Sunday, May 27, 2012

Buzzfeed = Breitbart (Or: Cannon gets screwed!)

Earlier today, I confessed to my ladyfriend that I got screwed by a woman named Rosie Gray. Deeply ashamed, I promised that it would never happen again.

Rosie works for a hip new site called Buzzfeed which caters to a younger crowd. Politically, it has a rep -- unearned, methinks -- for skewing liberal-ish. Rosie works for Ben Smith, recently wooed away from Politico.

And who is Smith working for? This story posted by the St. Louis Activist Hub (a site previously unknown to me) uncovers a series of tweets that explain what Rosie was up to. The tweets prove that Ben Smith and Rosie Gray are working on behalf of a Breitbart-linked conservative blogger network.

To set the scene, let's note the obvious: The Republicans are starting to worry about their reputation for nuttiness. The birthers will never stop birthering. Two nominees for the GOP nomination have spoken in favor of seccession (at least theoretically). Rush Limbaugh screeched that Sandra Fluke was part of a conspiracy. Fox News has become the "All conspiracy all the time" network. Jon Huntsman has said that the party has become so extreme that even Ronald Reagan could no longer attain the nomination. Breitbart's sites brim with paranoia and vitriol. And then there's Glenn Beck, the King of Kooks.

The right knows that these wackos frighten middle-of-the-road Americans. But the GOP can't bridle the extremists; the beasts will accept neither tether nor cage.

Time for an attack based on that familiar "false equivalence" gambit. You know what I'm talking about: "Well, sure a few people have made a few extreme statements, but it happens on both sides. On the right, you have Glenn Beck. And on the left, you have..."

Well, who do we have?

It must have been pretty difficult for them to come up with any liberal-ish equivalent to Beck. This being the one-year anniversary of the Weiner scandal, they decided to target little old me.

Yeah. Me. A guy in an attic in Baltimore who runs a third tier (if that) blog. A guy who can't stand Obama (for reasons best explained in a recent Bill Maher riff). A guy who, if he does vote Dem this year, will do so with the faint taste of upchuck in the back of his throat. A guy who says all isms are prisons. A guy who disdains groups. A guy who defines himself politically with the phrase "I like Ike."

I want no allies and represent no constituency. My words -- whether wise or foolish -- are mine alone. That stance brings the only true freedom a writer can have.

You must be asking: "What proof is there that Cannon was targeted? And where's the proof that the right was manipulating Buzzfeed?"

The evidence comes in series of tweets to Ben Smith from a Breitbart-linked blogger called Ace of Spades. Ace's blog played a key role in the Anthony Weiner scandal. As the aforementioned St. Louis Activist notes...
However, what I want to focus on is not so much which side is wackier, but rather how BuzzFeed came to report this story.  As can be seen quite clearly, it directly followed a script provided to them by right-wing blogger Ace of Spades, who has a vested interest in the story, since he spent weeks bullying Gennette Cordova online and later claimed to have been threatened via anonymous email.  In other words, he's not just someone reporting on the story; he's someone in the story.

Ace started tweeting BuzzFeed about his great story idea several days ago:
The tweets speak for themselves. Please note the reference to "Drudge." Apparently, the possibility of getting a link from Magical Matt was enough to cajole Ben Smith into joining forces with the Breitbarters.

Now I'll reveal the part that the St Louis Activist could not have known.

Roughly 24 hours after that last tweet -- while Ben Smith was probably doing the bbq thing -- I got an inquiry from his employee, Rosie Gray.
I'm a reporter for BuzzFeed Politics. Not sure if you'll know anything about this, but someone tipped me off that there are people who still believe that Anthony Weiner was hacked. I know you were all over this story a year ago, but do you know anything about the continued existence of this belief?
I told her that, as far as I knew, the only person who held to that unfathomable belief was an odd fellow named Joseph Cannon. Of course, I stopped writing (or caring) about the matter ages ago. I went on to say...
Considering the sheer paranoid weirdness of the Glenn Beckified right these days, I'm not going to apologize, even if you do find my take on that matter eccentric.

I know something of the weirdos who remain obsessed with Weinergate and I don't want to get dragged into their madness.
I then went on to describe what I knew of the "twilight war" that arose out of Weinergate. As discussed in the previous post, there is a strange subculture (composed of both right- and left-wingers) who remain fixated on that event. Or rather: They are now fixated on battling each other, having left Weiner himself far, far behind. Although I've occasionally kept an eye on those twilight warriors (whose antics are well-described by the St. Louis Activist), my own interests have moved elsewhere.

