Crashing the Tea Party challenges conventional dogmas related to the most recent “movement” of choice of conservative America and the mass media. This book undertakes a critical journalistic and scholarly examination of the Tea Party at the national and local level. Through firsthand observation of local Tea Party chapters, Street and DiMaggio uncover details about the Tea Party that have remained largely unexplored. Is the Tea Party a genuine social movement or a top-down interest group created largely by the mass media, Republican Party, and corporate funding? Street and DiMaggio explore this question systematically, closely documenting their results. They show how mass media reporting and commentary affect public opinion of the Tea Party and its preferred policy whipping boy, health care reform, in particular. This book fills the gap in public understanding of how social movements fit within the larger political ideologies on the left and right, and the growing role of media in influencing public opinion on major issues of the day. Street and DiMaggio cover the Tea Party from the inside out, and in the context of the 2010 Midterm elections, the Wisconsin Worker Movement, and the Arab Spring.
“This acute and highly informed analysis of the Tea Party phenomenon brings to light the reality that lies behind excited media portrayals, crucially distinguishing the ‘movement’ itself from the far larger and more significant popular sectors that are misled into believing that it responds to their authentic grievances, which are unaddressed in the mainstream political system. It is a dangerous mix, as history reveals. This lucid and careful study could hardly be more timely.”
“Essential reading for anyone concerned about the changing nature of American politics and the emergence of diverse authoritarian ideologies and political orthodoxies at the heart of the current Tea Party movement. Street and DiMaggio are two of America’s most important social and political critics, and this book goes a long way in reflecting their insights and understanding of the politics of siege and anger now gripping the United States.”
—Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University
"Paul Street and Anthony DiMaggio wouldn’t dispute the Tea Party’s impact, but they aren’t buying the media spin. Their Crashing the Tea Party: Mass Media and the Campaign to Remake American Politics systematically dismantles the notion that the Tea Party represented a genuine independent political movement. And they document the role of the major media in nurturing the Tea Party’s growth and promoting its mythology."
-Lance Selfa, socialistworker.org
“Crashing the Tea Party reminds me of the kind of work Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman did with the Propaganda Model in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988). It explodes the popular narrative and is academic in its research and presentation to the point that they really have crashed the Tea Party and it’s undeniable.” –Michael McGehee, www.znet.com
“The strength of the Tea Party’s populist base has been greatly exaggerated, as Paul Street and Anthony DiMaggio persuasively argue in their book, “Crashing the Tea Party.” –The Progressive October 14, 2011