March 16, 2010
The Coffee Party ConBy Thomas Lifson
The new and much-publicized Coffee Party movement sports a fairy-tale narrative about a spontaneous uprising of concerned Americans appalled at the Tea Parties and determined to restore civility. The truth, easily researchable on the internet, is that plenty of left-wing establishment fingerprints are all over the birth of this supposedly spur-of-the-moment operation.
Professional leftists, who assert that they speak for the people, just hate it when the people manage to organize themselves to speak out against the Left, as in the prairie-fire spread of the Tea Parties. Something had to be done, and in this case, "something" meant creating the Coffee Party movement.
Of course, last spring, leftists like Nancy Pelosi were charging that Tea Parties were an Astroturf operation -- not a grassroots phenomenon, but something manufactured by the dark forces of the GOP. At best, this was nothing but sheer projection, a reflection of the mastery of Astroturfing by David Axelrod and many others on the professional left, and the assumption that Republicans would operate the same way. At worst, it was a deliberate exercise in the technique of the Big Lie.
Unlike the early Tea Party movement, the Coffee Party already has gotten an awful lot of favorable attention from the liberal media, especially given that it has no real message or track record. None of the supposed non-ideological spontaneity of the Coffee Party adds up. No thanks to the liberal media, we know that its founder, Annabel Park, is an Obama-supporter, filmmaker (she made one for the Obama campaign), and former New York Times strategy analyst. In other words, she's a progressive activist.
Ms. Park's staged and noticeably edited video, "Coffee Party: How We Began," portrays the Coffee Party as pure as the driven snow in which it was recorded. While mouthing left-wing talking points, she claims that it all began with comments she made about the Tea Parties on her Facebook page, and that it caught fire from there. The mainstream media seems to find the tale even more enchanting than Han Christian Anderson's oeuvre, and they have repeated the narrative with a straight face.
CBS News asked, "Is the 'Coffee Party' the next big thing?"
Taxpayer-subsidized National Public Radio wrote, "In just a few weeks, fans of the Coffee Party on Facebook mushroomed from a few hundred to more than 100,000 -- making Park the accidental leader of a political movement."
Left-wing blog Firedoglake called Ms. Park "the nonideological Coffee Party Founder who is a fierce advocate for democracy and has an unshakeable faith in Americans' ability to unite for the common good."
However, there are some awkward footprints leading up to the purportedly spontaneous birth and the emergence of the "accidental leader," who turns out to have lots of help. About the time of launching the Coffee Party, Ms. Park attended what was billed as RootsCampDC at the Washington office of a liberal teachers' union called the National Education Association.
The list of attendees reads like royalty of the progressive movement: people from the White House, Harry Reid's office, the Democratic National Committee, the Center for American Progress, Change.org, the SEIU, MoveOn, La Raza, Organizing for America, the Alliance for Climate Protection, etc., etc. This Astroturf camp for progressives included people from NPR, PBS, and Firedoglake. (Was everyone at CNN and CBS busy?)
Ms. Park was a presenter on the panel, "Coffee Party: 100% Grassroots/Netroots Strategic Response to the 'TEA.'"
The rest of its agenda is highly political, progressive Astroturf. Here's a partial list of its other panels:
No doubt that at the panel she conducted, Ms. Park received much good advice on how to package the talking points she so faithfully repeated on her video presentation. She also was among friends with useful resources to both help create and publicize the "spontaneous" movement.
At great expense, and drawing on the resources of billionaires like George Soros, the Left has created a formidable galaxy of activist organizations that help groups like the Coffee Party get going with web design, fundraising, and other technical assistance.
Buoyed by the wave of free supportive publicity, fresh off last Saturday's round of organizing meetings, and no doubt assiduously collecting the names and e-mail addresses of attendees, Ms. Park and the Kaffe Klatsch are no doubt already manufacturing the next round of Potemkin rallies intended to fool the general public into believing that they are as authentic as the Tea Parties.
They and their media lapdogs are betting that the public is naïve enough to be duped. Before the rise of the internet, talk radio, and Fox News, they would probably have been correct.
Thomas Lifson is editor and publisher of American Thinker.