The media continue to lap at the crotch of Unity08. Take the latest Beltway wisdom of Ben Goddard:
The brainchild of longtime Republican consultant Doug Bailey, Hamilton Jordan â€” who guided Jimmy Carter to the White House â€” and Gerald Rafshoon, Carterâ€™s media adviser and pioneer television producer, was appropriately conceived in a Washington, D.C. restaurant in October 2005. Since then the group has brought fundraiser Roger Craver on board and quietly recruited thousands of supporters ranging from college-age activists to graying political professionals intrigued by radically shaking up American politics.
Bailey and Craver, in particular, have been playing Internet politics since long before Howard Dean mainstreamed digital fundraising. They created The Hotline back when the only means of daily distribution was a fax machine and shepherded it into the Internet age before selling it to Atlantic Media. In 1999, a generation ago in the digital age, they launched the Freedom Channel, offering online clips of candidates speaking to issues and the following year held a Web-based presidential vote that attracted 1.3 million high school students.
Blah, blah, blah, second coming of Jesus, blah, blah, blah, changing the face of politics, blah, blah, blah. You’ve read this before, in ten other fluff pieces, haven’t you? That’s because Goddard’s copy follows almost to a tee the public relations text scripted by Unity08 itself, which isn’t surprising, because that’s how Unity08 has succeeded: by being well-connected socially to all the movers and shakers in Washington, DC who can decide what makes for a nice story and what deserves to be written about in the newspapers and magazines.
It isn’t nice to mention about a colleague of Goddard’s like Doug Bailey that the most recent IRS report posted actually shows donations going back to 2002, not October 2005. It isn’t polite for Goddard to say that Unity08’s college effort is more populated by porn spambots than it is by real people. No, that would not be polite to do to an associate. It would be uncouth, rude, tacky. If Goddard would have bothered to actually look into the movement instead of offering up a plate of pasteurized process P.R. food, he would have noticed these things. But he didn’t. He just sent the press releases onward to our eyes under his byline, helping to create hype for a dysfunctional, insider-based, big-money-wanna-be-raising political operation. And then Goddard chipped in a thousand dollars in donations for Unity08 as another favor. Oh, he didn’t mention that, did he? Well, see, he’s just another one of those little people, those average everyday DC insider beltway operator little people, those media-savvy elitist salt of the earth types who show how downright “grassroots” Unity08 really is.
But I do have something to thank Goddard for. He pointed out that Douglas L. Bailey sold his operation the Hotline to Atlantic Media. Atlantic Media now operates both the Hotline and The Atlantic Monthly. The Atlantic Monthly just published an embarrassingly fawning puff piece on Unity08 written by the magazine’s senior editor. And Unity08.com features the Atlantic Monthly article on its front page as an indication of the broad support its “movement” is getting. Oh, and golly gee, but Unity08 has a very special page on which visitors can forward the Atlantic Monthy puff piece on to five of their friends! You need permission from the publisher to do something like that, don’t you?
Oh, it’s a very, very slick insider operation indeed. As for you and I? Well, we’re the the little consumer people. Our job is to eat it all up, clap, and ask for more. Clap, clap, clap.