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on September 30, 2013
"The Rise of the Tea Party" by Anthony DiMaggio is an expert deconstruction of the Tea Party as a pro-business tool of mass persuasion. Mr. DiMaggio is a scholar whose writings on mass media, propaganda and politics have been widely published. Helping us understand the forces that have recently driven American politics in a more strident, intolerant and proto-fascist direction, this enlightening book will empower readers who might be concerned about democracy and the future.

Mr. DiMaggio discloses how the Tea Party was engineered by wealthy individuals with extremist pro-business, anti-environment and socially conservative ideologies. Mr. DiMaggio attended numerous meetings in the Chicago area where he found a near total lack of audience participation that belied the organization's highly directed, top-down structure. Indeed, the evidence gathered by the author refutes the widespread but misbegotten notion that the Tea Party is a grassroots movement. Chillingly, it seems more the case that Tea Partiers - many of whom embrace Ayn Rand's philosophy of selfish individualism - have been molded into subjects who are easily manipulated by elite interests.

Mr. DiMaggio explains how the Tea Party limited progress on president Obama's health care initiative. Mr. DiMaggio cites Sarah Palin's ridiculous allegation about 'death panels' as part of a successful campaign to remove serious consideration of the public option from prospective legislation. Faux populist outrage expressed by Tea Partiers at Town Hall meetings further derailed the opportunity for the American public to benefit from a more open, informed and civil discourse. The author's work suggests that our democratic processes remain far too vulnerable to well-orchestrated campaigns of misinformation and demagoguery.

On that point, Mr. DiMaggio explains that the Tea Party has fulfilled its mission of rebranding a Republican Party that was widely disdained in 2008 for its mismanagement of the economy. Although the Tea Party's obsessiveness about socialism, deficits and costs is congruent with the Republican Party platform, extremist Tea Party rhetoric allows most rank-and-file Republicans to appear moderate by comparison. In fact, Mr. DiMaggio presents data showing that Tea Party leaders are Republican stalwarts whose Congressional voting patterns remain virtually indistinguishable from others in the Party.

Mr. DiMaggio goes into detail about the key role media has played in perpetuating the Tea Party hoax and making cruel right-wing austerity policies more palatable to a confused public. Mr. DiMaggio conducted statistical analysis to reveal how Tea Party sympathies are highly correlated with propaganda disseminated by right-wing media channels who are credited with playing a key role in sowing mass confusion and exploiting the opportunity to drive attendance to Tea Party rallies. In fact, Mr. DiMaggio presents polling data that shows how the myth of a grassroots mass movement went unchallenged by the wider media, allowing the Tea Party to gain a certain level of credibility, exert influence beyond its core base of supporters and nudge the American public overall slightly to the right. Fortunately, as the people of Madison, Wisconsin and elsewhere have struggled to push back against the right-wing agenda of corporate welfare and attacks on worker's rights, the author believes that real social movements dedicated to improving the lives of ordinary people will ultimately prevail over the fakery of the Tea Party.

I highly recommend this timely and informative book to everyone.
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on August 6, 2013
I liked the book, I didn't agree with it, but it was helpful in writing my paper. I received it quickly and it was in very good shape.
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on December 10, 2013
Excellent book. It works hard to point out the problems of the Tea Party and supports the notion that it is really not a political party - just a group that would like to be a party.
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on June 17, 2012
I find the discussion on corporate propoganda to be fascinating. The fact that this group of Americans is advocating a plan that is clearly not in their best interest is something I would like to better understand. To see this group of middle-aged men marginalized by their own stupidity can't happen soon enough.
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on January 24, 2014
First I am not affiliated with the Tea Party in any way, although I did go to one meeting to see what it was all about.
Second, I agree with the author that many of the Tea Party's organizations are influenced by elements of the GOP. In many cases a grass roots movement was taken over. Just like Occupy has been. This is the nature of power and will happen when power is concentrated, not in the people and society, but in the government. political party and corporate controlled media.

That being said, IMO the author has "discovered" what he expected to find. He is hardly a unbiased source and he is coming from a particular schizophrenic political ideology that both criticizes the State and adores it. .And yes, I understand the author is highly critical of the media. Correctly IMO. But many of this mind set fail to understand that government is always made up of special interest groups. Those special interests are not a real reflection of the general public. Their goal is to exploit the general public for their own purposes. It is the political means of gaining wealth at the expense of others.

While the author chastises the Tea Party, especially for it's alleged pro corporate positions, the sad fact is that the government itself and both "sides" are dominated by corporate and other special interests. Without the power that has accrued to the people that run the government, special interests would not have the power they have, and that power would return to society as a whole. It is a nice idea to think that the government would represent everyone equally and fairly, but it is not a realistic view.
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on October 3, 2014
This was a great read and provided the necessary argument, evidence, fact and more to show that - no, the Tea Party is not just financially conservative - that is just a front. They are truly radical
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