Almost the entire staff of the Tea Party News Network’s website resigned yesterday, citing the network’s “despicable practices” as cause for the mass exit, Politico reported.
This massive resignation comes after a report by The Daily Beast “showed how the three-year-old conservative news site fell into posting click bait smut, like videos of fights and burning cars.”
TPNN’s news director Scottie Hughes told The Daily Beast that those posts were just to increase their audience because, “Nobody talks politics 24/7… We are trying to make you a well rounded person so you can have stuff to talk about at the water cooler, so you aren’t just seen as the crazy Tea Party person who has been demonized for so long.”
The Daily Beast also reported that TeaParty.net had brought in nearly $6 million during the last election cycle.
In a letter to the network’s owners Todd Cefaratti and Kellen Guida, TeaParty.net cheif strategist Dustin Stockton, operations manager Kris Hall, TPNN social media director Jennifer Burke, TPNN contributer and social media specialist Matthew Birk, and TPNN contribuor Greg Campbell wrote,
“TheTeaParty.net Facebook page was built using non-profit dollars and resources and yet the hundreds of thousands of dollars a month being generated from traffic deriving from the non-profit Facebook page are being funneled to a for profit company with no transparency. Even if you could find a way to make that legal, it’s immoral and unethical. We represent ourselves as ‘The Tea Party’ on Facebook and take no action to hold ourselves to the higher standards of that designation. Posts by fights.buzz and viral.buzz have become increasingly vile and unacceptable. The Tea Party is not TMZ and TPNN is not WorldStar [a reference to WorldStar Hip-Hop, which regularly features videos of public fights caught on tape and is referred to as “CNN of the ghetto” by its founder].”
The letter also pointed out that the owners regularly showed contempt for its writers, “who make all [their] financial success possible.”
“The staff who work around the clock to produce timely and breaking content is regularly reminded that ‘writers are cheap,’” it continued. “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.”
It’s no surprise that the site’s rich owners viewed their writers as dispensable and treated them as such. Tea Party leaders and their one-percent overlords only care about profit and clicks, not about the actual content. Even though we vehemently disagree with its point of view, the network’s employees deserved better.
Read the full resignation letter, posted by the Washington Free Beacon’s CJ Ciaramella.
Full Tea Party News Network resignation letter from staffers: pic.twitter.com/JWOEzhKI6y
— CJ Ciaramella (@cjciaramella) February 19, 2015