February 14, 2004
Trippi Didn't Say What Reuters Said He Said
"How Web Support Failed Dean in Crunch: Ex-Manager" by Eric Auchard ran on Reuters the day of Joe Trippi's speech to E-Tech in San Diego. What exactly did Auchard get wrong?
Let’s take a look. This is the relevant portion of a short news story:
How Web Support Failed Dean in Crunch: Ex-Manager
Internet activism that thrust up the Howard Dean U.S. election campaign later hobbled the organization’s ability to respond to criticism in the weeks before the primaries, Dean’s former campaign manager said on Monday.
Wrong. Trippi did not say his ability to respond to critics was hobbled by “Internet activism.” Rather, he couldn’t figure out a way to get that “activism” into the game as a plus factor on his side. He was the one with the Internet troops. But he (somehow) could not command those troops to come to the campaign’s aid, and so Dean did not benefit, in a storm, from having all the extra hands— the Deaniacs and their energy.
That has nothing to do with reacting to criticism. Trippi thinks far too much of himself as a campaign manager and tactician to say something like: “we were getting hammered and I was helpless, I couldn’t respond.” No way. He responded with Realpolitik of his own. But the movement for Dean was out of alignment with the candidate’s predicament.
Joe Trippi, who resigned after defeats in Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, said the direct involvement of so many Internet supporters deprived the campaign of the traditional weapon of political surprise.
Wrong again. Trippie said he had to use the “weapon” of surprise, just as the playbook calls for. “We weren’t trying to keep the Net roots out of the loop. We were trying to keep John Kerry out of it.” That’s Trippi saying: “I did what I had to do, but the people at the blog were saying, we don’t understand, why didn’t you tell us you were going up Friday night with a new ad we haven’t even talked about yet?” Check the transcript, please. Trippi spoke of no blasts from shotgun SURPRISE that he could not make because of the Net, which is why there are no quotes to that effect.
“We were having a real problem with how to say, ‘We could be in real trouble here,”’ Trippi told a technology conference of the tactical trouble the Dean campaign had in balancing the need to keep supporters informed.
This doesn’t have errors, but “balancing the need?” You can’t balance one need. You need a least two. Reuters informs us of one need: “to keep supporters informed.” And here it keeps the second need secret.
The transparency of the anti-establishment Dean campaign made it hard to respond to political attacks from his eight other Democratic opponents and media criticism of the candidate’s missteps, he said.
No quotes in this graph. That’s because it’s wrong and Trippi didn’t say it. It wasn’t hard to respond to attacks. It was hard to explain to Net supporters a.) why Trippi was playing hardball, shifting tactics, concealing his hand, b.) what they should be doing to help Howard Dean win, since this was an emergency. The “transparency” of this “anti-establishment” campaign created problems, yes, but they were not the variety named by Reuters: losing the element of surprise, not replying to criticism, feeling hobbled.
“We couldn’t figure out how to tell people we had a problem without raising the wrong impression. Part of the problem is that the press are reading our blogs (Internet journals),” he said.
The quote seems accurate. But again, the “couldn’t figure out” part has nothing to do with a failure to respond to critics, employ stealth, bomb back in the air wars. Trippi believes he did all that. But he could not harness the power of Net supporters—600,000 of them!—to help in what the campaign most needed, on the ground, in Iowa. He was not trying to say to the assembled group: you hobbled me, got in my way, tied me down, and I couldn’t respond to those media critics. It was subtler, more like:
I tried to tell you what I needed from you. But I wasn’t clear and you weren’t thinking.
The Reuters account, (which made Instapundit, before it got knocked down at Instapundit by Matt Welch and others) is simply an incorrect paraphrase of what the man said. The problems in the dispatch are those of reading comprehension, not bias. But it confirmed a claim of Trippi’s: “”The political press could never figure out what the Dean campaign was. Now they feel qualified to comment on whether what it did worked.”
No reason at all to accept my conclusion, which is that Reuters, in this section, got it all wrong. (The interesting question is why. Misreadings have a logic of their own, sometimes.) Read the thing yourself. And the Q and A too.
