Read Obama Zombies: How the Obama Machine Brainwashed My Generation Online

Authors: Jason Mattera

Tags: #Current Events, #Literature: Classics, #Performing Arts, #Literary Collections, #Democracy, #Political Process, #Political Ideologies - Democracy, #Elections, #Communication in politics, #United States, #Political Ideologies, #Conservatism, #Political Science, #Youth, #Politics, #Essays, #General, #Political Process - Elections, #Political activity, #Fiction

Obama Zombies: How the Obama Machine Brainwashed My Generation (6 page)

BOOK: Obama Zombies: How the Obama Machine Brainwashed My Generation
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Google and Apple are overflowing moneymakers. In 2008, Google generated $4.2 billion in net profits, while Apple posted a net quarterly profit of $1.14 billion at the end of the same year. Can someone say "capitalist cows"? And the big winner is, of course, liberals.

Bottom line: Google and Apple are liberal media titans. Ironically, both Apple and Google make good products, and unlike liberal policies, they actually create jobs. But they are liberals nonetheless
and have aligned with a liberal president. Liberals before business, I guess. They are part of the Obama-biased media, the sleek, beta-male crowd that could never land girls in college but now have enough money to pay for all the high-priced journalist prostitutes they want.

YOUNG PEOPLE ARE
consumers of information. They're not always up to speed on the activist nature of the media--old or new. They have better things to worry about, such as school and family. Unfortunately, that means they have a big red zombie target on their foreheads. During the 2008 election,
World News Tonight
anchor Charlie Gibson asked his colleague George Stephanopoulos, "How do you run against hope?"
53
With a compliant, fawning, and sycophantic press corps. That's how, Charlie.

2
Will You Be My (Facebook) Friend?

Digital Tactics for Luring and Creating Obama Zombies

Barack's much-popularized "Yes, we can" speech after the New Hampshire primary enshrined those three words in every good Zombie's dictionary. Yes, we can heal our nation! Yes, we can seize our future! Yes, we can prevail over cynicism and fear. Yes, we can unite . . . like Japan did after Hiroshima!

Huh? Remember that
Sesame Street
skit "One of these things is not like the other"? Spot the culprit? Good. That means you're already three brain waves ahead of will.i.am, the cofounder of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas. It was that genius who compared B.H.O.'s speech to the reconstruction of Japan after World War II. See for yourself: "Let's all come together like America is supposed to . . . like Japan did after Hiroshima . . . that was less than 65 years ago
. . . and look at Japan now . . . they did it together . . . they did it . . . We can't? Are you serious? We can!!! Yes we can . . . A United 'America' Democrats, Republicans and Independents together . . . We can do it 'Together.' "
1

Here on planet earth, Japan didn't exactly "come together." After the United States military dropped an atomic bomb and following Japan's surrender, we ordered the Japanese rebuilding effort and wrote their constitution. Japan may have "come together," but it was through the will of the American military, not from happy talk and incense-burning hippies.

will.i.am may want to stick to singing "boom, boom, pow" and leave the analogies to folks who capitalize the first letter of their names. That aside, will.i.am was so moved by Barack's words that he and his tortured analogy produced a musical ren- dition to the "Yes, we can" speech. That production turned out to be the mother of all campaign videos in 2008, garnering more than 19 million views on YouTube. To put that in perspective, for all of John McCain's 330 videos, he only had 25 million views on YouTube.
2
One video by will.i.am nearly matched all views of the Arizona senator's videos combined, a feat attainable when you're able to assemble the likes of John Legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Scarlett Johansson to star in your production.

will.i.am's Zombie credentials are unquestionable. "When you are truly inspired . . . magic happens . . . incredible things happen . . . love happens . . . (and with that combination) 'love, and inspiration' change happens . . . 'change for the better.' . . . Inspiration breeds change . . . 'Positive change.' "
3

Still, his online video is emblematic of how the Internet has shaped and influenced how we elect presidents. In short, Obama
became the YouTube president and has set the standard of how elections in the future will utilize the power of the In- ternet.

