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CNN Explains Airing of Bachmann Rebuttal: Tea Party is 'Major Force'

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CNN is explaining its decision to air Rep. Michele Bachmann's tea party-themed rebuttal in addition to the official Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union speech.

In an e-mailed programming note Tuesday, CNN political director Sam Feist called the grassroots conservative movement "a major force in American politics" and in the GOP.

"Hearing the tea party's perspective on the State of the Union is something we believe CNN's viewers will be interested in hearing and we are happy to include this perspective as one of many in tonight's coverage," Feist said.

Bachmann's post-SOTU message was originally going to be available only via a stream on the Tea Party Express website.

The third-term congresswoman (R-Minn.) has become a superstar in tea party circles for her sharp criticisms of the White House. Bachmann has even formed a tea party caucus on Capitol Hill.

Her decision, announced Friday, to deliver a rebuttal from the tea party perspective upset some in the GOP who believe the party should present a unified front behind the official response by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).

CNN's plan to include the Bachmann address as part of its Tuesday night coverage only annoyed Republican insiders further. They fear the Republican Party will come across as at odds with one another.

"CNN is basically inventing a conflict that doesn't really exist," a GOP aide wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Post. "It's not responsible journalism."

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Art Berkowitz

I listened to all three speeches. While I didn't agree with much of what Congressman Bachmann said, she was quite articulate presenting the tea party position. It was certinaly much more interesting than the official Republican response. I don't understand what is wrong with airing a speech that has wide spread interest. The tea party had a signficant effect on the last election and may have an effect on the direction of the Republican Party. Saying that CNN should not have covered it is like saying the news should not cover Sarah Palin. While her negative numbers overwhelm her positive ones (including within the Republican Party), there is a signficant number of people who strongly support her. From my perspective, the tea party is reaffirming a major philosophy within the Republican Party and within this nation. It is not that different from Barry Goldwater's "Conscience of a Conservative". Goldwater's candidacy did not lead to the destruction of the Republican Party as some surmised, but to the rise of Ronald Reagan who could articulate the conservative philosophy in a much more acceptable manner. Hopefully, the tea party will also lead to a more positive approach to the wasteful economic folly that has entrenched itself in our governmental affairs. While withdrawing from the UN, eliminating the Department of Education, or forcing a balanced budget each and every year are not practical political poitions, our government's position with regard to each of these issues does need some signficant changes. So bring it on tea party and CNN!

January 27 2011 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Art Berkowitz's comment

The tea party is not a major party affiliation, but instead a group of disenchanged folks who are mainly right leaning in lieu of left leaning. The republican party identified Congressman Ryan from Wisconsin to give their rebuttal or response to President Obama's State of the Union. Representative Bachmann is also a member of the republican party. Were two rebuttals or republican responses necessary? No! Besides, Michele Bachmann was off the reservation, as usual, and so was CNN.

February 09 2011 at 9:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

SHAME ON YOU CNN!! You don't see CNN giving credence and precedence to any progressive or liberal groups (i.e. the Green Party, the Liberal Party, etc.) by giving them any airtime along with BOTH the official Republican response and the right wing Tea Party Express response (from Michelle Bachman). CNN, this is NOT at all fair or balanced reporting!

If CNN had any journalistic integrity, they should have given airtime to left leaning groups also (instead of just hyping up the Republican front group Tea Party express in order to give it validity since CNN is co-hosting debates with them in the near future.) It’s all about money and ratings for CNN. They showed Bachmann’s/Tea Party Express’s rebuttal and are co-hosting events with Tea Party express in a deliberate attempt to try to pull the right wing viewers from Fox. CNN has lost any credibility for fair/balanced reporting and has completely sold out any journalistic integrity they may have had for a buck!

January 27 2011 at 3:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just dont know why the left has to hate the Tea Party so much? Are they that much of a threat? I dont agree with the ACLU, SEIU, NAACP the teachers Union and many other liberal organizations but I never try to discredit them. Even as a conservative I believe liberal voices are just as important as conservative voices so why can't some of you people just leave the TEA Party alone?

January 26 2011 at 3:53 PM Report abuse -13 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to barney2022's comment

Barney2022, my point exactly. Why then didn't someone from one of the several organizations you cited, give their assessment of the State of the Union? I agree that voices from both parties should be heard, but tea party is not an organized entity, but instead a group of disenchanged folks who could really be absorbed by both organized parties if they truly desired to do so.

February 09 2011 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only reason they did this is ratings.CNN,MSNBC,etc are now going to try and emulate FN.The constant left wing rhetoric has failed miserablely and thier ratings have tanked.They are losing money and thats the bottom line.

January 26 2011 at 3:14 PM Report abuse -13 rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

Earlier liberals at CNN called the Tea Party, "disorganized and irrelevent"...

January 26 2011 at 1:00 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply

Everyone should have their voice. What will matter in the end is not PERCEPTION, but the results. Let the Far Left try to persuade people that the Republican Party is engaging in infighting.............time will tell the tale. We certainly have heard a lot of grumbling from the Far Left and the Far Right about the way things are, but the ultimate goal is to find common ground and move this country forward. The majority near the center will accomplish what those on the fringes never will be able to do. You cannot force rigid extremist doctrine down the throats of Americans. We are not part of that program.

January 26 2011 at 12:41 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply

Has anyone else noticed a shift in CNN's political lean? Don't get me wrong, CNN is still pretty liberal but as much as it was 1 year ago. Even Anderson Cooper has become less liberal over the last year.

January 26 2011 at 12:16 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply
Mel Reid

What's not responsible are the regressive proposals of Bachmann and the Tea Party that they support with distortions and fabrications. I have mixed feelings about the media coverage. On one hand, the Tea Party and its collection of spokespeople have nothing of substance to say. On the other hand, the obvious lack of knowledge demonstrated by most of their spokespeople is fascinating. They seem to represent a final gasp of hollow rhetoric belonging to those who don't understand our history or the American dream that has made us the light of the world. In their bewilderment they deny the failure of old white Christian Republican males and their cohorts to govern America in the 20th and first decade of the 21st Centuries. Their irrational denial leads them to rave against those who are addressing the past failure of the policies they still promote.

January 26 2011 at 11:41 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply

Bachmann was right when she said U.S. corporations pay the highest taxes in the world but forgot to mention that 40% of U.S. corporations pay no taxes.

January 26 2011 at 11:22 AM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply

"CNN is basically inventing a conflict that doesn't really exist," a GOP aide wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Post. "It's not responsible journalism

What???? CNN didn't give the address, they just aired it...

January 26 2011 at 8:41 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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