Organizers have reportedly decided that next month's Tea Party convention in Nashville will be closed to the press, except for a few "selected" journalists. The blackout applies to the much-anticipated speeches of Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann. Critics questioned the need for secrecy, but organizers said they just want to hold a "working convention" to transform loosely linked protesters into a national movement. "I don't want the sessions disrupted and overrun with the media," said convention spokesman Judson Phillips. Is holding a party convention behind closed doors un-American, or is keeping the media at bay the best way to get work done?
The Tea Party's insistence on secrecy is scary: "There is something deeply creepy about this," says Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic. The far right wants to cut off the world and marinate in its own juices. But Sarah Palin proved in her campaign that she was one of those populists who "want to speak only to the inner circle," so this is no surprise.
It's their right, but you'd think they'd want the publicity: The organizers have every right to decide how much press they want, says Alex Knapp in Outside the Beltway. But this is puzzling. A group looking to "build a political movement that has credibility and publicity" should want as much press as possible, especially when it has lined up someone with the star power of Sarah Palin.
"Tea Party convention will be closed to the press"
This is especially odd given how much most speakers love attention: "This really is unusual," says David Weigel in The Washington Independent. "As a journalist, I’ve been allowed into sessions, dinners, everything at conferences hosted by the Eagle Forum and by Focus on the Family." And some of the Tea Party gathering's most controversial speakers, like Rick Scarborough, "happily chatted with me inside and outside of their sessions at previous events." Only time will tell why the tea partiers took this route.
"Reporters (mostly) barred from Tea Party convention"
SEE MORE OF THE WEEK'S SARAH PALIN COVERAGE:
• Palin's Tea Party gamble
• Beck vs. Palin: Battle of the Tea Party 'leaders'
• Palin's Fox News gamble
• 'God's plan' for Sarah Palin
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- The lessons of Japan's latest recession
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
Subscribe to the Week