October 11, 2017
Media Matters and American Bridge are two progressive groups that you should know about and, I hope, support. I just returned from Washington, DC where I toured both organizations. Before I learned more about these two groups I did not know what, in fact, they were doing or how important their mission is. There are a number of new progressive political entities that have sprung up in the wake of Trump. Some of them represent a move farther to the left, to socialism a la Bernie Sanders, for example. Indivisible is one of these new groups that are helping to organize the resistance. They are exciting. But there are some organizations that we should not jettison even while embracing new resistance groups. Media Matters and American Bridge are two of those very important groups. We should not throw out this good baby with the bath water!
What are they doing?
They function as a vital research, investigative and active watchdog arm of the progressive movement. American Bridge’s efforts may well make the difference in whether Trump could be impeached, whether Democrats can regain seats in 2018 in the House and Senate, while Media Matters is focused on making sure Americans get the truth in an age of intentional misinformation. Media Matters employs many people who are experts in their fields and who spend their days monitoring various right-wing platforms of unreliable sources of information such as Breitbart, Alex Jones, activities on Facebook and YouTube, more traditional news feeds of the right wing such as Fox News, information sources for the alt-right, and even the dark web. They are learning about how social media was used and manipulated by Russian operatives. They are working to expose Bill O’Reilly, and more recently, Sean Hannity and others, to their sponsors with a goal of getting these spewing fire hoses of false information off the air. (Successfully, I might add.)
Share Blue, a sub-group that is housed within American Bridge, I believe, tells personal stories online that counteract the narratives of the right wing. For example, to counter the hysterical fear mongering narratives about LGBT people in the military, Share Blue produced and posted a video story of a real person who is LGBT and in the military. This person tells his or her story so that people can connect with a real human being which allays fears and helps people understand a group of people they may never have encountered in their lives personally and therefore needlessly fear based on misinformation from the right.
Each of these organizations, in their own way, is crucial in the effort to advance reliable and accurate information about what happened in the 2016 election. We need them so that we can understand how and to what extent Trump and his team were involved with the Russian disinformation campaign in 2016.
Why do we need especially Media Matters to continue its investigative efforts? Mueller’s team is focused on the criminal aspects of Trump and his campaign staff, but that team does not have the social media expertise that Media Matters has when it comes to understanding the Trump team’s conspiracy with the Russians. We know that because we know who Mueller has hired to be on his team, namely, crackerjack prosecutors who understand money laundering and RICO but they are not social media experts. I believe it is getting clearer that the Trump-Russia conspiracy was embedded in the relationship that Cambridge Analytica probably had with the Kremlin. Do you remember how excited Jared Kushner was about how he was working with this group, Cambridge Analytica, to micro-target voters? Well, that micro-targeting of voters in the key swing states to push Trump to victory and suppress Democrat voters who would have voted for Hillary looks to be one of the reasons for Trump’s unexpected win. Trump’s campaign very likely teamed up with the Kremlin and Wikileaks probably using Trump’s exhortations from the podium in plain view that he wanted a Wikileaks dump etc. These social media activities used in concert with other activities are likely to provide important and damning information for eventual treason and co-conspiracy charges if there is sufficient evidence. We need Media Matters to get to the bottom of this relationship and get to the truth so that our elected officials will have the evidence they need to make the case for treason, co-conspiracy and impeachment if it comes to that. Even if it is determined that a sitting president cannot be indicted (which is an open question according to some legal scholars) and even if the Republicans do not have the guts to impeach Trump, the facts, if we can get them out, will cause more Americans to turn against Republicans who continue to align themselves with Trump. Trump’s approval ratings are already in the tank but they will go even lower. Which empowers Democrats even if they are in the minority.
And for those of you who say Americans who voted for Trump will never change their minds about Trump, here is some valuable information you should know from American Bridge.
American Bridge did a focus group study with key swing state voters. They went back to the rust belt swing states that gave Trump his nth hour victory in the Midwest that brought him over the top with the electoral college. They found voters who had previously voted for Obama two times but then broke with the Democratic party and voted for Trump. They brought them into a room and asked them some interesting questions. First, did they know about the Russian meddling and Mueller? Most did, I believe. And then they posed this bombshell scenario – Mueller comes out with his findings and there is clear and convincing evidence of cooperation between the Trump campaign and Kushner, Trump Jr, Manafort, Flynn, and others. They are all involved and there is evidence that Trump knew and was supportive of the effort. What result would these voters want. Take a guess. Here is the answer – they ALL voted that he should be impeached.
Now here is the next bombshell scenario they posed which is even more telling. Mueller comes out with his findings and there is evidence of cooperation with Trump’s campaign, specifically Kushner, Trump Jr, Manafort, Flynn and others but there is NO direct evidence that Trump was aware or involved. What result would these voters want to see? What do you think? Here is the answer – they ALL voted to impeach Trump again. They did not believe he would not have known.
This information is heartening, at least to me it is. It may be that Trump’s 30-35% base will never leave his side, but the crucial swing state voters who took a chance on Trump will turn on him if there is good evidence of Russian collusion with the campaign. And the heart of that collusion (conspiracy) is likely to be found in the relationship with the Cambridge Analytica team and the Kremlin. That is what we need to have demystified and made public. American Bridge and Media Matters are working on that and getting closer to the answers we need. To the extent they are allowed by law to do so, they are also sharing what they learn with Adam Schiff and other congressional leaders and reporters. We need to support them!
American Bridge, in particular, also studies people who are running for the House and Senate. They have what are called “trackers”, videographers stationed across the country, who attend rallies and events of people running for congressional office. They film them as they address the crowd and catch them saying the darndest things. That footage becomes irrefutable evidence that even if they say they are in favor of women’s rights, for example, they may be spouting the opposite or saying outrageous or misogynistic comments to gin up their crowds.
Information is relayed to reporters or used by Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, the Daily Show or Rachel Maddow. (Yes, they are a valuable source of information and video content for those shows you love.)
These two groups are also tracking corruption and ethics violations of the Trump cabinet and other Republicans. They are working on a story that will soon air on the Today Show, for example, that exposes some of Trump’s recent corruption. Apparently, he used 2 million dollars of TAXPAYER money to buy furniture for the White House. There is so much corruption in this administration, that alone could keep these two groups busy for a long time. Fortunately, they are on it.
I hope I have convinced you that these two groups are vital for our country to get to the truth and counter false narratives from the right. I think many Americans are experiencing Trump fatigue or feel hopeless that our phone calls to congress are not revolutionary enough or not really affecting our elected officials in a meaningful way. I know I am experiencing some Trump fatigue myself. But this may be a solution for some – GIVE if you can to these two groups – Media Matters for America is a 501 (c)(3) (tax deductible.) American Bridge is a PAC. If you support these groups doing the crucial investigative work we need done, you can let yourself take a breather from Trump, turn off your TV to avoid listening to the Liar-in-Chief who spends most of his time “throwing a dead cat on the table” so that everyone will look at the dead cat and talk about the dead cat (change the subject, and keep us all in chaos mode) instead of talking about or working towards solutions to move our country forward.
No one asked me to plug these two groups, but we have a president and administration that is beyond disturbing. Maybe if you can give to these two groups you will be able to take your bike ride, work in your garden and go live your life in greater peace. You will have done your patriotic duty by supporting our pipeline to the truth.
The tug of war between establishment and upstart forces foreshadows a reorganization of the left that could reshape the Democratic Party’s ideology.