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The Great Tea Party Express/CNN Alliance: Who's Sorry Now?

They say that opposites attract -- but this opposite?

Call it a tempest in a teapot or call it a gathering storm (you decide the cliche) but the planned Cable News Network presidential debates with Tea Party Express are already raising more eyebrows than Jack Nicholson as The Joker.

Yes, the network and the supposedly grass roots organization are teaming up to stage 2012 presidential debates and the chattering classes are working over time. Most guffaw-inducing comment so far: A Salon blogger criticizes the mating for a lack of "basic standards of journalistic ethics."

Evelyn Waugh, where are you when we need you?

But never mind. CNN is obviously a network in extremis, looking to find its way in the post-Larry King universe. But the Tea Party Express? What do they have to gain from all this, going mainstream when they have barely pulled their boots on? And going mainstream with whom?

Are the leaders of Tea Party Express aware that it was CNN that deliberately did not report Saddam's rape rooms and defenestrations at the height of his dictatorship, so that the network could maintain access? Is this the kind of partner the tea party people should be seeking? If they are not aware -- which I hope they aren't -- the Express leadership can educate themselves reading (among other things) News We Kept To Ourselves, an op-ed by CNN's own Eason Jordan in the New York Times.