* * *

THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL
campaign was the first presidential race to pack the full punch of online mass media, and Obama, to his credit, took full advantage of it. B.H.O.'s team was way ahead of the curve when it came to harnessing the power of the Internet. It paid off. Obama's digital domination of John McCain was staggering and helped create the impression of an online army marching to victory. The numbers speak for themselves:
4

  • Facebook friends on Election Day: Obama, 2,397,253; McCain, 622,860
  • Unique visitors to the campaign website for the week ending November 1: Obama, 4,851,069; McCain, 1,464,544
  • Number of online videos mentioning the candidate uploaded across two hundred platforms: Obama, 104,454; McCain, 64,092
  • Number of views of those videos: Obama, 889 million; McCain, 554 million
  • Number of campaign-made videos posted to YouTube: Obama, 1,822; McCain, 330
  • Total amount of time people spent watching each campaign's videos, right before the election: Obama, 14.6 million hours; McCain, 488,000 hours
  • Number of Twitter followers: Obama, 125,639; McCain, 5,319
  • Number of references to the campaign's voter contact operation on Google: Obama, 479,000; McCain, 325

The data are truly jaw-dropping. Old man McCain got destroyed in the online medium. As Internet gurus Andrew Rasiej and Micah L. Sifry stated, "When the history books are written, McCain's failure to invest similar resources in developing the widest possible online network will go down as a strategic error of the highest order."

And while the numbers above represent mostly official campaign statistics, there were hundreds of other videos posted to YouTube, or groups started on Facebook that pimped the celebrity candidate. will.i.am was one of the videos. The slutty Obama Girl was another.

You've probably seen Amber Lee Ettinger's melons and big booty plastered in your face. Actually, you and 16 million other Americans have. You know Amber as "Obama Girl." She dropped her half-naked self onto the scene in the summer of 2007, before the primaries kicked off, expressing her "crush on Obama." Instantly, a star was born.

The fact that Amber quickly became a hit--her 16 million-plus views on YouTube is more than double any one of Obama's videos--is hardly surprising. Sex sells. Well, let me clarify that: sex sells when you look like Amber Lee Ettinger, not when you look like Joy Behar.

Obama Girl morphed into stardom by lip-syncing a gushy song about the then-Illinois senator while prancing her "enhanced" body around for a site called Barely Political. In the famous "I got a crush on Obama" song, Amber advocates "universal health-care reform" and even has this ditty: "you tell the truth unlike the Right; you can love, but you can fight; you can Barack me tonight."
5

OTHER ONLINE INFLUENCES
included the allegedly nonpartisan "Declare Yourself" campaign, sponsored by--surprise, surprise--Norman Lear, a left-wing celebrity. Declare Yourself is anything but nonpartisan, but produced widely viewed and effective viral videos nonetheless. In two YouTube videos called "Hollywood Declares Themselves," a ragtag team of known actors satirically try to get young people to register to vote by telling them that they shouldn't vote. It is a star-studded cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Cruise, Tobey Maguire, Shia LaBoeuf, Sarah Silverman, Will Smith, Harrison Ford, Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake, and even Borat!

Basically, Declare Yourself used Hollywood celebrities to get young people to vote and to the polls on Election Day. Lear maintains that his group is nonpartisan, despite his own liberal views.

Just how nonpartisan, you ask? Well, Declare Yourself's Jamie Foxx says, don't vote. "Who cares about global warming" and "the fact that our polar ice caps are melting," chimes in DiCaprio. "Who cares about the war on drugs," adds another. "I've never fought a war on drugs. I've never done shit on drugs, besides play Halo 2." Don't vote, don't vote, don't vote! "Who cares about Darfur? I don't even know where the fuck that is. That sounds like a T-shirt company to me," says Jonah Hill of
Superbad
and
Knocked Up
.
6
The satire is soon realized, with the celebrity entourage telling young people why they
should
be voting. "Don't vote unless you care about health care," one actor proclaims. "If you think that everybody deserves to be taken care of when they're sick," then maybe you should vote, says Forest Whitaker. "If you care about gun control," proclaims
Friends
star Courtney Cox, then you should vote. Dustin Hoffman brings up "gay rights" and "abortion rights." Minimum wage and the Iraq War are also issues on which young people are urged to cast bal
lots. If all these issues matter to you, the viral ad reads, then you should go vote.

Snoop Dogg, a onetime member of the Crips and a convicted felon, tells the YouTube audience to "vote because for the first time ever an African-American could end up in the White House." Nothing like a little pre-election race-baiting from a former gang member!

