(Updated three times.)
On Tuesday evening, several organizers of the Teaparty Movement and of the ultraconservative website 73wire.com, including healthcare executive and conservative activist Michael Johns and Eric Odom, founder of the American Liberty Alliance, hosted a telephone conference call for Teaparty activists. Twitter user @Strwbrry_Blonde learned of the call and enlisted Twitter-based community organizer @Shoq to disseminate the dial-in number. In the end, several liberal or satirical Twitter users, including Comedy Central's Elon James White (@ElonJames), Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead (@LizzWinstead) and a few dozen other tea-party-crashers participated in the call, livetweeting comments among themselves under the Twitter hashtag #teapartycall.
During the call, the organizers urged listeners to start their own blogs on the 73wire.com website to avoid what they claimed was routine censorship of conservative views by Typepad and other mainstream blog hosts. (They did not indicate who would receive any advertising revenue from those new blogs. As Huffington Post has reported, 73wire appears to be a for-profit project.) Organizers also touted the growth of the "Liberty Movement" and called the Obama administration "corrupt... out of control.... a scam, a fraud," saying there is a "machine that's trying to steal my liberty."
The best parts, in terms of voyeuristic entertainment value, came after the 14:30 mark, during questioning from participants. One caller asked what she should blog about, and was told to "watch Drudge" and other right-wing sites. Later, two other callers repeatedly interrupted each other with worries about the Obama administration's "dithering! dithering!," "terrorists," "hesitation," and "lying" -- to the point that the organizers had to mute all participants' phones.
At one point, a caller who identified herself as "Marge in Minnesota" -- actually, Winstead -- asked what issues she should care about. The organizers answered, providing her with conservative talking points.In September, Odom announced the creation of 73wire as a sort of Huffington Post of the Right, saying, "I despise a lot of what is written at Huffington Post. But the reality is… they’re good at it." On the 73wire.com call, an organizer noted that "there's a lot of mediocrity in right-of-center blogs right now." 73wire has a way to go, however: organizers on the call reported that their traffic was "hard to gauge" because of the site's youth, and if the number of questions are any indication of the number of listeners on the call, participation at this point is far below the 12,000 people who participated in Huffington Post's somewhat similar "Off The Bus" citizen journalism project.
Audio of the call, obtained exclusively by Warranted Wiretaps, can be heard below:
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