There’s a difference!
The official story is that she’s dictating tweets over the phone to a representative. Even if entirely true, which I doubt, a social media pro is acting as her eyes — selecting tweets to read back to her — and also her voice. That’s quite a lot of control.
Manning’s agency is Fitzgibbon Media, founded by Trevor Fitzgibbon, the communications director for the Obama 2008 campaign and a veteran of MoveOn, an organization that specializes in co-opting non-partisan dissent for the Democratic Party.
“We only work for clients whose causes we truly believe in!” Fitzgibbon Media announces from its clients page, and clearly the Democratic Party is among those causes. The founder’s old stomping ground, MoveOn is one of the agency’s clients, and is obviously the model for many of the other accounts — niche astroturf campaigns for a variety of left-liberal concerns. A number of Fitzgibbon’s larger clients are in the same vein: the Democratic think tank, Center for American Progress; DailyKos; Netroots Nation; and The Nation Institute, for example. Correct The Record, a pro-Hillary Clinton campaign is also a Fitzgibbon account.
Complementing the agency’s work for the Democratic Party is Fitzgibbon’s robust business in soft imperialism: The Ford Foundation and Amnesty International are both clients. Some of George Soros’ Open Society projects like Global Zero are too. The agency also services the creepy consultancy Purpose, a for profit company that builds “movements” for both non-profit giants like the ACLU, and large corporations seeking to burnish their brands with good works in other countries. Fitzgibbon has partnered with Purpose on The Syria Campaign to promote a No Fly Zone over that country.
Their media clients include Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill, The Guardian, The Intercept, Dirty Wars and Wikileaks.
The Fearless Adversarial™ trio and Wikileaks must seem to their fans like a very odd fit for an agency knee deep in liberal astroturf and soft imperialism. The Manning account however, takes the weirdness beyond the pale, especially given that the relationship goes back to at least 2011. Where was Fitzgibbon, I wonder, when clients Greenwald, Poitras and The Guardian drove client Manning’s trial off the radar and compared her unfavorably to Snowden?
Minor quibble, I guess, but shouldn’t Manning’s proxy have disclosed that Greenwald, Amnesty International, Jeremy Scahill, Wikileaks and Tom Morello are Fitzgibbon clients when “Manning” gave them a shout out today? I’d also love to know who’s footing the bill if it’s not coming out of monies raised for Manning directly.
In any event, I’m sure looking forward to seeing more of
Fitzgibbon Media’s Manning’s thoughts on politics and world affairs. As Daniel Ellsberg has shown, whistleblowing makes you an authority on, well, everything, and since Manning’s been consigned to a cage by the government for decades, I think we can take everything her astroturfing PR Agency tweets on her behalf or publishes under her name, very, very seriously.
Today Manning responded to concerns about authenticity of tweets:
For the “nothing to see here” crowd:
Why y’all get so angry at people who aren’t as willfully credulous as you?
Since wondering aloud why a soft imperialist/astroturfing PR firm is mediating an empire-fighting whistleblower is tantamount to talking chemtrails, I’m curious as to exactly when skepticism is warranted for you guys. You know what PR is for, right? Would you find anything amiss if Trevor Fitzgibbon had been McCain’s communications director and his firm were up to its eyeballs in neocon astroturf instead of liberal imperialist astroturf? You would??? Well then do us a favor: go back to calling yourselves Democrats, lose the rad affectations and leave the rest of us the fuck alone.
Yeah, I’m well aware that “Manning” disclosed the Fitzgibbon connection herself and since I linked to that disclosure, it should be clear I have no illusions of unearthing a deep dark secret. I am simply providing a service to the overwhelming majority of followers who would think nothing of that tweet and hence, not discover what a thoroughly shady outfit Fitzgibbon is. It’s clear Fitzgibbon and their associates have opted for an open policy about Manning’s “media team“, turning professional mediation into a plus rather than a dirty secret. This was prudent, since Manning’s professional representation was bound to get out and would look even shadier if discovered by someone else.
As a long-term prisoner of the state, Manning is not likely to make waves. This and handling by any PR agency would be reason enough to take everything she tweets with a grain of salt. Since she is hooked up with a firm with strong ties to a President that declared her guilty before she went to trial, and which clearly specializes in movement co-opting and soft imperialism, taking her tweets with a salt mine of salt is in order. But dare to dream. No good ever came of skepticism.