With “#47Traitors,” the netroots find their groove

CNN Center: Capital of obsolete old media?

CNN Center: Capital of obsolete old media?

Last Wednesday, Susie Madrak posted a thought-provoking piece at Crooks and Liars titled: “Dear Media: You Are Not The Gatekeepers Anymore.” Madrak wrote about how the mainstream corporate media, including newspapers and television news, lost all credibility cheerleading and broadcasting Bush administration lies to lead us into the Iraq War, and have their own elitist agenda which includes pathologically attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton, ignoring “the corrosive influence of the Koch network,” and even, in some cases, working hand in hand with the CIA. According to Madrak:

The media is [sic] doing a slow burn, not even over Hillary Clinton specifically, but over our refusal to accept theirs as the only legitimate opinion.

The good news is, our increasing refusal to accept the mainstream corporate media’s elitist group think coincides with a successful streak for the netroots, i.e., grassroots political activists who primarily use the Internet for their activities. In particular, netroots members are using social media, blogs, podcasts and other alternative means increasingly to circumvent the Beltway Blowhards. For example, just last month, Brian Williams at NBC News was taken down by social media users for his Iraq War coverage lies. Shortly thereafter, Bill O’Reilly at Fox News got the netroots treatment, with social media users circulating disclosure after disclosure about O’Reilly’s lies and exaggerations. Likewise, the recent Federal Communications Commission switch to a vote for real Net Neutrality is the result of pressure from millions of Americans, many from the netroots, who filed comments and petitions to the FCC, even at times when mainstream corporate media coverage of Net Neutrality was scant.

The latest example of the increasing power of the netroots is the “#47Traitors” Twitter hashtag that exploded after 47 Republican U.S. Senators sent that unprecedented letter telling the leaders of Iran that an agreement currently being negotiated between the U.S. and Iran over Iran’s nuclear weapons development could be revoked or modified “at any time” in the future by another U.S. President or the Congress. While the Republican Iran letter seems closer to a violation of the Logan Act than outright treason, the “#47Traitors” label (and its offshoot, “#GOPWantsWar“) nevertheless is a brilliant shorthand message for the damage these Republican Senators have done to the United States and the office of the Presidency. Likewise, many of the same netroots members who have used these hashtags also signed onto a “We the People” petition to the White House asking that the Republicans who signed the Iran letter be prosecuted under the Logan Act.

All of these efforts have garnered big results. On Friday, Zach Green, founder of UniteBlue, tweeted:

: over 350,000 Tweets. : over 100,000 Tweets. WH petition: over 275,000 signatories. Smart letter, GOP. Well played..

Those numbers continue to rise this week (the White House petition has over 295,000 signatures as of this posting), and could conceivably climb to the one million mark. That’s getting close to the (declining) audience of the cable news networks, where only Fox gets over one million viewers a day during prime time.

And then, when such netroots efforts become successful, a funny thing happens: the corporate mainstream media sometimes are forced to acknowledge them.

Photo by tanjila ahmed, used under Creative Commons license. http://is.gd/NrzKR0

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