Something you cannot help but notice, if you spend time scanning the political sites, is the growth of sponsored content. Breitbart will often have stories labeled “Sponsored Content” at the top, but otherwise they look like the rest of their stuff. This is content they are paid to post on their site. In the case of political sites, this content is generated by an industry group or lobbyists, who then pay the site for the opportunity to post the content, much like an advertiser. Hence the name “sponsored content.”
There is also something called “white box” content in the trade, which means it comes without attribution. Someone or some group with an agenda will produce a story and either give it to a site or pay them to take it. Part of the deal is the site gets to claim it as its own work. They will format it to their style and put the name of a writer they claim as their own the byline. The anti-BDS people use this to place stories unfavorable to the BDS movement into so-called conservative publications.
This is dishonest, at the very minimum, but it is a common enough practice that no one seems to care about it. Just how much content on these political sites is produced by concerned interests in Washington is hard to know. The stuff labeled as sponsored content is easy to spot, but the white box stuff is a mystery. Some of this white box content is quietly provided directly to friendly freelance writers, so even the site publishers do not know the real author of these pieces.
For example, how much of Cathy Young’s work is truly her own? Her content is clearly from a very specific perspective. It coincidentally matches perfectly with people like Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, Bret Stephens and other neocons. Oddly, these people push an agenda the Left violently opposed not so long ago, yet all of these people now work for far left scandal sheets like the Washington Post. In the case of Young, she turns up in so-called conservative sites and far Left sites. What versatility!
There’s another aspect to the political writing game. This is the part tangled up in the Washington hackarama. This is where political consultants, connected individuals and members of the permanent political class use the political sites as a form of advertising for their services. They produce content for the sites and either give it away or in some cases pay for access on the sly. Instead of representing some anonymous interests, the point is to get their name in circulation.
An example of this is a recent article in National Review. It is a post suggesting Huey Long deserved to be murdered because he was a populist and everyone knows populists are the worst people. The writer is listed as Ellen Carmichael, “the president of The Lafayette Company, a political-communications firm.” A few minutes searching around and you will learn that she started in local Louisiana politics right out of diapers and has now moved to Washington as a consultant.
One way to get her name out to potential clients is to post stories suggesting things about her partisanship, her ideas and so forth in the sorts of sites read by people in the political business. At this point, National Review has no audience outside of Republican politics. It is pretty much a trade magazine now. They are happy to take this sort of content, as it is cheap and it fits in with their model, which is to wield as little influence over American politics as possible, while remaining in business.
Now, this is just one example, but multiply this, the sponsored content and the white box content over hundreds of times a month. It is not unreasonable to think that a large portion of what shows up on political sites is created by the hackarama. A lot of the cable news content is produced this ways, as well. For example, all of the Middle East content on mainstream sites is probably the work of The Lobby. Whether through friendly writers or directly through their own staff, it’s all agit-prop now.
From the dissident perspective, this is a useful starting point when discussing politics with normal people. Most readers of normie conservative sites are unaware of the fact lots of the content is really just product placement. The fans of Ben Shapiro don’t know he is pretty much just an actor, hired to promote certain positions. Instead of harping on the latter, the way to awaken normie is to talk about the former. Your Boomer uncle may love Israel, but he really hates being lied to, so go with that.
This may seem like another good reason to burn Washington to the ground, put the inhabitants to the sword and salt the earth afterwards, but that is a foregone conclusion at this late stage. It is another example of how the political system is corrupt beyond any reasonable hope of reform. Washington is a closed system ruled by a uniparty of permanent residents. It’s the Borg. When parts die off or are expelled as waste, new people are absorbed and assimilated into the system.
This reality of Washington is important to understand when examining the Trump administration. He came to town promising to reform Washington, but the Imperial Capital is beyond reform. It operates like a unitary organism now. Any attempt at reform will unleash antibodies to isolate and kill the foreign object. Those antibodies show up in the media. Washington now exists solely to perpetuate itself. To reform it is to kill it, which is no longer reform, but another word that begins with the letter R.
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