Then read the Reuters report.
What do you think?
Also see, PressThink, The Tripping Point, my analysis of Trippi’s speech.
Others on the Reuters story: Techdirt thinks something is odd.
This is interesting: The Scobleizer, “A Conversation With Eric Auchard,” in which a weblogger who thinks Reuters got it wrong meets the author of said dispatch. “We had a nice conversation. He said that he had read and considered what I had to write and appreciated that. Then he explained his point of view. While discussing news judgment and other factors I found myself thinking just how unlikely this exchange would have happened five years ago.”
Mary Hodder of UC Berkeley reflects on “A Conversation With…”
Howard Rheingold: “I was hoping for critical analysis from Trippi, and thought perhaps he was resorting to a refrain that goes back at least as far as Richard Nixon, blaming the defeat on the media. Then Eric Auchard, a Reuters reporter who was in the same room with me completely reversed Trippi’s meaning and reported: ‘Internet activism that thrust up the Howard Dean U.S. election campaign later hobbled the organization…’”
Matt Welch: “If you see an article or blog-link to the effect of ‘Trippi blames Internet for Dean’s failure,’ please note that that’s pretty near the opposite of the truth.”
Posted by Jay Rosen at February 14, 2004 1:10 AM Print
Jay the blogosphere is no better at covering the story than the big press is. We're self-congratulatory -- so are they. We're scared, ditto. It's hard work to make progress.
Posted by: Dave Winer at February 14, 2004 11:12 AM | Permalink
Hi, Dave. I agree that the weblog world is no more accurate than the press, taken as a whole, and maybe a lot less accurate. But what does that have to do with a wrong report of a speech by a major wire service?
Posted by: Jay Rosen at February 14, 2004 12:30 PM | Permalink
Heck, Jay, the quotes are accurate--how can the story be wrong?
But seriously, I think there's one place where you've over-Fisked this. When you say:
This doesn't have errors, but "balancing the need?" You can't balance one need. You need a least two. Reuters informs us of one need: "to keep supporters informed." And here it keeps the second need secret.
you neglect what you'd quoted just above:
Joe Trippi, who resigned after defeats in Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, said the direct involvement of so many Internet supporters deprived the campaign of the traditional weapon of political surprise.
The second need was the need to act with tactical surprise.
As you correctly note, Dean and Trippi were not deprived of the ability to do so, but as Auchard correctly suggests, this interfered with the need to keep the base informed.
That's going to be an ongoing problem: Does transparency mean dropping your pants?
Does it mean an understanding of the campaign's general decision-making strategy? Does it mean a minute-by-minute view of the tactical situation? Does it mean getting that view after the fact?
Sissela Bok wrote a wonderful short and accessible book of philosophy, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life which offers some guidance on this. She suggests that a lie is more excusable when the lie is, by design, exposed after the goal of the lie has been acheived.
I don't mean to suggest that keeping a tactical secret is lying, but I do think Trippi's account indicated many among Dean's internet base felt deceived when the campaign sought tactical secrecy. That may be a transitional thing, if Trippi's contention (where did I hear this? Hmm...) that many among this base were people new to politics, in which case it'll self-correct.
The deeper issue is trust.
Had the Dean internet base developed sufficient trust in the leadership of the campaign to take certain decisions on faith? Will this also self-correct?
That's a harder nut to crack. Just learning about politics as practiced makes one more tolerant of not knowing everything. But if you're looking for politics which are not politics as usual, and if part of your view of that new politics is a full, total transparency, is it possible to become tolerant of campaign secrets? Do we trust only because we can verify?
If so, what happens once we elect a president? No more state secrets?
Jay, I suppose you're saying how the blogging world covered the same story has nothing to do with the way pros like Reuters covered it. Okay I can accept that.
So my observations, which therefore are off-topic -- I didn't hear Trippi's speech, but I did read lots of weblog accounts of it. My impression -- they're as concerned and "spinny" as the pros are. God forbid Trippi isn't the hero everyone thought he was. When I read the Washington Post article about his kickbacks from the ads, or commissions, depending on how you look at it, I couldn't tell who the good guys and bad guys were anymore.
