The Establishment Is Incapable Of Winning The Media War
David Brock’s failure with his “Breitbart of the left” is a perfect illustration of why the establishment cannot win this thing.
David Brock, to put it kindly, is not a winner.
After spending the first half of his career as a prominent right-wing propagandist, Brock switched to what he thought was a winning team in the Democrats, only to watch them fall far short of the mark in every branch of federal and state government. Through his super PAC Correct the Record (like all Berners I spit on the ground every time I type these words), Brock set about trying to create an artificial imitation of the online grassroots support system that fueled the Sanders and Trump movements, poisoning online discourse by making it impossible for anyone to tell if they were talking to an actual Clinton supporter or a paid shill deceitfully posing as one. The astroturfed intellectual guilt campaigns which had worked so effectively on lefties failed spectacularly when turned on Trump’s fiery, emotion-driven supporters, and Clinton’s campaign imploded under the crushing weight of alternative and social media circulation of ideas and WikiLeaks documents by people who couldn’t be sucked into Brock’s lies.
And now, while the rubble and wreckage of his failed national psy-op is still smoldering, we learn that Brock’s latest laboratory experiment in imitating real human behavior is failing as well. The incoming CEO of Brock’s True Blue Media project, which Brock has been enthusiastically touting as the future “Breitbart of the left” (barf), has backed out.
“As you know, I was thrilled to initially accept the proposal to work with True Blue Media because I believe in nonpartisan accountability journalism,” wrote investigative reporter David Sirota in an emailed statement Tuesday. “However, the circumstances of the job subsequently changed. True Blue Media does not right now have in hand the resources for the kind of independent, nonpartisan journalism I want to continue to do and that is needed to execute on the ambitious editorial strategy that we agreed on. Therefore, I have decided to turn down the job. I wish David Brock all the best.”
It’s unclear what schizoid demon had possessed Bernie Sanders’ former spokesman Sirota to believe that David “Breitbart of the left” Brock had had any interest in creating anything remotely resembling “independent, nonpartisan journalism,” but it’s good to see that his strange pipe dream has been shattered. And it’s even better to see that Brock is having trouble acquiring resources. As Heatstreet’s Emily Zanotti observes, “It seems, based on Sirota’s departure, that Democratic donors might have finally gotten the message.”
The message, of course, being that David Brock’s brand of ham-fisted astroturfing will poison anything it touches. Progressives want real human beings, not a corporatist agenda wearing a fake nose and glasses pretending to be a human being.
No, David Brock is not a winner. But he’s also the best they’ve got. There’s a reason Brock was hired by the Clinton campaign despite having spent the first part of his career attacking the Clintons; he’s the very sharpest tool in the establishment’s tool shed. And even he is far too blunt for the job. He simply cannot compete with the energy, adaptability, speed and hunger of the anti-globalist grassroots movements on both the left and the right which oppose everything Brock stands for.
What the corrupt systems which control our world are rapidly realizing is that you simply cannot artificially imitate a grassroots movement. When your candidates have their words being audited by entire teams of campaign strategists before making a single tweet, there’s no competing with thousands of minds all around the world pouring inspired creativity into a memetic war against the rigid, blocky ideas you’re trying to circulate.
Look at the fuss these idiots are making over Sanders’ email list, for another example. Mother Jones reports on how all the DNC insiders are desperately trying to get their grubby little mitts on the donor list the Sanders campaign utilized so effectively in recruiting record numbers of grassroots small donors, erroneously thinking, in their machinelike attempts to emulate the dance of collective human inspiration, that if they can just get their hands on the list they’ll be able to do what Bernie did.
“Former Sanders staffers and consultants scoff at the demand for the list,” writes MJ’s Tim Murphy. “The way they see it, clamoring for access misses the point. The list wasn't the campaign's secret weapon; Sanders was.”
"They keep thinking it's the list," says Becky Bond, a senior Sanders adviser. "It's so crazy. It's like someone who buys a $12,000 bicycle and thinks they can win the Tour de France.”
Establishment-endorsed DNC Chair candidate Tom Perez has said that one of his priorities should he become Chairman would be “to learn from Senator Sanders about how he did it,” but no real human beings with normal human impulses are confused about how Bernie “did it.” He did it by being himself. By telling the truth, by rejecting malignant funding, by attacking corporatism and proposing a sane policy as opposed to an insane one. Nobody who’s in touch with their own human authenticity is the slightest bit confused about that. Sanders isn’t sexy or charming and he has no gift for manipulating people; he’s just real. He didn’t do anything beyond that; the rest of the doing was done by the people who shared the natural human impulse to elevate something real above the fake and the deceitful.
The old power structures cannot compete with this. Trust in the legacy media is at an all-time low, and it will only get lower unless they completely stop running the propaganda they’ve been designed to run. People are rapidly expanding their ability to circulate ideas and information amongst each other without the aid or permission of the oligarchic mouthpieces, and this capacity will only grow and accelerate. Our species is quickly building up an immunity to elitist mind viruses designed in back room think tanks to control the thoughts we think in our heads about what the ruling elites have been doing to us and our planet all these years.
This is far and away the most exciting time to be alive in the history of humanity. We’re headed as a species into an existence where our fate is determined not by whoever has the most money or the biggest guns, but by who has the most magnetic and inspired ideas within the ever-changing human zeitgeist. The new wars won’t be fought with bullets and bombs, but with memes and catchy headlines. The David Brocks of the world are still under the illusion that they’ll be able to preserve their cushy status quo in that sort of environment, but they can’t and they won’t, because they represent terrible ideas from a terrible worldview.
The old indoctrinations are rapidly falling away. The people in charge have lost control of the societal narrative, and the influence of their lullabies and hypnotic placations are quickly wearing off. The political right is currently leading the race in the newly emerging battlefield of ideas, but once we’ve shaken off the inertia and ignorance of the Democratic establishment the political left will be free to surge forth and meet them head-on in an exciting war of ideas. Be prepared, and keep fighting.