From World Socialist Web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/sep2011/repu-s16.shtml
By Patrick Martin
16 September 2011
The Republican presidential debate held September 12 in Tampa, Florida was co-sponsored by a major television network and an ultra-right group, Tea Party Express, one of a half-dozen organizations, lavishly financed by right-wing multi-millionaires, that posture as the “grass roots” of the Republican Party.
The debate was the first time that one of the main television networks had formed a formal partnership with sections of the Tea Party movement, who invariably demonize the media as “liberal”, except for the openly right-wing and pro-Republican Fox News.
The effect of the whole presentation was to appeal to those who would once have been considered the lunatic fringe of American politics and to portray them as a legitimate and even “mainstream” trend. It is these forces, which represent a tiny minority of the population, that set the tone for policy, not just in the Republican Party, but in the entire political establishment.
The event was deliberately staged as a celebration of patriotism and American nationalism, with the singing of the national anthem at the beginning, and the eight Republican candidates brought on stage one by one with the announcer identifying them and giving a capsule description. As several media critics noted, CNN brought the production values of a professional football game to the debate.
CNN linked the debate broadcast to satellite feeds from three other Tea Party meetings, in Virginia, Ohio and Arizona, where local ultra-rightists gathered to pose questions to the candidates and voice their reactions.
It was all the more sinister because the CNN debate feed was picked up and rebroadcast over the Armed Forces Network, the Pentagon’s in-house television network for troops on bases in 175 countries, and on Navy ships at sea. In other words, the military brass made a decision to promote to a captive audience of soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq and other overseas locations the Republican presidential candidates making their appeals to a far-right audience.
Continue reading at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/sep2011/repu-s16.shtml