I think a lot of the bloggers' reports were self-interested, just like the pro's reports we would criticize just a year or so ago. Amazing turn, from my point of view. And disappointing. I hoped for more courage, more respect for the truth, even if it hurt, even if it were impolitic, or impolite. But the blogging world is so gutless, too politically correct to actually *do* anything.
For me, the last couple of months have been a time of reappraisal -- blogging technology and RSS have been so widely adopted now that it's not just a matter of the tools you use, but what principles you adopt, that matters.
What those principles are is what interests me now more than the technology, although I still think there are some twists and turns coming in tech too.
Anwyay, I'll assume in the future that you're not interested in this stuff and will refrain from posting. Namaste.
Posted by: Dave Winer at February 14, 2004 2:15 PM | Permalink
Since you have me (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) on your weblog today, I'll take a shot at this:
I never expected weblogs to change human nature. Maybe evolution can do that. Any other change comes in how human nature manifests itself through the cultural and technological tools we use.
That's not a change in human nature itself.
Human beings, for better or worse, tends to self-interest (among other things--it also tends to altruism). We don't tend to disinterested objectivity. For that, we've got cultural tools, like peer pressure and editorial standards. To expect webloggers not to write self-interestedly because they've been freed of such constraints is a misreading of human nature.
Weblogging is generally free of external editorial control--there goes one prod to disinterestedness (along with a corresponding prod to bias, depending on the editor and the organization).
What we're left with is peer pressure--but toward what norm? One of the big selling points of weblogging is that it allows expressions of personal points of view without editorial mediation. Why, then, would we expect webloggers to behave as though they had an editor who expected them to report disinterestedly? That's not the norm--personal expression is.
Now, Dave, if you want to evaluate how people reported on Trippi's speech, you should first listen to it or read the transcript--something you note you haven't done--both of which are freely and easily available. Without that, your sense of whether people were giving self-interested accounts of what Trippi said isn't particularly well-informed.
Speaking for myself, Trippi convinced me that the claims of him personally profiting from the campaign were unfair. He also convinced me that they'd done a spectacular job of getting Dean from an asterisk in the polls to a credible candidate, then a front-runner.
He didn't convince me he'd done a particularly good job of running the conventional portion of the campaign. (He didn't try too hard to do that, either--I think Trippi knows in his heart that here he fell down.) Neither did he convince me that they'd succeeded in fully thinking out the internet campaign (unlike Wes Boyd, who convinced me MoveOn knows exactly what they're doing.)
Just for reference, here is my coverage of Trippi's speech, and here is the Q&A with Ed Cone. The self-interest you'll see in what I wrote is my desire to accurately relate the gist of what was said without putting my personal stamp on it.
This may, in part, explain why I am not an A-list weblogger.
Here's what Joseph Ellis has to say and quote in Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams (and if Adams is not a proto-blogger, I don't know who is):
[T]he point about the inner workings of the heart came not from a book but from the heart Adams knew best, his own. There were many human emotions, he observed, but none was "more essential or remarkablre, than the passion for distinction," that is, the craving "to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved and admired by his fellows..." This need to be noticed could express itself in several forms. [Among them, emulation, ambition, jealousy, envy, vanity.] But the separate names only referred to the different targets of what was a single human passion. "It is a principal end of government to regulate this passion," he argued, "which in turn becomes a principal means of government." And this bedrock human passion, he was at pains to emphasize, was not a desire for wealth or power. The quest for material distinction was merely a secondary passion that served as a means to the ultimate end, which was the need for attention and affection. [p. 166.]
(Different in tone but not gist from Lenny Bruce's "Looka me, ma!" bit.)
Adams felt that government itself had to "regulate this passion" for attention and affection. There is no such regulation for webloggers--and here, Dave, you hit the heart of the matter:
For me, the last couple of months have been a time of reappraisal...it's not just a matter of the tools you use, but what principles you adopt, that matter.
Exactly right (except I'd drop the "just"). Until there's some agreement on principles and norms (there won't be just one), though, how do we judge? Other than counting our hits, that is.
