Thursday, December 24, 2015

Don't Fournier the Democratic primaries you guys

If Ron Fournier has proven anything, it's that you can build a lucrative career out of reflexively and indiscriminately declaring a pox on both sides of literally any political controversy. America is full of privileged crybabies who never experience anything worse than Twitter feuds - which means that there'll always be a place in our media for above-the-fray centrists to *tsk* *tsk* anyone who argues about literally anything. It's a hilariously easy way to pander to conflict-averse beneficiaries of the status quo.

So it was probably inevitable that a crop of professional opinion-havers would emerge to explain to everyone that while Clinton's various shills and PUMAs are Bad, Actually, their critics are Bad Too.

Everyone gets that false equivalence is dumb and that the centrist professional media uses it like Rusev leaning on a crutch, so instead of wading into that exposition again I'd just like to review the lay of the media land with a handful of fairly uncontroversial observations:
1. Clinton's Is The Only Campaign That Asserts A Right To Coordinate Online Communications With Third-Party Surrogates.
This is one of the biggest yet most under-covered stories of the election so far. In defiance of historical precedent, consensus understanding of FEC regulations, and progressive opinion, Clinton's campaign is openly asserting the right to coordinate its online communication efforts with parties unaffiliated with the campaign. This places a substantial component of Clinton 2016's messaging apparatus outside of all kinds of federal regulations and public disclosure requirements. For that reason we will probably never know the full extent of Clinton's shadow media campaign - but since they are defending it, we can at least be certain that it exists.
2. Clinton's Media Supporters Are Significantly More Prominent and Powerful Than Their Critics. 
Simple comparison: probably the most outspoken and well-known Sanders backer online is Matt Bruenig, who runs his own "low-traffic" blog and publishes most frequently on (US traffic rank: 53,671). By way of comparison, even one of the most "marginal bloggers" pushing Clinton's messaging - Amanda Marcotte - writes for Salon (US traffic rank: 407), maintains a consistent media presence across multiple major corporate platforms, has authored two books and has held a top position in a presidential campaign. Clinton's surrogates are generally staff writers, established columnists, and major media chiefs; Sanders finds most of his support among niche bloggers and in the occasional Jacobin article. There simply is no comparing their media presence. 
3. Bernie Sanders Faces A Major Media Coverage Deficit.
Clinton surrogates and Centrists may portray so-called Berniebros as some wide-ranging scourge of the media, but their presence has evidently done little to gain him significant attention: Sanders has only received one minute of media coverage for every eleven devoted to Clinton.
Bottom line: you are not somehow transcending political in-fighting, peering through the Matrix of campaign tribalism, or demonstrating any sense of moderation, proportion or principle by drawing some ridiculous equivalence between the Clinton media machine and its critics.

You're not even showing any particular independence or disinterest.

You're just being exactly what the Clinton campaign expects you to be: a feckless Centrist, reliably delegitimizing any political opposition to the powerful as Actually Bad Too. It is precisely because Sanders supporters are so inconsequential (as their professional critics and doofus antagonists like to gloat) that training one's fire on them is so pathetic and bizarre.