Rachel Maddow continued her denunciation of CNN's decision to air Michele Bachmann's response to the State of the Union address, saying that the network had essentially partnered with a sleazy fundraising group to pass Bachmann's speech off as the "official" Tea Party response to the State of the Union.
Speaking on her Tuesday show, Maddow first played clips of CNN figures discussing the network's move (some with more obvious discomfort than others) and then talked about the background of the Tea Party Express, the group that Bachmann was speaking for. Maddow noted that the group had operated for most of its short life not as a grassroots organizing group, but as a way to line the coffers of a Republican political consulting firm. The Tea Party Express, she said, was "sort of a scam."
Maddow also pointed out that CNN has deeply enmeshed itself with the Tea Party Express. Beyond the presidential debate that the two are co-hosting this fall, CNN even sent a reporter to "embed" on the other group's bus--"as if the Tea Party Express is an army," Maddow said.
Ultimately, she said, CNN had behaved in a questionable way in airing Bachmann's speech.
CNN "presented an alternate reality of their own making, one in which their debate partner officially speaks for the Tea Party and in which the Tea Party is a co-equal third party of equal stature to the Democrats and the Republicans," she said. "And CNN has a competitive and potentially financial interest in selling you that alternate reality as if it is news."