In a stunning interview with Breitbart.com, two top advisers to Mitt Romney revealed the campaign’s plan to largely ignore journalists in favor of right-wing conspiracy websites.
From the beginning of the campaign, Romney has pointedly avoided news outlets who might pose tough questions. The press dubbed it “the Mittness Protection Program.” As the campaign wore on, Romney has refused to answer direct questions about major policy issues central to the campaign. For example, Romney has still not stated whether he would undo Obama’s order ending deportations for many young undocumented immigrants.
Romney campaign spokesman Lenny Alcivar recently outlined how the campaign will avoid journalists and cooridnate and communicate their message through Brietbart.com and the Drudge Report:
When this election is over, one of the lessons that will be learned by the mainstream media is that they no longer have a toe-hold on how Americans receive their news. Never before – in a way that has taken Democrats off stride – have we seen the confluence of an aggressive online community, led by Breitbart, and an aggressive campaign team not willing to cede an inch of ground to Democrats. This combination has created a new political reality. We no longer allow the mainstream media to define the political realities in America. The rise of Breitbart, Drudge and others, combined with an aggressive Romney campaign is a powerful tool in the arsenal of the conservative movement.
…The governor will no longer allow the mainstream media to dictate the terms of this debate. This is just the beginning… We are witnessing the rise of the center right media.
The Drudge Report and Breitbart.com, founded by the late Andrew Breitbart, a Drudge protege, are actually far-right websites that reguarly traffic in paranoid and offensive conspiracy theories. A few examples:
1. The Drudge Report aggressively pushes the birther conspiracy theory. Drudge promoted Jerome Corsi’s book alleging Obama was not born in the United States. After Obama released his long form birth certificate, Drudge pushed the theory that it was a forgery. He recently featured a discredited story (first published on Brietbart.com) suggesting Obama was born in Kenya.
2. The Drudge Report pushed the theory that Chief Justice Robert upheld Obamacare because of “cognitive problems” due to epilepsy medication.
3. The Drudge Report reguarly links to and promotes 9/11 truther Alex Jones. Jones also promotes conspiracy theories regarding “global elites enacting one-world government; secret FEMA camps; weather control; mass sterilization; the Oklahoma City bombing; the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster; vaccines; and the government using products like juice boxes to ‘encourage homosexuality with chemicals so that people don’t have children.’” [Red State, 6/20/11; Media Matters, 10/11/10]
4. Breitbart.com pushed the conspiracy theory that the Navy Seal operation last spring was a hoax and Bin Laden might be alive. [ThinkProgress, 5/2/11]
5. Breitbart.com frequently accused “President Obama of failing to release a valid birth certificate.” [Media Matters, 9/29/09]
6. Bretbart.com “routinely compares Obama to Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Castro.” [Media Matters, 9/29/09]
It’s not just Romney’s advisors who are promoting sites like Drudge and Breitbart.com. In an interview with NewsMax, another far right site, Romney personally praised the Drudge Report.