Thursday, March 14, 2013

Scott Prouty's "47%" video blackballed by Kossacks

So if you watched "The Ed Show" last night, you saw the bartender who recorded Mitt Romney's loose lips that sank his own ship. It was a Hall-of-Fame moment in populist political activism.

Prouty, a Midwest native, took his Canon camera to the fundraiser, thinking Romney might pose for photos with the event staff. Instead, he captured Romney speaking about "the 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."

The bartender said in a series of embargoed phone and in-person interviews with The Huffington Post that he decided to make the video public and posted clips online, hoping they would go viral.

There's more at this HuffPo link about Prouty, who is about as unlikely a progressive patriot as we are likely to get in the Social Media Golden Age. He could have made an enormous amount of money long ago (still might, hope he does), but he was motivated by things other than that after he left the Boca Raton fundraiser that mid-May, 2012 evening. The timeline of how the momentum was slow to build is here. But the most interesting thing to me is that the denizens of the alleged progressive community Daily Kos got Prouty blocked after just a few snips of his video were uploaded to the site.

"There was some pushback from people you wouldn't expect to push back," he told The Huffington Post. "To be banned from Daily Kos -- I had been a longtime reader. ... That was maybe the biggest surprise."

His profile is still accessible on Daily Kos, but individual items have been taken down.
The man said that other Daily Kos community members accused him of posting fake videos and didn't believe his protestations to the contrary. "They later apologized. Kos chastised the community," the man said.

Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas explained in an email to HuffPost that the filmmaker had "posted 6-second clips of audio, without offering any proof or further authentication. The Daily Kos community is hyper-sensitive to people trying to play them for fools, and his claims weren't borne out by the audio clips he was posting." (The clips can be found here.)

That is one big black eye for the Great Orange Satan. Some Kos diarists still seem to be insistent on killing the messenger in order to feel righteous about having stifled the message and thus protected the website's, ah, reputation.

I have a lot of appreciation for what DK does generally, but this episode highlights one of the worst things about online fora ('communities', they prefer): this incestuous tendency to refuse, even blackball, those who don't buy into the groupthink. It's why I have moved to reading them to see what's being disseminated and not what's being discussed -- same as with places like Democratic Underground, and even the comments underneath the stories there. I sill like to play in those sandboxes, but spend a lot less time there than I used to. It had the end result of simply being a massive waste of time and effort.

It's not just that those opportunities for self-expression can result in a reader losing faith in the human race (they can); it's that they are no longer populated by people with whom you want to have a conversation, civil or otherwise. There's some wheat there, but you have to wade through too much chaff to get to it. If you have more than 1000 people in your Twitter or Facebook feed, you know what I'm talking about: too many rants, too many comedians, too much bragging about what's being seen, done, and eaten; too many prayers and prayer solicitations... you get the idea. And culling the narcissists and publicity hounds is not enough. You have to defuse the urge in yourself to follow the herd in "building your brand".

So now I just concentrate on my little shop here and if people want to read what I write, fine. I'm well off the beaten path anyway and certainly not everybody's cup of tea. The problem, as Prouty has learned, is that even when you know you've got something newsworthy, it's difficult to get noticed.

"It was harder than you imagine to get the story out there," (Prouty) said.

Maybe this is a good thing for the left: some self-vetting. We have always been less likely to advance things like "Friends of Hamas", for example.

Anyway, the moral of the story remains 'be careful about what you read on the Internet'. Even here. ;^)

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