There’s been quite the kerfuffle of late over AOL/Huffington Post’s decision to permanently yank Andrew Breitbart from the cushy high exposure of its front page. Liberals voiced immediate discontent in HuffPo’s decision to include Breitbart as a contributor in the first place. Even after Color of Change, the online (un)civil rights organization founded by Van Jones and James Rucker, launched an online letter writing campaign in protest, HuffPo stood by its decision, citing its desire to broaden the site’s political viewpoints and encourage civil debate, something it says was accomplished in Breitbart’s first two pieces.
Strangely, it wasn’t anything Breitbart wrote in either of those first two posts that got him the heave-ho – it was comments he’d made in a phone interview to another site, The Daily Caller, for which HuffPo saw fit to admonish as an ad-hominem attack that violated its editorial policy.
I think we all fully recognize that HuffPo is its own entity, it can do as it pleases. As a libertarian minded individual, I embrace self-regulation. But there are instances where certain actions defy all logic, and in my view, this is one of them. The concept of an ex post facto “no ad hominem attacks” rule is not only ludicrous, it leaves the door wide open to show just how arbitrary and desperate this decision really was. We’ll all be pouring through HuffPo’s list of bloggers and pointing out instances where they’ve committed the atrocity of ad-hominem attacks on other websites, radio or television. In fact, my colleague Alex Marlow has thoroughly busted Van Jones for this violation already.
All this left me wondering what else is driving such arbitrary decision making over at HuffPo. Hearkening back to the anti-Glenn Beck campaign that Color of Change and its partner CREDO have been running, my attention was diverted to Color of Change’s other co-founder, James Rucker.
You’ll recall it was Rucker, also a HuffPo blogger, who gleefully declared victory last November when ABC News Dropped Andrew Breitbart from its planned election night coverage, after two days of unrelenting phone calls to key executives of ABC and parent company Disney, and a petition.
Again, self-regulation is a great thing – when it’s predicated on facts. Color of Change has been a leader in the practice of repeating false information over and over again, until it becomes truth. Of all of the arguments I’ve personally had with individuals who to this day insist that it’s a proven fact the Tea Party spit on and hurled the “N-word” at members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the majority have shown me a Color of Change email as undisputed proof. (The email of course dually served as a fund-raiser).
It goes without saying that when Andrew Breitbart dedicates his debut HuffPo piece to defending the Tea Party against this myth, Color of Change has a problem on its hands. Because for the first time, details of this defense are actually published before a largely liberal audience.
Breitbart’s Big sites have documented countless other examples of proof that repudiates the unjust accusations of racism leveled against the tea party in so many other instances. Just search for “tea party infiltrator,” “fraudulent racism,” or “fake tea party racism” to start. While these stories reach conservatives, they never make it to liberal readers, and organizations like Color of Change want to keep it that way. Any legitimate defense of the tea party that could possibly make it to the eyes of any liberal who might have a conscience and an interest in the truth is a threat to the organization’s thus far fruitful racial narrative.
Considering that Rucker, himself a HuffPo blogger, has used the AOL/Huffington Post as a platform to attack Andrew Breitbart and the Tea Party, I don’t think it’s entirely inappropriate to question his motives for wanting to silence Breibart.
While I’m sure Van Jones (who used to be listed on the Color of Change site until his ouster from the White House) still has his own axe to grind with Breitbart, James Rucker is the other co-founder and its current Executive Director. It’s James Rucker whose name remains listed on the Color of Change site.
James Rucker is co-founder of ColorOfChange.org and serves as its executive director. Prior to co-founding ColorOfChange, James served as Director of Grassroots Mobilization for MoveOn.org Political Action and MoveOn.org Civic Action and was instrumental in developing and executing on fundraising, technology, and campaign strategies. James has worked in various roles in the software industry in San Francisco and has provided coaching and technology consulting for other start-up ventures.
If his name seemed familiar to you for other reasons, you’re not alone. After his two years with Soros-funded MoveOn.org until 2005, Rucker co-founded in 2006 Video the Vote, and George Soros’ Secretary of State Project.