Thanks for explaining what you meant, Dave. I didn't get it the first time.
"I'll assume in the future that you're not interested in this..." That would be an incorrect assumption. I'm always interested in what you have to say, in part because you almost always say it in very few words, and that's hard. The information left out causes people to think, quite as much as the words put in.
My impression from the O'Reilly event and Trippi's speech is that, yes, to many he's a hero-- and I gather you think he should not be. But bear in mind that everyone I talked to also knew he had failed, big time; and there was a healthy percentage who felt he had failed them, failed the cause, so to speak.
Dean inspired a lot of wild hopes that didn't have anything to do with reality, and it's likely, too, that some of his own arrogance (mixed in with a lot of other traits) fed on the arrogance of some supporters. Dean inspired more people than he persuaded, and this proved fatal.
Should there be more honest stock taking among the Deaniacs? Yes, a lot more. Would it be wise to lose the spin? Absolutely. Some of that has begun, not among the most faithful, but among writers and critics and other articulate voices asking reasonably hard questions about what went wrong. I tried to present some of those voices in my post, Voice at the Crash Site.
Trippi isn't in that category yet, at least in his public statements. Most of his "fans" aren't, either. A victimology (involving the media, plus a more nameless "they") can be heard in his talk to e-Tech, which is unfortunate. But he's still an interesting person, and a compelling figure in politics, in part because *has* fans and flaws, and they are of equal intensity.
Posted by: Jay Rosen at February 14, 2004 8:44 PM | Permalink
It was subtler, more like:
I don't think this was it. He didn't try to say what he needed - he felt he couldn't, he had no effective way to express his concern without revealing his sense of desperation to the wrong people.
Because the campaign was so open and so public, the channels for communicating distress were compromised.
(It's not clear to me that he could have fixed the problem. In the end, Dean wasn't a clear winner, and I think that's why he lost his support. He stumbled.)
Posted by: Jon Lebkowsky at February 15, 2004 2:28 PM | Permalink
Joe Trippi has become a personal hero of mine because of the way he used the internet to mobilize large numbers of people. While undoubtedly, many will quickly disperse, some will likely play a constructive role in American politics for years, and decades, to come. His speech did note the weaknesses of communicating to such a vast number of supporters via the Internet: anything he said could quickly become a major news story because it was publicly available. Even lists of undecided voters were available via the Internet (a mistake, in my judgment)which made them available to opposition campaigns as well. How open campaign strategies and tactics should be is a perennial question of campaigns, however. More openness would have been welcome in what was a decisive choice that was never discussed: the forgoing of significant mass media persuasive efforts in favor of organization, and of using media spending in a targetted way to generate newspaper coverage and fundraising. The campaign's distrust of the efficacy of television advertising to persuade voters is something that should be explained in the months and years to come. I believe television advertising is overrated, and should not get the 80%-90% share it traditionally gets of major campaign budgets; but the minuscule share it got in the Dean campaign (with much of it going to strengthen organization, raise money, and generate news coverage as opposed to directly persuading voters)was radical in concept and self-destructive in execution. Historians should look to trace the evolution of the "build a movement" theme of the Dean campaign, for this theme--as commendable and accurate as it was--distracted the campaign from the urgent task of persuading millions of passive voters.
Posted by: Rep. Mark B. Cohen at February 15, 2004 2:28 PM | Permalink
If one starts as a "fan" and/or a "cult-member" of the Joe Trippi movement, how accurate are the reflections on Trippi going to be? Read the above comments.
I don't even have an Associates degree, because I couldn't finish the last class I needed, a required Speech Communications class. So I admire Joe Trippi, immensely, for the skills he has. Being able to motivate people is a rare skill indeed.
That doesn't mean I'm going buy into his "lies". And we could go into a long esoteric discussion of what is a lie and what is Truth, but "been there done that", several times over the past years in blogs.
As DJ Adams pointed out very well, people will deceive themselves and others, for various reasons. However, it is NOT fundamentally for attention, although that is ONE fundamental need that swirls throughout Maslow's hierarchy of needs. (Trying to pin things down to one or two salient points being the problem, not the solution.)
