In a blog post Friday, Ben Adler, national editor of Newsweek.com, says the connection that the Post pointed to in its front-page article on Jan. 12 were "tenuous" and "weak." Liberals have picked up on the Post article to accuse the Tea Party movement of trying to resegregate the Wake school system.
"But was the school board really 'backed by the national Tea Party'?," Adler writes. "No, the national Tea Party movement doesn’t normally get involved in races for school board."
Adler notes how the Post drew the connection by linking the Wake school board with Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers.
Much of Adler's post focuses on interviews with national and local Tea Party leaders and national leaders of Americans for Prosperity who say they weren't involved in the Wake school board elections.
Adler also talks with Dallas Woodhouse, the coordinator for Americans for Prosperity's North Carolina chapter, who says it "is a bit of a stretch" to call the school board members "Tea Party-backed." Woodhouse says AFP had some involvement in the 2009 school board elections but noted how it took place before the Tea Party’s electoral impact was being felt.
“It had nothing to do with the Tea Party,” added Joey Stansbury, of Wake CARES and the Wake Community Network. “What’s being portrayed in the larger media is erroneous. It was disaffected, disillusioned parents in the community.”
The Newsweek post drew a sharply worded online response Sunday from Jim Horn of the website, Schools Matter. Horn accused Newsweek of trying to "protect" the Tea Party from the Wake County schools connection.
Horn cites the campaign spending by Art Pope and Bob Luddy in 2009 and school board member John Tedesco's speech at a Tea Party rally in Wake last year.
"It's too bad Newsweek prefers to take the tea baggers at their word, rather than doing some research like, uh, googling 'john tedesco' and 'tea party,'" Horn writes.
Horn has been a harsh critic of the school board majority. On Friday, he mocked Tedesco's home being in foreclosure proceedings, asking if the Koch brothers would give him a handout,