But Rucker’s influence is probably best felt by his role as a key member of the Democracy Alliance, and more specifically, New Media Ventures, a subset of Democracy Alliance that focuses specifically on funding progressive start-ups with seed money needs in the range of $50,000 to $100,000. Based on the Angel investment models of Silicon Valley, Rucker, himself a California software entrepreneur, and his cohorts select and fund projects that help advance the progressive movement, ensuring that smaller entrepreneurial ventures that “could be the next Act Blue or Huffington Post” aren’t left competing unfairly with the big dogs vying for Democracy Alliance level funding.
The next Huffington Post, huh? As the original Huffington Post moves into its next phase of life, I’m sensing Andrew Breitbart would certainly be a sharp thorn in the side to such a startup endeavor.
There’s another individual who shares Rucker’s background with the Secretary of State Project and Democracy Alliance, and that’s Michael Kieschnick, CEO and President of CREDO.
Yeah, that Michael Kieschnick. And yeah, THAT CREDO.
CREDO is a service of Working Assets, a “telecommunications company dedicated to progressive philanthropy and political activism.” Michael Kieschnick co-founded the company with a handful of other notable progressives, including Tides Center/Tides Foundation founder, Drummond Pike. In addition to mobile phone service, the for-profit company also offers a “progressive” credit card.
Color of Change partners with CREDO to deliver tele-campaign capabilities through the CREDO mobile phone service. Members are able to participate in numerous progressive campaigns in much the same way many of us donate to the Red Cross from our cell phones.
All one needs to do is take a quick gander over at the list of groups for which CREDO/Working Assets raises donations. A list that, for example, in 2010 included organizations like Planned Parenthood, Center for Responsible Lending, CODEPINK and Media Matters for America – organizations that have landed themselves on Breitbart’s Big sites on numerous occasions. Previous years’ donations are similar, and extend to a few additional favorites like Free Press, Democracy Now and, of course, Color of Change.
In fact, President Obama himself has been so pleased with Michael Kieschnick’s contribution to the progressive movement, he invited Kieschnick to the White House.
It’s funny, isn’t it? Andrew Breitbart has been exposing wrongdoings at some of these very organizations for which Color of Change and CREDO have been raising money together. I can’t imagine that could have anything to do with the repeated smears against Breitbart coming from their “progressive campaigns.”
I don’t want to wander off into too much more detail, so I’ll simply note a few other points in Kieschnick’s background, which includes being a board member of organizations such as the Tides-funded The Beatitudes Society, Sojourners, the American Environmental Safety Institute, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, and the Ballot Initiatives Strategy Center Foundation. He’s also been a member of Organizer’s Forum with Drummond Pike and Wade Rathke. I’m sure several of these will have some resonance with those of you who follow the “professional protest” racket.
And lastly, just in case you still weren’t sure how important the Tea Party and the manufactured racism around it has become to professional protesters like Color of Change and CREDO, take a look at this campaign against AT&T and Verizon (shocker, CREDO’s competitors): “CREDO would never give a dime to the Tea Party. When you join CREDO, you’ll join a movement dedicated to defeating right-wing radicalism.”
How convenient for Color of Change and CREDO that both James Rucker AND Michael Kieschnick are BOTH bloggers for the Huffington post. It’s great to have a progressive platform from which to attack not just your political opponents, but your competition, too. There’s permanent progressive infrastructure for ya!
But Andrew Breitbart’s political views have nothing to do with all that protesting to get him ousted from any media outlet that might give him an ounce of exposure – especially HuffPo, right? Right. That was just because of some little ex post facto no ad hominem attacks rule. Sure, that makes much more sense.
The dirty secret here is that Color of Change and Credo NEED the Tea Party narrative that they’ve been telling. There’s too much money tied to all that manufactured racism, and too many others depending upon it. Andrew Breitbart is the one person who threatens to expose the truth about their narrative. Rucker and Kieschnick aren’t going to allow their own blogging platform to be that vehicle for Breitbart’s truth. (And frankly, neither will Daddy Soros).