Note to national media: ‘The Coffee Party’ is a non-entity not worth covering 

When you consider that the ‘Coffee Party’ is a reactionary progressive movement founded by a former New York Times employee and Obama campaigner, it doesn’t exactly ooze grassroots credibility does it? And yet, because almost anyone can get a few hundred thousand people to put down the bag of Fritos long enough to engage in precisely the minimal amount of effort to click on that stupid Facebook “thumbs-up” button, we were supposed to believe that this was an exciting new insurgent movement in American politics with 200,000 new members, according to a credulous Newsweek. (This apparently also merited coverage from the New York Times and Washington Post.)

However, that was all over six months ago. Despite doing their best to publicize the Coffee Party, even the more liberal organs in the national media couldn’t pretend for very long that the Coffee Party was a serious force. Despite the hundreds of thousands of people on Facebook, group’s national convention attracted only 350 people.

But since the media just can’t say no to a progressive activist, here we are just days before the election with another fact-free puff piece on the Tea Party, courtesy the Agency France Presse wire service. Sure, why not? Let’s just embrace the suck. First we have to start off, just like all the bad stories that have been run to date on the Coffee Party to date, with a terrible, punny lede:

A progressive infusion in US politics, the Coffee Party is brewing a strong counter-movement to the ultra-conservative Tea Party, just a week ahead of the US legislative elections.

Now that we’re underway, let’s boldly make the ridiculous assertion that large numbers of Facebook fans somehow translates to political influence:

Since its inception, the Coffee Party says it has attracted more than 300,000 active participants on Facebook and is now able to field its own candidate for November 2 in Missouri.

That’s more than the Democratic National Committee’s Facebook page, which has 150,000 followers, and the Republican National Committee’s, with 186,000.

But wait, hold the phone — the Coffee Party is fielding a candidate? Is there a reason why this candidate goes unmentioned in the article? Better Google this! Hmm, it seems some guy claiming to be with the Coffee Party is running as a write-in candidate in a Republican congressional district where the where Democrats didn’t even bother fielding a candidate. Wake up and smell the electoral triumph!

Ok, so there’s absolutely no story here, with no evidence suggesting the Coffee Party will have any impact on the upcoming election. So we can just go ahead and round things out with some uninformed bleating about how the Coffee Party’s well-intentioned progressive activism must be nurtured as a bulwark between civilization and Tea Party chaos:

“It’s definitely a reaction of ordinary people to the Tea Party, because in all the newspapers and the media you read that the Tea Party says they are the real America. But the way they’re trying to make changes is dangerous,” said Park. …

The Tea Party “is a rebirth of the extreme right-wing, social conservative movement… A majority of their group are white Christian activists. Basically, they support people that have the wealth and the power,” said 65-year-old Gregg Reynolds.

Great! You know the proper journalistic practice would be to balance this partisan screeching out with some perspective from Tea Party people. But why bother? Let’s just call the Tea Party a bunch of pro-establishment, extreme right-wingers and put this turkey on to the transom.

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Mark Hemingway

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