This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
Angry Renter.com is a project of FreedomWorks to oppose bailouts of risky mortgages.
The Web site AngryRenter.com claims to represent "millions of renters standing up for our rights," but according to the Wall Street Journal, the site is fake:
... the site looks a bit like a digital ransom note, with irregular fonts, exclamation points and big red arrows -- all emphasizing prudent renters' outrage over a proposed government bailout for irresponsible homeowners.
"It seems like America's renters may NEVER be able to afford a home," AngryRenter.com laments. The Web site urges like-minded tenants to let Congress feel their fury by signing an online petition. "We are millions of renters standing up for our rights!"
Angry they may be, but the people behind AngryRenter.com are certainly not renters. Though it purports to be a spontaneous uprising, AngryRenter.com is actually a product of an inside-the-Beltway conservative advocacy organization led by Dick Armey, the former House majority leader, and publishing magnate Steve Forbes, a fellow Republican. It's a fake [[Grassroots|grass-roots] effort -- what politicos call an AstroTurf campaign -- that provides a window into the sleight-of-hand ways of Washington.
Mr. Armey portrays himself as a representative of the tenant class, but as of May, 2008 he earned $100,833 a year for four hours a week working for FreedomWorks Inc., the organization's advocacy arm, and an additional $403,333 for 32 hours a week working for FreedomWorks Foundation, its tax-deductible, educational wing, according to federal tax filings. Mr. Armey also owns a house on 78.5 acres in Denton County, Texas, north of Dallas. In response to a public-information request, local authorities revealed that the land and house are worth a combined $1.7 million.
- Michael M. Phillips Mortgage Bailout Infuriates Tenants (And Steve Forbes): 'Angry Renter' Web Site Has Grass-Roots Look, But This Turf Is Fake, Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2008. Accessed August 17, 2009