Teabagging behind closed doors

TEABAGGING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS…. As a rule, when political activists organize large events, featuring high-profile speakers and guests, the goal is to generate as much media attention as possible. It’s about getting the organizers’ message out to an audience far beyond those literally in the room.

Next month, however, an outfit called “Tea Party Nation” is hosting a big gathering in Nashville, with the first ever Tea Party convention. Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are among the notable right-wing speakers who will be paid handsomely to rally the troops. But don’t expect to see too many reports from major media outlets — they’re not welcome.

It looks like the revolution will not be televised, after all.

At least not the Tea Party’s revolution.

Word from Nashville on Monday was that the First National Tea Party Convention next month will be closed to the press, other than for a limited number of “selected” journalists. No word on who or how many.

This includes a media blackout of the Palin and Bachmann speeches.

Like Dave Weigel, I find this pretty surprising. I’ve covered all kinds of right-wing events over the years, and while there are occasionally closed-door strategy sessions held for select attendees, the notion of preventing reporters from major outlets from even stepping foot in this conference seems bizarre, and kind of paranoid.

It’s worth noting that the public will probably get some sense of what transpired during the festivities. A few undercover reporters — you know who you are — may sneak in past the list-checkers desperate to keep out those who may disagree, and some hand-picked, right-wing media types will probably get some access that the rest of us will be able to read.

But for the most part, this will likely be the first ever national political convention held in secret. Given all of last week’s bitter complaining about health care policy negotiators working out their differences in private, I suppose the obvious question is, “What do the Teabaggers have to hide?”