PJTVs Launches New Tea Party TV – Interview With Glenn Reynolds

-By Warner Todd Huston

Pajamas Media is capitalizing on its earlier coverage of the Tea Party movement and has launched Tea Party TV. As the PR release says, “Expanding on its coverage of the National Tea Party Convention last week, PJTV announced its launch of Tea Party TV, offering comprehensive coverage of the Tea Party movement. The cornerstone of the Tea Party TV coverage will be a twice-a-week Internet TV show hosted by Glenn Reynolds and AlfonZo Rachel, well-known commentators on PJTV. ” Since the original PR release, they’ve also added Dana Loesch to Reynolds and Rachel. It’s “the best way to stay informed about the Tea Party movement,” they claim.

So, what is it all, anyway? To answer that I chatted with Glenn Reynolds and we talked about all things Tea Party. Coming down from the stomach flu as he was, we still had a lively talk.

I asked Glenn what sort of future he saw for the tea parties and he said that he was an early booster of the movement even when folks like Roger Simon thought it was all a flash in the pan and would go nowhere. “I think it is the most genuine outbreak of popular grassroots political activism in my lifetime,” Reynolds said, “and so that’s a pretty big deal and I think it’s coming to a crucial time for the country as well.”

Reynolds told me that PJTV wanted to cover the Tea Party movement because the Old Media was doing its best to ignore the whole thing. He praised PJTV as being one of the few to “put eyes on what is the biggest thing politically that’s been going on” in the nation.

One of my worries about the Tea Party movement is that it just might suffer from being too widely diffused. I asked Glenn if he thought it might suffer from not having a few central figures that can be focused upon.

Reynolds:The thing I’ve learned from the internet is that you can accomplish a huge amount with searches of popular entries and you can get more from the Internet in a period of a few weeks to a few months with people who just sort of drop whatever they’re doing and get involved than you can do in years or decades of professional organization, but I’ve also learned if you want somebody to stick on something and keep plugging, it helps to have somebody who’s paid to deliver it. And that obviously is something you won’t going to have in a grassroots organization very much.

Keeping with the question of long-term effectiveness, I asked Reynolds how long he felt the movement would remain potent?

Reynolds:I think that it’s going to last through the next election and probably through the election after and what’s going to happen after that is, you know, a lot of the grassroots enthusiasm will fade but it’s going fade and some people just find something else to do which maybe political or not. And on the other side of it, it’s going – people are going to leave the Tea Party movement and they’re going to run for office themselves, become cabinets themselves, become precinct chairman or county chairman or members of the state or national party committees and things like that. And you know, that’s what normally happens with grassroots movement if they’re successful which is that they become part of the mainstream.

But what of the supposed extremists in the Tea Party movement, I asked. Won’t that just introduce the wackos, as the left and the Old Media claims?

Reynolds: The New Left took the Democrats further away from the mainstream of the American public, its true. But I think the Tea Party is moving the Republicans more in line with the mainstream to the American Public, so it more likely to have productive effects.

There is no political movement that doesn’t fringes, but compared to the new Black Panther Party which is getting kissy face from Eric Holder, compared with Bill Ayers, compared with Bernadine Dohrn, compared with Van Jones these are people at the core of the administration Democratic party today, the Tea Party has got no fringe at all.

I pointed out that the Old Media focuses on what they portray as the Tea Party extremists, but it ignores all the extremists always in attendance at the left’s protests. There are actual communists, anarchists, radical abortionists, even animal rights and enviro terrorists but you never see these whack-jobs in the news.

Reynolds: Well, when we had the anti-war protest in 2003, 2004 with the almost sole exception of David Korn at the nation, nobody was willing to point out that those movements were organized by people who are literally, not pejoratively, literally communists. David Korn was we talked about Answer and the Workers World Party and the people who are providing the organizational infrastructure for those big marches on Washington and he wrote about in the nation and in L.A. weekly but places like Washington Post and the New York Times pretended that these are just ordinary mom-and-pop types of middle America coming down. When they don’t give that kind of a treatment to the Tea Party, but that is because they are fundamentally dishonest in their reporting.

I brought up another one of my worries for the candidates that try to rely on Tea Party groups and that is money. The sad fact is that politics means spending money. I asked Glenn if he thought that the Tea Party groups could raise the money necessary to help a candidate they are supporting win an election?

Reynolds: There are three angles to the money front. Angle number one is that in many ways Tea Party activism is the substitute for cash that is to say you don’t have to pay people to go out and do yourself because Tea Party people will do it for free.

I read over 6000 people traveled in from out of state to work as volunteers for Scott Brown and you know, and so that’s as good as money and indeed a lot of the publicity, a lot of the support of the Tea Party people produce is far more valuable than paid political ads.

The second thing is that yes they do raise money as you’ve seen, for example, in the Scott Brown money bombs and for that matter with some of the other fundraising efforts.

The third part is that the real impact of the Tea Party rule on money has in some sense been a dog who didn’t bark which is say since 2005, 2006 Republicans have had a hard time raising money from the grassroots. And those are, I think, the same Tea Party people who decided to quit giving to the Republican Party when they felt it wasn’t living up to it’s principles.

My next question was about candidates claiming to be “the Tea Party candidate.” I think it is a mistake for a candidate to claim this mantle because there are so many groups, no national organization, and therefore it is a bit disingenuous for a candidate to say “I am the Tea Party candidate.” Plus it seems that this could actually work cross-ways and make Tea Party groups mad at the candidate that makes the claim without really having the solid support to back it up.

Reynolds: Well, the problem with that is there is no Tea Party to give you the nomination. The Tea Party is a movement it’s not party. If you support Tea Party principles and Tea Party people back here, then you are Tea Party candidate but you can’t become one by calling yourself one and I suspect people really pretty good at spotting the phony.

Well, it was a very good interview and I was glad Mr. Reynolds took the time with me. I asked him if he had anything to close with about PJTV Tea Party TV and here is what he said…

Reynolds: I think the Tea Party is going to be fun. Dana Loesch has come on board to Spearhead and she’s terrific for a number of reasons, one is she’s just terrific. She’s a really smart, savvy person. She’s very good on radio and TV, and you know does a fair amount of it. I mean she was one of the real movers and shakers in the St. Louis Tea Party movement which is one of the more successful Tea Party movements around the country. So she’s really a great person to have involved and the goal is going to be to really get out there and put the spotlight on people who are actually doing stuff. You know, the stars of Tea Party TV will be the Tea Party activists who are out there doing things and that something I’ve done to some degree to my own show on PJTV and will continue to do. But Tea Party TV is just a way of throwing more focus on that and more organized in the same way.

So, once again, thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the time. Please do check out Tea Party TV, folks.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, TheRealityCheck.org, RedState.com, Human Events Magazine, AmericanDailyReview.com, and the New Media Journal, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for RedCounty.com.

He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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