Meet Jesse Lee. Don’t know him, you say? Just write something negative about President Obama, and you may hear from him.
According to Newsbusters’ Aubrey Vaughn, Lee is the new Director of Progressive Media and Online Response, a White House office established for the purpose of responding to any negative story about Obama found on the Internet.
Vaughn describes Lee’s position as “a political spin artist on the taxpayer’s dime.”
Media Bistro writes:
If you’re going to post something online about Obama that isn’t true, Lee is going to be the one to handle you. Considering that Lee’s first tweet about his new position included a picture of The Terminator, we suggest you watch what you say OR BE DESTROYED.
Okay that was a little dramatic, but you get the idea.
Dramatic, perhaps, but it fits neatly with the way President Obama has dealt with critics from the beginning of his administration, as Vaughn notes:
Attacking critics is nothing new for the administration, and the creation of this position is only the latest effort to throw the considerable weight of the White House bully pulpit behind efforts to attack Obama’s critics. For the president, this tactic began during the campaign and has continued to date.
Last September, President Obama told Rolling Stone magazine that Fox News was destructive to the nation:
The President said, “Look, as president, I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press. We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. I think Fox is part of that tradition – it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world.”
Obama’s problem with Fox is that it (gasp) allows a point of view he disagrees with
Normally, this type of work is done by political parties, but Lee’s position is being funded with American’s hard-earned tax dollars.
For the first time in recent history, taxpayers are funding a government-sanctioned propaganda machine similar to that used by foreign dictatorships. If this sounds like hyperbole, consider Obama’s recent treatment of the Boston Herald. Vaughn writes:
Coming on the heels of last week’s threats by the White House to revoke Boston Herald’s press access to administration events in Boston for not being favorable enough to the president, it seems Lee will continue the administration’s trend of silencing critics by acting as “the White House’s liaison to the progressive media and online community,” a tax-funded propaganda machine to retort any unfavorable online press.
It is not the kind of position one would normally expect in an American administration, but the Obama Administration has not operated like any other in American history.
According to an internal memo acquired by The Huffington Post, Lee is expected to deal favorably with “progressive media” outlets, while dealing harshly with conservative critics.
The position also comes with an official White House Twitter account for the purpose of responding to administration critics.
Among those whom Lee follows:
- Joan McCarter, Daily Kos Senior Policy Editor
- Susan Gardner, Executive Director, Daily Kos
- Raven Brooks, Editor of Netroots Nation
- John Amato, Creator of the liberal hate site Crooks and Liars
- Ian Millhiser, Center for American Progress and Think Progress
- Eric Hananoki, Media Matters Research Fellow
- Think Progress
- Sam Stein, Political Editor of Huffington Post
- Rachel Maddow, MSNBC
- Ezra Klein, Columnist for the Washington Post
Lee also follows a few conservatives, including Andrew Breitbart of Big Government and Erick Erickson of Red State.
It appears Lee’s new job will be an outgrowth of the campaign’s 2008 Fight the Smears website that worked to combat baseless attacks on then-candidate Obama, but also to silence his critics. Those efforts included campaigns against radio hosts who gave platforms to two high-profile Obama critics, the Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso and National Review’s Stanley Kurtz.
An article at Yahoo News notes:
In a preview of what his duties may be, Lee blasted Fox News commentator Glenn Beck in a White House blog post, accusing Beck of lying and engaging in a “partisan attack to boost ratings.”
One might wonder why the White House would make such a move given the blatant support by the so-called mainstream media.
The answer can be given in one word: control.
If one can control the message, one can mold the opinion of the masses. It is the same tactic that was used in countries like the former Soviet Union.
Obama did promise he would fundamentally transform America, but is this the transformation American voters wanted in 2008?
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