A screenshot of TPNN's homepage. (Los Angeles Times )
A new website for right-wing news and politics has launched on the eve of the 2012 election — touting the killings of U.S. personnel in Libya as the biggest story going and suggesting that President Obama’s chances of reelection are fading.
The Tea Party News Network is edited by a political activist who describes himself in a blog as running a business that helps lenders find customers for reverse home mortgages. Although TPNN.com offers scant details about its mission and no apparent details about its ownership, Politico.com reported the site operates out of the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.
The Venetian is one of the marquee properties controlled by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has suggested he would spend more than $100 million in the 2012 campaign, largely to help defeat Obama. At last public report, Adelson and his family had given at least $46.5 million to groups that are required to disclose donations. There has been no indication whether the conservative TPNN site is connected to Adelson or whether the site’s location at the Vegas resort is merely a coincidence.
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The new TPNN features headlines such as “Why Obama is Toast,” and an article from Dick Morris explaining how Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney will win in a landslide. It also explains that former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s endorsement of President Obama was certainly driven by their racial bond. And, as expected for outlets of the political right, the site bashes the mainstream media as too extreme.
The site lists as its editor Todd Cefaratti. On his personal blog, Cefaratti described himself in 2011 as a UCLA graduate who lived in Arizona and previously worked for several companies, including Bank of America. The posting says that Cefaratti is “the creator of one of the top reverse mortgage lead providers in the country,” providing “major mortgage lenders with information about homeowners seeking to receive extra funds based on the equity in their homes.”
The Cefaratti blog described him as “Executive Director for the nonprofit organization TheTeaParty.net ... one of the most popular websites devoted to the Tea Party cause.” The posting does not detail his journalistic background.
A CBS affiliate in Arizona reported in 2010 that Cefaratti was executive director of another group, JoinTheTeaParty.us. The report said that despite raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, the group was little known among other tea party activists.
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Politico’s Dylan Byers reported Wednesday that Cefaratti, in a statement, pledged that TPNN would become the go-to destination for activists in the anti-tax, small government tea party movement.
"We don’t need our supposed betters in the mainstream media telling us which stories matter or what we should think,” said the TPNN statement. “We don’t mindlessly mimic the talking points of Washington leaders. The Tea Party movement now has a home for news it can trust."
The website is expected to make its launch official with an announcement Thursday. It plans live video coverage on Nov. 6, election day.
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