The point being discussed is what Joe Trippi said or didn't say. Sheesh... Obviously, it is in the interpretation of what Joe Trippi said where the disagreement comes from. Going back to first sentence...
That overlooks that Mr. Cone's questions were, imo (in my observation) of the "panty-waist" style that wouldn't normally fly in political discussions... But this was a discussion amongst "friends". "Friends" getting together to pass around some whuffie as they talk tech, and solve the problems of the world... Which is where Blogaria is almost totally worthless as an information source.
Ed: Talk to us little bit about the whole Joe Trippi getting rich thing.
Joe: Well first of all, the first thing that you got is again a misunderstanding of what we were and I could take a good example of that. The Kerry campaign will put on a million-dollar dinner in which -- and I don't mean to pick on them, Gephardt or any of these guys,"
Then why proceed to pick on them?
"even the Dean campaign did it on occasion where you spend $350,000 on a beautiful ballroom, fine china, steak and potatoes, entertainment and you fill that room up with $2,000-a-plate folks. The whole idea is you blew 350 and made…well let's say it's a million dollar it's going to make a million and you spend 350 doing that. The dinner is consider a huge success because you've made 650,000 dollars on it."
This may be news to some people. Looking at campaigning as a profit center is not really an innovative approach, however.
"In the Dean campaign we did remarkably bold, crazy stuff…zany stuff. We went up for $100,000 in Austin, Texas. We bought $100,000 of TV in Austin, Texas. We did it for two reasons…well three…one to get people in Texas to sign up with us, two, to get all that free media coverage of all the NBC, ABC and everybody saying, "This guy's got the guts to go up in Austin, Texas." And the other thing that we did was put up a bat that said, "We're the only guys willing to be in George Bush's face with an ad in Texas and we need your help." We raised a million dollars off the $100,000 TV buy in Austin, Texas. Now the other campaigns were all saying, "Why are they wasting their money in Austin?" Well why do you waste $350,000 buying steak and potatoes for the 2000 people they are going to pop $2,000? If what our people want is to see somebody take George Bush on in his home state, instead of eating steak and potatoes and coming to some big gala, we did it at 10% cost, $100,000 raises a million."
Trippi is making excuses why he blew $40 million before the first vote was cast... He claims it was because it generated additional revenue, which I'm sure it did.
Half-truth, however. What he DID was spend $100K to get a $million, and then spent that $million to get 2 more million dollars..
..and then spent THOSE $2 million to get.....
Ed: The 10% being the $100,000 that the media buys.
Joe: Right, 10% is a fundraising cost of raising a million dollars. If you're going to talk in their terms -- "
And thus, the didactic is set. "THEIR TERMS". This would be as opposed to Blogaria's terms, where everything just works itself out in the end.
"I'm talking about how they would think about this -- therefore, we're better."
Smells like DJ and John Adams point, to me.
"Now on the get-rich-quick scheme, I don't know what's more offensive to me. The implication is that I'm a thief I guess, but that one doesn't bother me as much as the implication that I'm a really bad thief."
The facts of the matter is that Mr. Joe Trippi was an unintentional thief, or a bad one. I don't have any organization behind me or lawyers to defend me from libel (or slander, I forget), like you all have. So I will prove it.
"Because first of all let me say for the record, I made about $165,000 on the Dean campaign in 2003, me personally. Now that's a lot of money, and I'm not sneezing at that."
You say ABOUT $165,000, Mr. Trippi. Am I supposed to take your word on that??? I would like the American People to see some documented evidence to support that claim, that you made "about $165,000", because that could range from, say.. $160,000 on UP. "About" could mean it could go higher. And, Mr. Trippi, when you say "you personally", does that not hide the fact that the ad firm you (I assume) part-own made some additional money besides what you personally made???
Were these questions asked, let alone answered??
So EXACTLY how much did EVERYBODY connected with Mr. Joe Trippi make, is the question. And that question was subtly (to some) avoided.
