Anatomy of a Left-Wing Smear: The Great Tea Party Conspiracy Busted

Playboy Magazine got its undies in a bundle over the nation wide Tea Party protests held last Friday that were inspired by CNBC's Rick Santelli's free market rant of February 19. As Noel Sheppard noted on March 1, the skin mag published a piece claiming that Santelli was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy to protest Obama's socialist policies.

It turns out, however, that the story has been proven false and in response Playboy has mysteriously removed the piece that first raised the question of the grand conspiracy. Happily, the facts have won over on Playboy forcing it to pull down the fallacious story. In its place, all we now get is a "We're sorry, we couldn't find the page you requested," notice.

To recap, this is what made Playboy run for its tinfoil hats:

What we discovered is that Santelli's "rant" was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a "Chicago Tea Party" was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society.

What they "discovered" turned out to be wrong. David Bauder of the AP is reporting that Santelli had nothing to do with the various Tea Party demonstrations. In fact, Instapundit reported that some of the Tea Party efforts predated Santelli's TV rant.

Bauder reports that Santelli and CNBC requested that one Tea Party site remove Santelli's name from its pages because there was no affiliation between them. AP notes that the original site, http://www.reteaparty.com , even had a disclaimer attached declaring the fact that Santelli was not connected with the site.

Now, above I said "happily facts have won over Playboy forcing the mag to pull down the fallacious story" which is all well and good. But the problem is we now have hundreds perhaps thousands of left-wing DailyKosers and such all imagining they know the real story, the one that corresponds to the fake Playboy tale.

So, while the fake story has been scrubbed, the claim of conspiracy is still floating around like a noxious cloud befouling the air.

And, THAT, my friends, is how the left works. Scream the lie, whisper the retraction.

Update 14:32 | Stephen Gutowski: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog...