By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2010, 4:00pm PT  

I received an email this afternoon from a PR person for CNN, letting me know about their new "Tea Party Documentary" to air tonight, as based on the work of one of their reporters who, she says, has "followed the movement for the past 18 months" in order to offer what is described as "an hour of revealing interviews from their leadership and fascinating profiles of the impact of their energy on the 2010 midterms, their financial supporters and their campaigns."

The documentary, the PR rep's original email went on to say, comes after their reporter "spent considerable time with Lisa Murkowski, Christine O'Donnell, in California with Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express (rode the bus), Dick Armey with FreedomWorks, etc."

You may recall a few weeks ago that CNN ran another documentary with a similar theme, called Right on the Edge following the work of Rightwing media activists. (That one resulted in Republican scam-artist and federal criminal James O'Keefe making an ass of himself, as well as possibly violating the requirements of his federal probation, as we detailed at the time.)

As CNN has yet to run even one such documentary on non-Rightwing media activists or on the non-Rightwing politicians who have struggled over those same 18 months to clean up the unprecedented disaster they were left with when the Bush regime came to a close, I thought I'd point that out --- in my own, snarky-ish (me? snarky?) way --- to the PR person in respones to her email.

The email exchange that ensued follows below, as posted with her permission. I have removed her name as I feel she was only doing her job here, and she appeared to both appreciate the message I was hoping to send, and offered to pass it along to the folks who actually help with programming decisions at CNN...

From: XXXXXXXXXX
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 2010 11:18 AM
To: Brad Friedman
Subject: CNN's Tea Party Documentary

Hi Brad,
I recently discovered your column - my sincerest apologies to you for the lateness of that discovery, but I thought that this documentary would be of interest.

Our intrepid reporter Shannon Travis has followed the movement for the past 18 months and the result is an hour of revealing interviews from their leadership and fascinating profiles of the impact of their energy on the 2010 midterms, their financial supporters and their campaigns. He spent considerable time with Lisa Murkowski, Christine O'Donnell, in California with Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express (rode the bus), Dick Armey with FreedomWorks, etc.

For an excerpt from the documentary, please visit http://edition.cnn.com/v...boiling.point.alaska.cnn.

For your consideration...

kind regards,
XXXXXXXXXX

From: Brad Friedman
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 2010 12:58 PM
To: XXXXXXXXXX
Subject: Re: CNN's Tea Party Documentary

Thanks much, XXXXXXXXXX! Have appeared on your air many times, so sorry to hear you just found me. But, in any case, glad you did!

The documentary looks very interesting! I'd love to cover it side by side with your documentary on the folks who have been trying to clean up the unprecedented mess/crises of the previous eight years over the last 18 months. Got a link to that documentary as well so I can run them both side by side to provide a helpful contrast to my readers before this important Election Day?

Brad

P.S. I should also add that I enjoyed CNN's other recent hour-long documentary on Rightwing media activists, "Right on the Edge", but didn't hear about any similar specials on the work of non-Rightwing media activists. Will CNN have one of those available before next Tuesday's important election as well?

From: XXXXXXXXXX
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 2010 1:45 PM
To: Brad.friedman@cville.com
Subject: RE: CNN's Tea Party Documentary

Hey Brad,

I can appreciate your perspective. If you don't mind my sharing your point of view with the team assembling the viewer feedback on the documentary, please do send me your thoughts once you've seen the show. I can tell you honestly that the feedback matters.

Also, I believe if you watch tonight's show though, you'll find in many ways, it may be different from what you may expect.

all best,
XXXXXXXXXX

From: Brad Friedman
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 2010 2:13 PM
To: XXXXXXXXXX
Subject: RE: CNN's Tea Party Documentary

Fair enough. And I'd be happy if you sent it to them. Mind if I share our exchange with my readers without including your name, identifying you only as a "PR person for CNN"?

For the record, haven't seen the newest documentary, of course, but if you're suggesting that you all may be critical of the folks on the Right you're documenting, in some fashion, that's fine. But I suspect you're also balanced enough to show them in a positive light. That's two documentaries in a row showing Rightwingers in a positive light, with zero in a row showing non-Rightwingers in such a light. Can't imagine you guys doing even one such doc about non-Rightwingers, much less two in a row, frankly.

Brad

She replied with her permission to post the above, with the attribution that I offered to use, and concluded by noting "When we receive them, I can say that reasonable expressions of perspective like yours are definitely read and they do matter."

Well, I suppose this is the day for reasonableness after all.