I conclude that the press played much more than an instrumental role in relaying the Tea Party brand and that this study highlights the specific ways in which the distinctions between campaigners, political strategists, and news media professionals are becoming increasingly irrelevant. At its core, the Tea Party news story was a narrative that questioned authenticity in a branding environment, a cultural text indicative of a period marked by skepticism, terrorism, anxiety, and doubt about both the virtual and physical worlds (and their interplay). These news narratives provide insight into American culture and expose the function of the press and political news in an era marked by advances in digital technology and media segmentation.
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