From the site of last October's Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) pics:
And of course, I need my 10 cents worth of Sorosbucks™
16 minutes ago
But this is the first time we’ve seen evidence that a media figure like Rick Santelli knowingly took part in a conservative propaganda campaign. Why? Well, I'm sure the fact that his contract is up for renewal this summer had something to do with it. His Tea Party-enhanced national profile will no doubt help with those negotiations. But news that the entire thing was planned and orchestrated by conservative PR firms should be grounds for Santelli's firing--now. He just threw any suggestion that he had journalistic impartiality out the window to meet his own selfish ends. If CNBC doesn’t investigate this now their credibility is gone, too.
What hasn’t been reported until now is evidence linking Santelli’s “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. As veteran Russia reporters, both of us spent years watching the Kremlin use fake grassroots movements to influence and control the political landscape. To us, the uncanny speed and direction the movement took and the players involved in promoting it had a strangely forced quality to it. If it seemed scripted, that’s because it was.
What we discovered is that Santelli’s “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. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society.