In an interview with Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at her Alaska home, Wacko Birds author and Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak said Hillary Clinton will try to be 2016’s “Snapchat candidate” because she desperately wants to erase her past.
Palin, who revolutionized the way in which social media sets the news cycle, invited Pollak–who worked with the late Andrew Breitbart, the new media pioneer who started one of the most prominent news outlets in the new media era–for a discussion about his new book. And the two surely discussed the importance of pop culture and non-legacy outlets in conservatism’s future, among many other topics.
Pollak, the author of Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, mentioned that Barack Obama “emerged simultaneously with Facebook” in 2004 and candidate Obama in 2008 “was whatever Facebook users wanted him to be.”
“People could fill that blank space,” Pollak said of Obama’s crowdsourced campaign that employed some prominent former Facebook officials and ran circles around Hillary Clinton’s stodgier and more flat-footed apparatus.
Pollak said that younger people are using Snapchat to communicate because their messages expire soon after they are sent. Even potential 2016 candidates like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have adopted the new social platform, which Pollak noted was recently valued at $10 billion and appealing to younger people who want to send “naughty pictures that disappear.”
“Hillary Clinton Wants to be the Snapchat candidate because she wants to make her past disappear,” Pollak told Palin.
Palin observed that the Clintons have the “luxury of reinventing themselves as much as they want” because they have a compliant media that is more than willing and able to help them. That is a luxury, as Palin discovered, conservatives–and outsiders of all stripes in general–do not have.
After observing that today’s kids probably think Facebook and Instagram are passé, Palin, whose personal emails were once infamously hacked (the hacker eventually received a one-year jail sentence.), asked Pollak, “And do [Snapchat users] think it really disappears forever.” Palin’s right–the “snaps” don’t really completely disappear.
Palin and Pollak discussed how even regarding the most recent events involving Hillary Clinton, the media conveniently want to shove her failures–like Benghazi–under the rug. And they often ignore that Clinton was Obama’s Secretary of State whenever she jabs Obama’s foreign policy failures.
“Everyone forgets that she was in charge of that foreign policy for four years,” Palin said. “That was your territory. That was your department.”
Pollak told Palin he believed that “people want to forget because they want the fantasy of whatever it is she represents.”
But because of Matt Drudge, the late Breitbart, and the rise of social media that has amplified the voices of conservatives like Palin even more, it will be more difficult to whitewash Clintons’s record should she enter the 2016 presidential race.
Three years before Matt Drudge changed the news business forever by breaking Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky on his website, the Clinton White House feared that the Internet would weaken the mainstream media’s palace guards.
“Moreover, it allows an extraordinary amount of unregulated data and information to be located in one area and available to all,” a 1995 Clinton White House memo stated. “The right wing has seized upon the Internet as a means of communicating its ideas to people. Moreover, evidence exists that Republican staffers surf the Internet, interacting with extremists in order to exchange ideas and information.”
Palin, whom I dubbed the “Great CommuniTweeter,” praised Drudge in a 2012 speech, saying the naysayers who denounced the man “without a degree or a pedigree” for trying to “influence the national discourse” because they knew he “wasn’t beholden to the old media’s machine and the Thought Police.”
Drudge told the National Press Club a few months after breaking the Lewinsky bombshell that he envisioned a future “where there’ll be 300 million reporters, where anyone from anywhere can report for any reason. It’s freedom of participation absolutely realized.”
Palin told new media devotees that “you are the future he predicted!”
Drudge has now become the de facto assignment editor for the mainstream media reporters and editors who once lambasted his website. Similarly, political operatives, mainstream media writers, and everyone else in the permanent political class who mocked Palin for bypassing them and Tweeting to get her message out in 2009 now obsessively use Twitter, often compulsively checking in the first thing in the morning and right before they go to sleep.
As Pollak details in his book, since Obama was elected, the mainstream media have given favorable treatment to Occupy Wall Street while denouncing the more peaceful Tea Party movement. They combed through Palin’s records–and found nothing–while ignoring Obama’s past and his administration’s scandals–like the IRS’s targeting of conservatives. The media tried to amplify stories about anti-illegal immigration rallies that drew few supporters while fabricating the number of supporters at pro-amnesty rallies to make them seem larger and more powerful than they were. The media blamed Palin and the Tea Party for Gabby Giffords’ assassination attempt before they had any evidence about the shooter’s politics or motives. It turns out the shooter was apolitical and may have been offended that Giffords was cold to him at a previous event. That same media also blamed the Aurora, Colorado shootings on the Tea Party without any evidence whatsoever.
But new media outlets were also able to expose and combat these lies more ferociously than ever before. The late Andrew Breitbart, who worked with Drudge for many years behind the scenes, deftly used Twitter to maximize its “force multiplier” effect. And Pollak’s book details “the important role played by Andrew Breitbart and conservative new media in defending the Tea Party at several critical moments” in the Obama era.
But, as Pollak goes into depth in his book, Tea Party conservatives still face challenges even as they make plenty of advances in the new media era. If Hillary Clinton runs in 2016, the media will redouble their efforts to again elect one of their own. And much like Team Hillary will have to learn from Obama’s successes and failures, Tea Party conservatives must learn from their triumphs and mistakes in the Obama era that Pollak details in his book to combat the Hillary industrial complex.
“I think that’s going to be very tough to overcome unless conservatives can start to play in the pop culture,” Pollak said in an interview with Palin that was filmed before the debut of CBS’s Sunday debut of Madam Secretary, a show about a female Secretary of State that could just as well be a campaign ad for Hillary Clinton’s potential presidential campaign.