For years now, the right-wing media have claimed left-wing journalists are colluding with each other on a secret email listserv. And they were half-right! As it turns out, a secretive, strategy-plotting online cabal of political journalists and party activists does exist. It's just that it's made up of conservatives.
Mother Jones' David Corn, who is like the NSA to the right-wing, has uncovered the secret Google group for "Groundswell," the right-wing coalition headed up by Ginny Thomas (pictured), conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, and boy does it sound like a fun place:
Dubbed Groundswell, this coalition convenes weekly in the offices of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal watchdog group. During these hush-hush sessions and through a Google group, the members of Groundswell—including aides to congressional Republicans—cook up battle plans for their ongoing fights against the Obama administration, congressional Democrats, progressive outfits, and the Republican establishment and "clueless" GOP congressional leaders. They devise strategies for killing immigration reform, hyping the Benghazi controversy, and countering the impression that the GOP exploits racism. And the Groundswell gang is mounting a behind-the-scenes organized effort to eradicate the outsize influence of GOP über-strategist/pundit Karl Rove within Republican and conservative ranks.
Besides Thomas, the Groundswell membership list includes former UN ambassador John Bolton, crazy Islam-hater Frank Gaffney, former GOP representative Allen West, and journalists and contributors to outlets like Fox News, the National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, and, of course, Breitbart News Network.
It wasn't an above-board operation: Members were instructed to keep certain information "off of the Google group for OPSEC [operational security] reasons" in order to "avoid any potential for bad press for someone if a communication item is leaked."
And what kind of stuff did this crazy crew get into? As it turns out, mostly secretive, terrifying conspiracies to craft conservative messages and... push Twitter hashtags!
The group also reviewed how best to oppose the confirmation of Tom Perez, Obama's nominee for labor secretary. Groundswellers claimed that Perez, then a senior Justice Department official, supported "Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Shariah." (One Groundswell memo maintained that Perez "is extremely antagonistic toward whites.") A third agenda item that Wednesday morning was beating back the effort to end the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay Scouts. And there was yet another issue for the Groundswell members to stoke: "John Kerry has family ties to Iran that opens the doors to blackmail and other national security risks. Kerry's son in law is an Iranian American with extensive family still in Iran." The post-meeting memo suggested Twitter hashtags to push: #CantTrustObama, #PoliticsOverPublicSafety, #SequesterLies.
The highlight of the story is probably the ad concept ("Brilliant idea," according to Ginny Thomas) proposed by Groundsweller Peter List:
A 15 sec internet [YouTube ad] featuring ethnically diverse children on a merry-go-round [soft music]…
Two bullet points on the facts.
Call to action:
Tell President Obama & Congress not to cut our nation's defense.