Joe: Right. Exactly. But that's not 7.5 or 7.2 million dollars. "
Yeah, I see the direction this is being steered in. A lotta people are hot about Trippi's ad agency getting 7-some million dollars.
But ole Joe explains the distinction.
The ad agency got that money, and no person was really making any money off of ANY of this, is the implication, again to some.
Well that's crap. It is a conflict of interest to tell people you are VOLUNTEERING as campaign manager, THEN having it come out later that actually there was a side bet going on, and Trippi was making hundreds of thousands (or AT LEAST "about $165,000"). And the company he's associated with makes $7 MILLIONS. Of course, that was expensed (ie spent paying payroll and whatever), so it's IMPLIED that nobody was really making any money, the $7.5 million just typical expenses of a political campaign..
..that just HAPPENED to go to Mr. Trippi and his associates.
But that isn't the lie.
The lie is campaigning on the message "not politics as usual", "get the corrupt insiders out". That is what, in old-fashioned terms, is called a lie. Saying you are against corruption, and then either breaking the law or bending it just a wee little bit so you and your biz partners can cash in (ooops, I mean make "about $165,000" and ANOTHER $7.5 MILLION for the company). And tell people and the public and the press that you are working on the campaign for "free". This two lies.
"Let me tell you why I think they're doing this, and I'll get into that "why" in a minute, but why the L.A. Times yesterday…or maybe it's this morning, I don't remember, but it's, 'Trippi's firm is paid seven million dollars.'"
Here comes another lie a-coming. I can tell that, because it is the function of the L.A. Times to report facts, and Joe Trippi (if these transcripts are correct) just CONFIRMED these facts. And I'll go out on a limb and suggest that UNLESS the facts ARE reported (and I'm unlike Robert Scoble, a fact is a fact if it comes from a journalist or a blogger, typical in the former, and rare in the latter)..
..I don't know, but I'd suggest that unless a journalist or blogger HAD reported these facts, then Mr. Joe Trippi probably wouldn't have volunteered this information.
Because, in actual fact, he did NOT volunteer the information until after he was fired and it came out in public... But Joe Trippi needs SOME alterior motive for the L.A. Times to report this, to keep his story together:
"Well, how do you stop this movement dead in its tracks? How you stop people from giving $25 or $75, you make them think it's a Trippi get-rich scheme. It's how to dis-intermediate me from all these people that gave a damn, and it's the worst, meanest thing that I've seen anybody do this whole year at least personally."
The L.A. Times is doing the worst, meanest thing?? By reporting the facts??? Or is Joe Trippi trying to saying that dis-intermediating Joe Trippi from "these people that gave a damn" is mean, which is what Joe Trippi did to HIMSELF when he resigned or got fired already.
I think Joe Trippi was disappointed the JOE TRIPPI MOVEMENT was faltering. And I am of the opinion, and believe it to be fact, that this dichotomy between the JOE TRIPPI MOVEMENT and the Howard Dean movement is largely the cause of the campaign failures in the first place.
"Now, let me explain this to people."
Well, let me do so also, then...
"First of all I didn't have -- because of a whole bunch of different reasons -- the authority for budget and spending was never in my hands. I had no control of that."
But that evades the fact that his AD AGENCY had COMPLETE control of at LEAST $7.5 Million (and I believe that number is approximately HALF of the total. I believe I saw that number reported as being from the 4Q 2003 FEC filings, and if so is NOT CLOSE to the total amount. But anyway...)
"That's not a, "I don't want to take responsibility for it." I'm saying it was in another person's hands; that's who the governor put it in. I think partly because he was concerned about the potential conflict."
EXCUSE ME...?!? If ANYBODY was concerned about ANY potential conflict, then this money going to Joe Trippi's ad agency wouldn't have EVER happened in the first place. We will never have precise measurements of exactly who had the political control in the Dean organization, and why the money was blown. But to try to say that Joe Trippi had little to no influence over how the money was spent...
..well that plays well with THIS particular audience of bloggers, but is unrealistic when compared to the facts.
Ed: Who was that person?