So who was the "someone" who tipped off Rosie about me? Obviously, it was Ace of Spades.

Ah, they remember me on the right...!

I still think fondly of the army of sockpuppets they sicced on this blog during Weinergate. I especially liked the heartfelt messages that pretended to be from longtime fans, even though these "fans" had no clue as to what I had written in the past. Last year's scandal was a lot of work for no pay -- but it was great fun, nonetheless.

I still giggle when I think of the writer for the National Review Online who got on the highest of his high horses and excoriated me as a typical representative of those wild, wacky liberals. Folks, you simply haven't lived until you've been labeled an extremist by the son of Lucianne Goldberg.

(Jonah Goldberg thinks Mussolini invented liberalism. And Jonah is a regular talking head on teevee.)

Well, enough of the fond memories. Back to our story...

My answer to Rosie apparently did not supply her with sufficient red meat. Her job was to please Ace, and my words would not suffice.

So instead of attacking me (with one small exception), all of the right-wing blogs spent much of that day attacking a couple of strange, little-known individuals named Brett Kimberlin and Ron Brynaert. For some reason, these two fellows have become fixation points for the Weinergate obsessives. Kimberlin, a smooth-talking scoundrel, has no discernible link to the Weiner affair. Brynaert is (allegedly) writing a book about the scandal; alas, he seems to be under a lot of psychological stress and his actions have become quite bizarre.

The Breitbart brigade tried to present Kimberlin and Brynaert as liberal icons and the leaders of a left wing terror squad. So I wrote a post (which you can scroll down to read, if so inclined) which pointed out one simple fact: Most liberals never heard of those two. They're not leaders. They're unimportant. The former Weiner obsessives were now obsessing over a couple of "lefties" that nobody on the left cares about. (Sort of like the Saul Alinski propaganda meme.)

That, in brief, is what I wrote. Guess what happened next?

Rosie published a story called "Meet the Weiner Truthers."

("Weiner Trutherism" is Ace of Spade's neologism. Rosie picked it up like a good little typist.)

This story allegedly details how those wacky, wacky liberals remain determined to prove Weiner's innocence. Rosie quotes at length from my own post -- the one about Kimberlin and Brynaert.

Here's the problem. My story didn't talk about "the Weiner truthers." I never once focused on Anthony Weiner per se. In that post, I never addressed the question of whether he was hacked.

Instead, I talked about Kimberlin and Brynaert, a couple of Charlie Nobodies whom the Breitbarters have transformed into scarecrows to frighten the gullible.

Most of Rosie’s piece consists of yanked-out-of-context quotes from yours truly. She makes it seem as though I'm talking about an issue I never intended to address! The quotes are cleverly arranged to convey the impression that I'm either exposing or speaking on behalf of a group of liberal conspiracy buffs.

At first, I thought that Rosie had simply misunderstood. So I (twice) tried to post a comment to the Buzzfeed site offering a polite correction. They refused to publish my words.

That’s when I found out about the tweets which prove that Rosie was working for Ace of Spades -- that is to say, for the Breitbart network. Her initial letter to me was a set-up.

Now, I'm not here to talk about Weinergate per se. Maybe I will do so at another time -- when the "twilight warriors" have calmed down. (Similarly, I won't talk about 9/11 until the "controlled demolition" freaks have learned how to behave.) If you never liked what I had to say on that subject, fine.

As Don LaFontaine might have put it:

In a world where Fox Nation can accuse OSHA of being party to a communist plot (because the agency advised outdoor laborers to drink plenty of water!) ...

In a country where Glenn Beck earns $80 million a year selling ancient and long-exposed fascist lies about Woodrow Wilson (of all people)...

In a society where millions believe the president to be an atheist Muslim socialist (a contradiction in terms)...

In a blogosphere where conservatives continually declare that global warming is a socialist plot, that the Illuminati is real and that the apocalypse is nigh...

ONE BLOGGER who is not a conservative stands up for his right to say a few things that others might consider unpopular, eccentric and even outlandish! But he does so only occasionally. And in a polite tone of voice. Unless you piss him off.

The important aspect of this post has nothing to do with me, and nothing to do with Weinergate. All of that is a distraction.

Focus on the tweets.

What do they tell you about Buzzfeed? What do they tell you about Ben Smith?  Who is in charge of whom?

Think about it: Fox News and Rush Limbaugh speak only to the like-minded. To get a new propaganda meme out to a mixed audience, the rightwingers need to use an allegedly "liberal" site, preferably one that is popular with the kids. They need, in short, a front group.

