Oh, by the way, Coffee Party leader volunteered for Obama and worked for the NYT

Nothing wrong with either of those things but they might have been worth mentioning in last night’s New York Times love letter to this exciting new nonpartisan civic group, might they not? William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has all the links you need, but before you read his post, re-read the Times puff piece and see if you can find any indication that this group skews left. WaPo, to its credit, made that clear in its own profile of the CP, noting that leader Annabel Park used to work for Jim Webb and listing as one of the group’s goals their intent to “push leaders to enact the progressive change for which 52.9 percent of the country voted in 2008.” The only clue you get in the Times piece is a quote from the CP website that government is “the expression of our collective will” and a mention that the founder of the LA chapter campaigned for Obama but wasn’t especially political until lately and had actually included tea partiers at their latest meeting. In fact, to read the Times, you’d think the Coffee Party and the tea party movement were kissing cousins. Quote:

This summer, Ms. Park said, the party will hold a convention in the Midwest, with a slogan along the lines of “Meet Me in the Middle.” The party has inspired the requisite jokes: why not a latte party, a chai party, a Red Bull party? But Ms. Park said that while the Coffee Party — and certainly the name — was formed in reaction to the Tea Party, the two agree on some things, like a desire for fiscal responsibility and a frustration with Congress.

“We’re not the opposite of the Tea Party,” Ms. Park, 41, said. “We’re a different model of civic participation, but in the end we may want some of the same things.”…

Ms. Park and chapter organizers said they would invite Tea Party members to join their Coffee counterparts in discussions. “We need to roll up our sleeves, put our heads together and work it out,” she said. “That’s, to me, an American way of doing this.”

Now you’re ready for Jacobson’s post (and Tom Maguire’s), including the screencaps from Park’s Twitter feed about the danger of “going backwards in Nov.” and indulging the “paranoid fantasies” of “tea baggers.” Dialogue we can believe in! And, needless to say, another feather in the journalistic cap of Kate “Is Jason Mattera a racist?” Zernike. Exit quotation, again from Park: “we’re not going to take this tea crap anymore. let’s work for change!”

Update: Zombie has some fun with the Times and the coffee folks. I should add, to the extent that Jacobson’s implying that the CP is astroturf — I don’t think he is, but I’m not sure — I disagree. I think they’re on the level. If Democrats were going to run a ‘turf operation, would they really do it in the form of … kaffeeklatsches? They may have helped bring this thing to the NYT’s and WaPo’s attention, but so what? That’s just smart politics.

Update: I didn’t see Jacobson’s update when I first read his post but be sure to read that too. He got a call from Zernike defending her reporting. Judge for yourself which of them is right.

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