A number of staffers have resigned from the Tea Party News Network, slamming the company's “despicable practices” as "immoral and unethical," Mediaite reported Thursday.
Owned by TheTeaParty.net founder Todd Cefaratti, TPNN launched in 2012 as the self-professed "antidote to mainstream media bias." The resignations, however, come on the heels of a Daily Beast article detailing what some readers believe is TPNN's slow drift away from Tea Party-centric issues and toward sensationalized click bait. According to The Daily Beast, the site's Facebook page, which boasts some 1.2 million likes, often posts outrageous videos of fights and brawls. Much of the more gory content posted is taken from site's like Fights.buzz and Viral.buzz, both of which are also owned by Cefaratti.
“I won’t click on those damn stories. It’s about the shock factor. It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with clicks," conservative activist Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, also known as “Joe the Plumber,” told The Daily Beast. "How far are they willing to go to compromise their integrity? It makes me sick, it makes me angry. It makes me want to go kick someone’s ass.”
Following The Daily Beast story, TPNN staff members wrote a resignation letter outlining their grievances with the company. Posted to Twitter by Free Beacon reporter CJ Ciaramella, the letter claims that the company both undervalues its writers and treats its readers as "unsophisticated simpletons."
"We represent ourselves as 'The Tea Party' on Facebook and take no actions to hold ourselves to the higher standards of that designation," the letter reads. "Posts by fights.buzz and viral.buzz have become increasingly vile and unacceptable. The Tea Party is not TMZ and TPNN is not WorldStar."
"The staff who work around the clock to produce timely and breaking content is regularly reminded that 'writers are cheap,'" the letter continues. "The audience is regarded as unsophisticated simpletons. The activism that built all the infrastructure is considered a 'pain in the ass' not as an opportunity to save the country."