Focus on those tweets. And don't trust anyone who works for Buzzfeed.


Anonymous said...

What the Rightwing wants more than anything else is to convince liberals that they are not in the business of infiltrating and blackmailing the left and disrupting the left from within. That's why the right hates conspiracies so much and talks shit about those investigating conspiracies.

There was a whole network of mindfuck artists that sprang up around 9/11. Most of them probably don't know who or what they are working for.

Do you think the Americans that greased the path of the 9/11 hijackers were mostly Democrats or Republicans? The sites and bloggers spreading the most bullshit and disinfo? Are they Republicans or Democrats?

What is one of Matt Drudge's more popular news subjects?

A. Bush Administration lies that led to war, pointless deaths of Americans and a busted treasury

B. Bush administration lies that led to Wall Street running off with billions of dollars leaving Americans holding the bag

C. Bush Administration ties to Pakistan and failure to get Bin Laden who was hiding in Pakistan

D. Scary black mobs that will kill you for fried chicken

raunchydog said...

You're in good company, Joseph. The rightwing ratfuckers have added Joan Walsh to their Weiner Truther list.

Anonymous said...

So the one year anniversary of perhaps the most embarrassing and humiliating resignation of a member of Congress was approaching. And an ideological opponent, Ace of Spades, decides he'd like to capitalize on it. So Ace of Spades goads Buzzfeed into covering the "Weiner truthers" story. That seems to be the gist of it.

But you use that to suggest it is evidence that Buzzfeed is in the tank for conservative bloggers generally. That is a bridge too far. No sale.

While I don't consider Buzzfeed mainstream journalism, it's closer to online tabloid journalism. Presumably to drive traffic to the site, they highlight stories that area edgier and have a titillating, offbeat tone to them, like, for example, kooks who continue to think that Weiner was hacked and framed.

I'm certain that Buzzfeed relies on various sources to generate ideas for stories. I doubt they care much if the ideas come from conservative bloggers or liberal ones. I suspect they only really care that the story has some degree of truth to it so that it can be verified. Then they want to run it if they believe it will drive traffic to the site.

All you've demonstrated is that Ace of Spades was successful at getting Buzzfeed to do the story. Big deal. I'm sure they run stories sourced by liberals almost every day. Again, big deal.

Joseph Cannon said...

"I'm certain that Buzzfeed relies on various sources to generate ideas for stories."

Isn't that adorable? He's spinning!

Gus said...

"So the one year anniversary of perhaps the most embarrassing and humiliating resignation of a member of Congress was approaching."

LOL! As if this doesn't show "anonymous" true colors all by itself. I'm not a Democrat, and even I would say this was hardly the most embarrassing and humiliating resignation of a member of congress. I suppose for Republicans though, soliciting sex in public bathrooms (homosexual sex, no less) is less embarrassing and humiliating than what Wiener did, eh?

prowlerzee said...

Let's not forget Mark Foley's resignation, wherein the only reason he wasn't criminally charged for inappropriate contact with 16 year old congressional pages was "insufficient evidence" because congress and Foley blocked access to his emails. Someone should check up on those boys to make sure they're still alive and safe, given the fate of those involved in Republican scandals, such as the DC Madam. The Adorable Troll, as we could nicknym this Anonymous, must also find hiring hookers to dress one up in diapers a perfectly respectable act for a Senator, as do Vitter's constituents, since David Diapers is still in office.

I should note, as Joseph has pointed out fairly recently, maybe some of these dolts think these are "Dem" scandals since Fox News labeled Foley a Dem when he was forced to resign.

Anonymous said...

Just say you beeleeb in Jeebus and ask forgiveness and Republicans will conveniently forget you like to dress up in diapers and get your ass prodded by hookers. In fact, you can murder millions of foreigners in phoney "Wars on Terror", ask for gay sex in dirty bathrooms, redirect billions in tax payer money to your cronies, send HOMO-SEX-Y'ALL love letters to your underage boy paiges... but just remember to pray to GOUAAAAWD for forgiveness after you do it....YOU CUN DO ANY GOWDDDAMN THANG YA PAHLAISE... JUST DON'T BE A LEEYA-BRAL

b said...

But Joseph, the apocalypse is nigh! :)

Anonymous Email said...

I am curious where did the anonymous email come from? I mean, like did it come from an anonymous email site like or did it come from a fake gmail or yahoo account. Bcuz it can be likely traced if it came from yahoo or gmail.