So Sunday while I was surfing, I ran across this article at Little Green Footballs. Though I am aware of their work, I don’t normally read LGF, but I was drawn by the headline at Memorandum and clicked it. Here are the essentials:
I don’t even know what to say about this any more [sic]. There’s a real sickness running rampant in the right wing; the Fox News comment thread on Whitney Houston’s death is yet another disgusting deluge of outright racism: Singer Whitney Houston Dies at 48 | Fox News.
I read a few on that page and then clicked through, and yes, the comments are offensive as hell, with the n-word littering the discourse. Damning, no?
Now I’m not in the habit of defending FOX news by any stretch of the imagination. But here’s the thing; I’ve been reading FOX news for years now, not exclusively, but I treat them like I do CNN or MSNBC–they’re interesting for what they’ll tell you about that faction’s POV on a given subject, and sometimes they do just straight up report stories. In my years of reading them, I have never once witnessed a train wreck like that one. Never have I seen FOX commenters en masse racially attack someone.
I’m not saying it’s not real; I’m saying I’m suspicious. I remember all too well the online games that went down with operatives and volunteers in the 2008 primary, and I am aware of Cass Sunstein’s work manipulating online watering holes. Most of us were at DKos, Jeralyn’s place, and other prime online targets and we are well aware of the methodology. My suspicions primarily revolved around this information, and knowing that race is an easy exploitation device, one for which the Obama Administration has reached again and again.
So imagine the alarm bells that went off for me when I found this article on David Brock and Media Matters (via Dana Loesch on Twitter) at The Daily Caller (who, you may recall, broke the Journolist story):
Last spring, some at Media Matters headquarters and in other parts of the progressive world were caught off guard by an interview Brock gave to Ben Smith at Politico, in which he promised to wage “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” against Fox News. “It was insane,” says a coworker. “David was totally manic at the time. We were all shocked.” [Bolding mine]
Now this paragraph is 5 pages deep in an article that discusses the web of media contacts that Media Matters has cultivated and the methodologies they use when a reporter is resistant to working with them. It’s pretty damning stuff. There’s also a lot about founder David Brock’s mental and emotional status, which I think detracts from the overall article, but I suppose they hope it intensifies the negative portrait they are trying to paint. (Still, I recommend you click through to it. I think it’s going to be hot today.)
They don’t need it. What has happened to the left, how it has completely adopted wholesale the methodologies they once claimed they despised, and, more important, the policies they once claimed they despise, is self-evidently ugly and negative. What happens when there’s no one to tell the truth is that one must spend huge amounts of time reading between the lines looking for subtext, connecting dots, and trying to reverse-engineer strategy. Which will, in turn, get you accused of being conspiratorial (to come properly full circle with Sunstein).
But I’ve digressed. My point is that I’m now wondering if the comments on that FOX News article are an early indication the Obama administration’s online ground game with conservatives, and neutralizing FOX news this election year. And David Brock would have knowledge of such a campaign, which would certainly be sabotage, and may even bear some responsibility for perpetrating it via Media Matters vast web of members and contacts. I can’t know for sure, but I certainly smell something fishy.
Update: Hot Air is covering the DC storyand Ed Morrissey also notes the odd framing Tucker’s team put on it. It really serves to hide the most salient points of the exposé:
The actual story here might be the reverse of how Carlson et al frame it here. This sounds as though the White House uses Brock and Media Matters to conduct a proxy war against its perceived enemies in the news media and to push its propaganda out through the MSM. The DC’s descriptions of attacks on reporters and media outlets who don’t fall in line would make MMFA a very valuable pitbull for Jarrett and Obama, and one with some plausible deniability, at least until now. This should really be the screaming red flag in the article, rather than some of the salacious tidbits about Brock.