Joe: Bob Rogan, who had been his chief of staff for a number of years. So what I am saying is…let me give you evidence of that which is the "bad thief" line. If we had raised $45 million and I was the scheming media advisor that I supposedly was, I think I'd a lot better job than to just get seven million of it on television."
I think getting $7.5 million in ad revenues is the sign of a good thief, but I'm not in the thief business. That seems like sufficient incentive for the AVERAGE thief, but maybe the payscales are different in the political thief business.
"I'd like to think, because I'm a greedy guy,"
Always helps to throw in a little truth, every now and then...
"I would've gotten 20 or 25 million on television, which we did not do. We put about $7.2 million on television."
Familiar tactics: Argue over the precise numbers, to avoid any discussion of the actual issues.
"Now, I'm not going to get into… I was the campaign manager. I was not doing the media. Steve McMann, my partner had been doing Howard Dean's media for 12 years. And whether I had managed the campaign or not, he would've been doing Howard Dean's media in this campaign. He did it -- the firm did it in this campaign -- which meant frankly, had I been golfing all of 2003 and Steve had been doing the media -- it's a three-partner firm -- I would've gotten my third, my 165,000 dollars. Had I been golfing for 2003, I would have gotten 165,000 bucks and had I been sitting there, not sleeping every night until 4 in the morning working my rear end off helping to build this thing, I would have gotten the same amount, so from my point of view -- and I told the governor this when I started -- I was managing the campaign for nothing. I didn't want his money. Trust me,"
And I saw this coming. "The Open Source" way. Not making any money, by making money on the side.
I believe this to be absolutely true, what Joe Trippi says here, except in one regard. You don't TELL people you are working for free, while you are making $165,000 on the side. You don't go through a whole "look how hard ***I'm working for free***, like he JUST did above, while your making AT LEAST $165,000 on the side (plus the AT LEAST $7+ million). Especially in a volunteer organization.
That would be a lie.
This is poor "thinking on the feet", because he just stated above it WAS "how to dis-intermediate me from all these people that gave a damn, and it's the worst, meanest thing that I've seen anybody do this whole year at least personally." Joe Trippi is the most regularly self-contradicting person I've seen in a while, going by this speech and his actions.
"This is about how do you stop this from going on, how do you stop people from doing this, how to do you get all these people out there to say, "To hell with it. I really am disillusioned, I really am disheartened because all it was, was Joe Trippi wants to go get rich?"
Well, clearly... I think people have gotten disillusioned BECAUSE of the obvious conflict-of-interest, and the exact dollar amount is somewhat skeptical.
Because Howard Dean RAN on the MESSAGE that it wasn't going to be "politics as usual". Turned out otherwise. Trippi is "just" doing politics as usual, which is bad enough regardless of whether laws were actually BROKEN or not. But then running on a major campaign theme of "no more politics as usual" and then this...
I think any normal person who supported Dean in any way WOULD be disheartened. Only a Deaniac would NOT be disheartened, but Joe Trippi wants YOU to believe it's because "The Big Media" are out to end the Trippi ('scuse me, Dean) Movement. The Big Media MADE the campaign as big as it was, more than anything else (as Mr. Dean himself implied).
I guess that would be one interpretation, one that is convenient for Mr. Trippi.
"And like I said $165,000 is a lot of money. I think it is what they're are saying, the 7.2 million, which by the way most of that money is at an Iowa TV station."
And again, Joe Trippi MINIMIZING.
"What they do is they write a check for a million-dollar buy and the firm then sends 6.9 million of that…6.8 something to the Iowa station, New Hampshire station, South Carolina stations,"
Well, this is a business judgment. But the whole wad went to the first 3 states?
"and there's a normally a 15% commission for doing that. We didn't take that. In fact I didn't know until few days ago it was 7%,"
How fucking generous of Trippi. This is how it's being implied, by MINIMIZING and MAXIMIZING the different facts. Implies he's doing his civic duty by ONLY taking in 7% of EXACTLY how MANY millions in TOTAL???
Second of all, Joe Trippi SHOULD have known exactly what his take was, instead of pretending there was no money changing hands going into his pockets.
