking our government back. We're watching irresponsible spending, we're watching outrageous intrusion, we're watching a government out of control, and we want to grab the reins.
LA JEUNESSE: You know, critics like [House] Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi say this is Astroturf, that basically Republican operatives like yourself are organizing this with one goal in mind: to unseat Democrats.
WILLIAMS: Well, the Republican Party right now is in a coma. I wish they were helping with -- I wish they had the capability to help with something like this. No, this is democracy. These are working-stiff, taxpaying citizens, who are being abused horribly by their government. And you'll see that today here in Sacramento where the emphasis will be on the Central Valley and water rights, and such. So you'll be seeing guys taking breaks from their fields to come up here.
LA JEUNESSE: And another thing they'll say is that, of course, that you -- that these people are basically bitter 'cause they lost the election.
WILLIAMS: Well, no, I think they're bitter because they're working like slaves, that money is being taken away and is being used irresponsibly. Nobody is against taxes. Nobody is against government. What we are against is government not exercising its fiduciary responsibility with our money.
LA JEUNESSE: Got it. Mark, thank you very much.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
LA JEUNESSE: We'll send it back to you. This thing, as I said, it goes 34 cities all across the country.
JARRETT: We'll be watching -- William La Jeunesse in Sacramento.
From the 11 a.m. ET hour of the August 28 edition of Fox Business:
DAGEN McDOWELL (host): The tea parties are back, and this time they're taking their protests on the road. The Tea Party Express kicking off today in Sacramento for a two-week odyssey that ends in Washington, D.C. The Fox News Channel's William La Jeunesse is live from California in the capital. William, what do these people want and where are they going between now and D.C.?
LA JEUNESSE: Well, 16 days, 15 states, 34 cities, Dagen, as you said, starting here in Sacramento, ending in Washington, D.C., on September 12th. They have now gathered right now on capitol steps. Generally speaking, the people are united by several themes: smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, and, of course, any kind of a government health care program that means rationing of care or bureaucrats getting involved with the day-to-day decisions.