A whole new level of political media collaboration and manipulation is being revealed in the newest batch of emails released by Wikileaks.
According to the emails, the Clinton campaign heavily collaborated with news media and bloggers to smear Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary.
The emails specifically mention how to collaborate with “people who can help push this behind the scenes without our fingerprints.” In other words, pushing their agendas through third parties that can’t be directly linked to the campaign.
In these emails, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and Clinton aide Christina Reynolds discuss how to work with organizations whose executives endorse Hillary (such as the Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws) on how to attack Sanders in the media, without it seeming obvious that Clinton and her direct supporters were behind it.
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) October 21, 2016
In one email, there is a discussion about a call between several high-profile bloggers and the Clinton campaign on how to attack Sanders on the issues of racial and reproductive rights:
“Working with bloggers and columnists to write about this from a racial justice and reproductive rights perspective, including a few people who joined us on a call to talk about the ‘Bernie Backlash,’” writes Peterson.
One of the bloggers involved, The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti, is mentioned as “writing a column on this as we speak,” and went on to publish a piece attacking Sanders’ abortion “platitudes” just a few days later.
Another columnist mentioned, Jamil Smith, went on to write multiple columns attacking Sanders from a racial perspective.
Of course, there is always an expected amount of collaboration between a political campaign and their public supporters, involved in the media or not. But these emails reveal behind-the-scenes collaboration between the Clinton campaign and journalists that they were actively trying to keep secret.