Convenient to look the other way, and just not know the EXACT percentage, so you can claim (as he IS claiming in the speech) in essence: I didn't really know there was money going into MY pocket, because I didn't know the exact amount...
"because I had not wanted to know,"
(Should-a put the above sentence here.)
"I never wanted to know and told the governor I didn't care. I wasn't doing it for the money. "
No, like most: doing it for the power.
"I didn't want to know that what arrangement was. Bob Rogan was writing the checks; I had nothing to do with that. So this isn't about assigning blame on what happened."
This would be about everything BUT assigning blame, because that might land Joe Trippi in an uncomfortable situation (and POSSIBLY jail because IANAL).
"It is about trying to knock down …and I think people really need to knock this down because this isn't about trying to knock me down."
Yeah, Joe Trippi wants to make it look like "they" are trying to knock YOU down, not Joe Trippi, so he has allies in this mess.
"It's trying knock the whole thing down. They're trying to get people to buy into this notion that, "Hey, it was all some kind of get-rich scheme." It wasn't, and if people come to believe that, that's going to be the worst thing that'll happen to the movement. I don't want that to happen because of me."
These are the facts.
People with power tend to accumulate whuffie and vice-versa. Attention being a good way to accumulate both.
(I don't have time to proof this, and doubt anyone has time to read it all, let alone try and understand it. Sorry.)
Posted by: JayT at February 15, 2004 6:19 PM | Permalink
I'm not DJ Adams--adamsj was my first UNIX logon, and I've kept it for all the sentimental reasons.
Joe Trippi convinced me he wasn't a thief. What he didn't convince me of--since I believe he knows the truth of it in his heart, he couldn't--is that he ran a competent campaign on the ground. The internet portion of the campaign was brilliant, but that's not yet enough to win an election. Even in today's broadcast media world, a competent broadcast campaign isn't enough. Neither is the internet.
Posted by: John "adamsj" Adams at February 15, 2004 9:11 PM | Permalink
Yeah, Dave Whiner, read the transcript before you comment, wouldja?
And then instead of just promising to go away -- do it.
Posted by: Sojourner Truth at February 16, 2004 8:05 AM | Permalink
Sorry, got corn-fused on my Adams'...;-) And there may be no convincing some people, no doubt.
But these facts remain:
So, if this is correct, then the people that contributed that $7.2M were donating 93 cents of every dollar to Dean, and 7 cents of each of the 7.2 M dollars to TM&S.
"Steve from www.apple.com" mentioned, on another thread, that this should perhaps be looked into.
But it's not only this, but where did this money come FROM...
I hear they'll be an outcry, because President Bush apparently select a bi-partisan committee, to question the use of 527's. It'll be "because the Democrats take in more money than the Republicans, through 527's". But "soft money" is soft money, and it doesn't get much softer than the (afaik, ianal) at-least-mostly-legally obtained money, donated to a lawful Presidential candidate.
Now LOOK, I'm in favor of "the little guy" as much as anybody, being one.
But, even if the geeks can come up with some aggregate totals, on a timely basis..
..well, I don't see how we will EVER know who was contributing to the Dean campaign, or why.
Posted by: JayT at February 18, 2004 12:36 AM | Permalink
I will only add that I don't read the newspapers, and my TV is broke. Watched some SF, History Channel and such, mebbe an hour of news per month, here and there, since November.
I know.. sample size, methodology... But the meme that Big Media (unless you count Yahoo, which actually I DO) "got" the Dean Campaign appears untenable, to me, for this reason.
Posted by: JayT at February 18, 2004 1:50 AM | Permalink
Apparently, nobody is reading these things I write, so I'm not sure why I bother. But the digits in 505,000 add up to 10, which is not divisible by 3.
So, 3 X $165K would be a lot closer to $495,000.
Posted by: JayT at February 18, 2004 1:05 PM | Permalink
Sorry for the long-windedness--I do tend to run on--but I'm curious about whether you think I have a point about the "two needs" and whether Auchard did or didn't state the other need in his story.
Posted by: John "adamsj" Adams at February 18, 2004 4:03 PM | Permalink