Fox spent weeks promoting apparent tea party scam

TPM Media's Zachary Roth reported earlier in the week that the political action committee that organized the Tea Party Express -- Our Country Deserves Better PAC -- funneled almost two-thirds of its spending from July to November back to the political consulting firm from which it was spawned, Russo, Marsh, and Associates. More than $850,000 of the money the supposedly grassroots PAC collected went to the firm of GOP political operatives who ran it.

For those who may have forgotten, the Tea Party Express was the faux-grassroots operation that Fox News hopped aboard in late August, after the network's promotion of the health care town hall meeting disruptions but before they started flogging the 9-12 protest. (It's so hard to keep Fox's political activism straight!) It was a nationwide bus tour organized by a political action committee whose mission is to oppose President Obama and other Democrats; with a pedigree like that, how could Fox resist?

Fox News heavily promoted the Tea Party Express; the Our Country Deserves Better PAC even used Fox's promotion in a fundraising email. Then Fox's Griff Jenkins hit the trail with the Express, following that bus around the country, throwing journalistic integrity aside as he declared its riders “the America that Washington forgot.”

But somehow, Jenkins missed out on the real story: how loyal tea-party-goers were separated from their hard-earned cash, which was funneled to fat cat Republican political consultants. Russo, Marsh, and Associates salutes you, Fox News. They could have scammed the tea partiers without you, but it probably wouldn't have been nearly as lucrative.