Sarah Silverman urges people to register to vote while "pooping" and asks viewers to send the Declare Yourself video to friends so that the message can spread "rampant like herpes." That lends a whole new meaning to the term
viral marketing
.

The Declare Yourself videos were catchy and well produced. But nonpartisan? Each one of the issues came from a decidedly left-wing stance that reflected the views of Declare Yourself creator Norman Lear. He is rabidly left-wing. He's also the founder of People for the American Way, an activist group started to resist the so-called influence of the "religious right." PBS host Bill Moyers, for instance, once asked him, "Did your heart leap with joy last week when the Federal Court in California said that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because that phrase 'one nation, under God' violates the separation of church and state?" Lear replied: "I won't say that I was pleased; [but] I wasn't upset."
7
Lear is even one of those crazy lefties who support the cop-killer-turned-cause-celebre Mumia Abu-Jamal.

During the election, Lear refused to endorse a candidate: "That isn't something that belongs in a 'Declare Yourself' conversation," he said. But the
New York Times
noted his choice was obvious: "prominently displayed in his office during an interview was a yarmulke decorated with a campaign sticker for Senator Obama."
8

Lear, who is one of those old rich-dude creeps (at eighty-seven he has two teenage daughters), has access to any celeb
rity he wants. The impact is unquestionable. Declare Yourself boasts that it registered more than 2.2 million young people to vote, which is plausible considering that just two of their Hol- lywood YouTube videos nearly garnered a million hits. In total, they claim that more than "6 million people viewed their online videos and public service announcements," and that its "Only You Can Silence Yourself" print, video, and billboard campaign, which featured Jessica Alba, reached more than "100 million impressions" through publications including
People, Seventeen, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated
, and
US Weekly
. As if that weren't enough, Lear's group blasted text messages to more than 5 million people reminding them to vote. An impressive left-wing operation, to be sure.

The lesson is clear: the Internet is open to any group or individuals who want to make political statements, whether those statements are worshipful (will.i.am), salacious (Obama Girl), or ideological (Declare Yourself). ObamaMania didn't materialize in a vacuum.

STILL THINK THAT
the Internet is not important? Food for thought: According to the Pew Research Center, 33 percent of Americans go online to get their political news. Skip along to young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine and the number jumps to 49 percent. Nearly 50 percent of younger voters get their news from the Internet. Then there's the 25 percent of new voters who said they had joined a social networking group for a campaign.
9

B.H.O.'s online legions were largely the work of Chris Hughes and Joe Rospars, two twenty-somethings who changed the game of online politicking. Even if the name Chris Hughes doesn't ring a bell, I'm sure you've heard of his creation: a little something called Facebook. Yep, that's right--the cocreator of Facebook, the most interac
tive, innovative, and popular community forum to date--was part of B.H.O.'s online operation. As a McCain-Palin online adviser self-deprecatingly observed, "Memo to self: next time get the co-founder of Facebook on your team."
10

Joe Rospars, cofounder of marketing firm Blue State Digital, oversaw the campaign's new media progress. Rospars is no stranger to the online world himself, having worked on Howard Dean's Web team before Dean imploded with his "I have a scream" speech.
11
After the infamous episode, Rospars and two other Deaniacs founded Blue State Digital, an Internet strategy firm designed to beef up online fund-raising, voter outreach, and social networking for liberal politicians and causes. These "Boston geeks," as one paper called them,
12
did online work for both Ted Kennedy and John Kerry before getting hired by the Obama campaign to create and run what turned out to be the ultimate Web-based political machine.

The online operation surrounded B.H.O.'s website, my.barack obama.com, or MyBO for short. MyBO was an interactive hub that identified and connected supporters with each other, planned events, encouraged community blogs, raised money, provided talking points and campaign logos, generated field material for door-to-door interaction, and stacked volunteers to man phone banks. MyBO was the one-stop-shop for the Obama campaign. It succeeded beyond expectations. As one report put it, "By the time the campaign was over, volunteers [on MyBO] had created more than 2 million profiles on the site, planned 200,000 offline events, formed 35,000 groups, posted 400,000 blogs, and raised $30 million on 70,000 personal fund-raising pages."
13
Whoa!

BOOK: Obama Zombies: How the Obama Machine Brainwashed My Generation
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