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With 'Courage, New Hampshire,' tea party movement enters world of entertainment

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“This is just the next frontier in the whole party polarization fight,” says Sean Theriault, associate professor of government at the University of Texas in Austin.

“It is just one more example of the increasing Balkanization of our culture,” he says, adding, we have liberals who watch “Modern Family” on ABC and conservatives who feel the traditional family values they hold dear are being undermined by depictions of alternative lifestyles.

“And so now, they can watch shows from Colony Bay instead,” says Theriault.

The electorate is growing increasingly polarized, edged onwards by the explosion of primaries and caucuses where candidates with the most extreme views often prevail, says Villanova University communications professor Len Shyles.

He likens the national political profile to “a dumbbell, with each end getting more extreme.”

The fragmentation of the media landscape into niche outlets holds promise for programming with a limited market appeal.

But fringe distribution doesn’t necessarily deliver political impact, points out Peter Orlik, chair of the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.

“You may be able to preach to the party faithful this way, but you won’t reach anyone outside that circle,” he adds. And so far, entertainment targeting the nascent tea party faithful, estimated at around 9 million nationally, has had little success.

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