I was approached by two members of the Effingham Tea Party Steering Committee today and they asked me if I had seen the article on Yahoo! about the Effingham Tea Party we held on April 15th. I said no, and they said I really needed to check it out....so I did. Talk about phoning it in!
First, the "contributor" gets the name of our town - Effingham - wrong by stating he lived 15 minutes from "Effington". And here's where I KNOW the "contributor" did not attend our rally but is merely writing his article through pure conjecture (emphasis added):
Living 15 minutes away from Effington Ill., I decided to go to the Effingham Tea Party rally. It was outside the Old Effingham County Courthouse that hundreds of regular people, young and old, chanted their slogans of anti-government and anti deficit.
Matt Chef, the "contributor", must have attended a different rally than what we held since WE MOVED THE RALLY TO THE OLD RURAL KING BUILDING AT THE MALL!! So needless to say, there wasn't anybody waxing poetic about the government or deficits at the Old Courthouse.
Oh, but it gets better (emphasis added):
After the rally had ended, the movie "Atlas Shrugged" was played at a nearby village square mall. Many of the tea party protesters went to go see the film, but I did not. I was collecting my thoughts about the rally. I did not really enjoy it, but at the same time, I did not dislike the whole idea around it. I had talked with several people and had many interesting discussions.
It was AT THE SAME MALL WE WERE AT!!
Furthermore, phoning it in allowed Mr. Chef to miss what the Tea Party is all about, but that doesn't stop Mr. Chef from op-eding about the Tea Parties at large:
I was interested by the fact that there are fewer tea party rallies each year. Is the movement losing its attraction?
Fewer Tea Parties? If he had actually been to Effingham's rallies, he would know that we only hold 2 a year to begin with. Generalized statements about the Tea Parties at large does not facts make. My experience with the Tea Parties is that the movement has not weakened. I will grant that people are tired after recent election cycle, but that's the same natural lull in activity that all political movements experience, so the Tea Parties are not any different.
Last but not least, Mr. Chef expounds about his ideas of what could change the Tea Parties for the better, again, totally lost on him is what the Tea Parties actually are:
I think that if the tea party movement wants to thrive it needs to organize itself and put a lone person into the spotlight as, perhaps not their leader, but a spokesman.
In one simple word....NO. The one great thing about the Tea Parties is they are all independent of each other and answer only to themselves. Most of the Tea Partiers I run into (including myself) can't stand groups like Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Express, or Tea Party [fill in the blank here for some group name indicating a national organization]. To tell us to find a spokesman and organize into a national organization misses the beauty of the Tea Parties. Our disorganized, autonomous nature has prevented the major parties from taking over or destroying the Tea Parties.
So why would I get so bent out of shape about an article that on the surface is a glowing review of the Tea Parties and our rally in particular? Because I would rather take bad press by someone who was there than good press by somebody that wasn't there and still miss the entire point of who and what the Tea Parties are. Matt Chef should understand that with journalism comes responsibility. You cannot just make something up and write about it. Ask several NY Times journalists who have been fired for doing just that. There was even a good movie about a journalist who made it all up and was fired when he was called out for doing so called Shattered Glass about Stephen Glass, a reporter for the The New Republic.