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Media Collusion Revealed In DNC Leak Shows Why Change Must Come From Outside The Party

Among the thousands of leaked emails between Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffers, there are a number that will certainly be of interest to those who have watched Democrats shape a narrative against anti-Clinton agitators—including liberals, who have helped facilitate their many political capitulations.

In an email to Pablo Manriquez, former broadcast media booker for the Democrats, from David Guggenheim, program director at Sirius XM Radio, Guggenheim explains his evening show has been covering the “Clinton fundraising issue,” a reference to accusations that Clinton’s fundraising campaigns have left little for state committees. He requests an interview with then-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Manriquez forwards the interview information to a number of other DNC staffers, where he frames the subject as possibly being about “the Bernie Bro’s latest accusations.” The following is the exchange, which took place between Luis Miranda, the national communications director for the DNC, and Marquez:

Miranda: Wait, this is a shit topic. Where is Guggenheim? Is he a Bernie Bro?

Marquez: Must be a Bernie Bro. Per Mark’s sage, I turned him down flat (and politely) and inquired into opportunities next week to talk about something else.

In another email addressed to Mark Paustenbach, National Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Director of the DNC, Shirish Dáte, former White House correspondent for National Journal, asks: “Could I possibly get a few minutes on the phone with Debbie [Wasserman Schultz] today? It’s about Berni [sic]  Bros.”

Among the hundreds of articles DNC aides shared, there were countless mentioning “Bernie bros,” many of them coming from the Clinton outfit Blue Nation Review. The weaponization of this term clearly went far beyond its use within the confines of social media as a tool meant to silence detractors.

The DNC email leaks, which are now being blamed on a Russian spectre with allegiance to Vladimir Putin without evidence, also show a deep level of collusion between reporters and DNC officials.

For example, in an email exchange between Politico’s Ken Vogel and Paustenbach, with the header “per agreement…any thoughts appreciated,” Vogel offers the DNC his story ahead of publication. Paustenbach forwards the article with the following message: “Vogel gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors as long as I didn’t share it. Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back.”

This shows not only that Vogel has delivered his article before it’s been officially published but that he’s allowing DNC officials to screen it and offer edits.

In another email, Laura Meckler of the Wall Street Journal writes to Paustenbach and Miranda, asking to see a letter that Bernie Sanders sent to the DNC. Miranda responds to Meckler by telling her their correspondence is “OFF THE RECORD.”

“You didn’t get this from me,” Mirand writes. “They didn’t send it to us before planting the story. We’re operating in good faith.” Miranda ends the email by sending her a link to a PDF of Sanders’ DNC Committee letter.

Arguably, the most interesting DNC email exchange is the one that features Marc E. Elias, the general counsel for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign. The Democratic National Committee, which has argued all along that they’ve not been biased in any way, is being directed by Elias towards a political maneuver to mitigate damage against Clinton stemming from the Sanders campaign:

My suggestion is that the DNC put out a statement saying that the accusations the Sanders campaign are not true. The fact that CNN notes that you aren’t getting between the two campaigns is the problem. Here, Sanders is attacking the DNC and its current practice, its past practice with the POTUS and with Sec Kerry. Just as the RNC pushes back directly on Trump over “rigged system,” the DNC should push back DIRECTLY at Sanders and say that what he is saying is false and harmful the the Democratic party.

Though undoubtedly different and refreshing in many aspects, the Sanders campaign was still non-threatening to business as usual in the Democratic Party, and yet those at the forefront of this party worked tirelessly to undermine every move made by the Sanders campaign.

The collaborative effort on the part of DNC staffers and reporters to undercut the Sanders campaign, all while publicly maintaining an air of neutrality, also proves that challenging the Democratic Party will not be enough. Challenging it from within will remain ineffective as well.

A new movement cannot be beholden to those who continue to thwart necessary efforts for change in our lifetimes.  It is time to build something different.

Hillary Clinton accepts the Democratic Party's nomination for president. Photo by Disney ABC on Flickr.
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Roqayah Chamseddine

Roqayah Chamseddine

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American writer, published poet, and journalist, whose work can be found at Roqchams.com.