Santelli Not Participating In Tea Parties

Rick Santelli, the lively CNBC correspondent whose on-air outburst went viral on YouTube and in libertarian/conservative circles, continues to distance himself from the web-organized anti-tax tea parties which have been spawned in his honor.

A short-lived Playboy article had accused Santelli of planting his reference to an anti-stimulus Boston tea party protest as part of a massive libertarian astro-turf campaign. Santelli publicly denied the charge, and an army of bloggers left and right picked apart the Playboy piece until it mysteriously disappeared. See more coverage here.

The humorous and strange take-away from all this is the power “viral”-ness has on social movements. If Santelli is correct that his outburst was spontaneous, then he will have become a libertarian hero in spite of himself. Indeed, a revolutionary without a platform save what political organizers, harnessing the web, have made in his YouTube image. Nor is there any need for an elaborate astro-turf theory to explain this. It is simply the stunning power of internet social networks at work. Obama understood it, and now the libertarians running the “Tea Party” have figured it out, too.

I have the feeling Santelli is sympathetic to the cause, if bemused to find himself so transmogrified.

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2 Responses to “Santelli Not Participating In Tea Parties”

  1. Internet & Democracy Blog » What’s In A Tea Party Says:

    […] the net-based movement must far exceed the expectations of its original proponents: the unwitting Rick Santelli, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, and the host of libertarian organizations which helped […]

  2. Online TV Says:

    Very interesting post.