For two reasons, I think there’s more of this going on than meets the eye.
The first is that it’s hard to cover. I only know about these two operations because people who read my blog emailed me about them. Grassroots organizing, more or less by definition, takes place under the radar. (In fact, the old USAF term for flying below the radar was “in the grass.”) And many Tea Party activists are probably happy to do without press coverage, for fear that will encourage people on the other side to get organized too. Tea Party groups, and allies like Americans For Prosperity and Freedomworks, are happy to communicate with supporters and volunteers via email and websites, but are probably just as happy not to get media coverage that might inspire the opposition.
The second, of course, is that the mainstream press isn’t very interested in covering this kind of thing anyway. Stories about Obama grassroots organizers in 2008 were fine. Stories about the Tea Party organizing this time around would conflict with the preferred (if somewhat contradictory) narratives that the Tea Party is (1) just a bunch of billionaire-funded astroturf; and (2) a preserve of racist “bitter clingers” who are too busy digging for Obama birth certificates to engage in hard political work.
Either way, these kinds of initiatives will make a difference.