So it seems there was a vast right-wing conspiracy surrounding Rick Santell's February 19 rant in response to President Obama's housing policy but, Santelli says, he was not a part of it. Last night, several days after a weirdly sourced, speculative blog post on Playboy's website — which linked the CNBC reporter's "Chicago Tea Party" meme to various nefarious right-wing groups and alleged his words were "scripted" by the far right — caused a stir in the blogosphere, Santelli published a long post on CNBC's website defending himself and denying any connection to the “tea party movements that have popped up” since the rant aired, such as those orchestrated by FreedomWorks, a right-wing nonprofit group that put Santelli's image on its home page soon after the rant aired, along with the words "Are you with Rick? We are."
In his post, which doesn't mention Playboy by name, Santelli sounds alternately annoyed:
The "rant heard around the world" (as it has been named by the media) on February 19th was spontaneous ... not scripted ... and any person, organization, or media outlet that claims otherwise IS INACCURATE.
"I hope that the President and the final stimulus plan succeed ... I love my country and hope that the current administration succeeds in fixing the complicated economic and social issues our country now faces."
Wethinks some network arm-twisting might have occurred? The network also canceled Santelli's appearance on Jon Stewart this week, and might have muscled some of the tea-party groups into disassociating themselves with the reporter. According to the AP:
Santelli's name was stripped from headlines on the home page of Re-Tea Party.com Monday after its operator was made aware of CNBC's dissatisfaction.
After it was made aware of their dissatisfaction? Not to start another conspiracy theory, but, jeez. Meanwhile, Zack Christenson, a conservative radio producer whose registration of the ChicagoTeaParty domain back in August was the cornerstone of Playboy's argument, told the Times it was “pure coincidence.”
The Playboy story has since been taken down, although we don't know if it's because of CNBC's dissatisfaction or what, since, despite being contacted by Daily Intel and a number of other news outlets, the company hasn't responded to requests for comment. In any case, the writers behind the original piece have reprinted it and are claiming victory for ... something ... on their website, the eXiled.
"Our article last Friday exposing the familiar old rightwing corporate machine behind the fake “tea party” protests, and Rick Santelli’s highly questionable role as the one-man MC for the protests’ launch event, wound up crashing the tea party’s mojo, and forcing Santelli to issue a giant apologia on CNBC’s site ... You can hear Rick’s pain as the spiked CNBC legal department butt-plug is shoved deeper and deeper in, paragraph after paragraph."
It's a great thing, the new new journalism.
The entire Internet fustercluck can be found here:
Exposing The Rightwing PR Machine: Is CNBC’s Rick Santelli Sucking Koch? [eXile, as first seen in Playboy]
Really Long Megan McArdle Dissection [Atlantic]
Rick Santelli: I Want to Set The Record Straight [CNBC]
Reporter Says Outburst Was Spontaneous [NYT]
CNBC says ranting Rick Santelli is not affiliated with political site that uses his name [AP]
CNBC Bitch-Slaps Santelli Into Line, FreedomWorks Admits It Organized “Grassroots” Tea Parties, Jon Stewart Cancels Santelli & Megan McArdle Queefs On Our Founding Fathers [eXile]