Who is the WH Official Who Shadow-Banned Tucker Carlson?
For those who have not yet seen the news, FOIA-disclosed emails have revealed the White House’s “Director of Digital Strategy” Rob Flaherty demanded that Facebook censor Tucker Carlson and others… and not in the sort of wishy-washy, corporate-jargon-filled vernacular that we typically see from these leaked correspondences.
This guy is middle management incarnate. Flaherty’s cartoonishly disrespectful language as he barks orders at various tech employees — who without fail respond with a “Thanks Rob” — has made me laugh aloud several times. I wanted to learn more about this perfect caricature of modern-day fascism. Here’s a bit about his background…
Flaherty got into politics as an undergraduate at Ithaca College. His social media aptitude quickly accelerated his career, landing him a position on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign just two years after graduating.
His thoughts on Hillary from an old blog post:
“Hillary Clinton went right in. That’s what she does. She’s tough as shit. It’s that toughness that, even in my worst moments in the last few months, has been genuinely inspiring to me. When she’s up against the wall, she grinds it out.”
I’m sure Mark Middleton can attest to that inspiring toughness.
Shortly thereafter, Flaherty became the “Digital Director” for Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 presidential campaign, engineering totally-not-authoritarian fundraising schemes like this one:
Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15.— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 13, 2019
Buy your shirt now: https://t.co/kEJxoLvfH5 pic.twitter.com/KKpAKX4IL8
Apparently a huge success (note the timestamps compared to Beto’s):
this hour was betterhttps://t.co/QkDcBs4uPf— Rob Flaherty (@Rob_Flaherty) September 13, 2019
Flaherty’s accolades do not end there. The social media savant was even behind the famous “We did it Joe!” promotional video, which announced Biden’s presidential victory for those who’d missed it. From Ithaca College News:
“One key moment in the campaign for Flaherty was the announcement of Biden’s running mate, then Senator Kamala Harris… [Flaherty] had an extensive rollout plan, including a text message announcement, a video of Harris receiving the call from Biden.”
We did it, @JoeBiden. pic.twitter.com/oCgeylsjB4— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 7, 2020
Flaherty recounted the borderline miracle — pulled off by him and Biden’s Digital Strategy team — that created the masterpiece:
“‘We were using a Slack room to coordinate the digital elements of the rollout — the text, the email, the website changeover, and video production logistics,’ he recalls. ‘That was a powerful moment to be a part of the team. The team really came together for that, so that was a really neat standout moment that I will not forget.’
Flaherty — who now wields his mediocre position in government to censor the most popular cable television show in the country — contrary to how it may seem is actually fighting fascism, shown by his bravery in calling the Trump Admin, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka “Nazis” (tweets now deleted):
As for the recently disclosed emails, which I recommend readers check them out for a good laugh, I’ll highlight one of my favorites (image below):
For context, the Facebook employee has just sent a 4-page response to a list of questions that Flaherty demanded answers to. He’s essentially laying out the various ways that Facebook is censoring users to bolster the government’s COVID narrative. Welp… not good enough for Flaherty, who says he “couldn’t care less” and expects Facebook to create a data report showing how these actions remedy vaccine hesitancy.
Not only is our government demanding that big tech censor dissidence but also produce PowerPoint presentations demonstrating the efficacy? Where does the “Director of Digital Strategy” derive this authority?
Flaherty then admits to coercing Facebook with regards to 2020 election-related content, acknowledges FB’s compliance with said coercion, but still reminds the employee of his sins by insinuating that FB was culpable in the Jan 6 “insurrection” (because some of the protests were organized on its platform). The way Flaherty talks is so weird, demented, and psychotic — especially given how seemingly cooperative and subservient his FB correspondents are — Disney-Pixar couldn’t create a better villain!
This is textbook fascism.
Aside from producing cringey videos and berating Big Tech employees, it also appears that Flaherty is also in charge of President Biden’s tweets:
First @POTUS tweet in the books https://t.co/pCxR67Leyr— Rob Flaherty (@RFlaherty46) January 20, 2021
According to Flaherty’s previously mentioned interview with Ithaca College, he sought to bring an end to the mean-tweet era of Trump:
“‘There are massive problems with social media platforms, from top to bottom,’ Flaherty says. ‘They intensify and encourage division and argument and polarization and these are all things that we as a society need to work through, but at their best, they can show and promote empathy and that hope that we were trying to demonstrate and engender in our program… there's an audience out there that looks for a positive vision, and, for these stories of togetherness and compassion, particularly during a pandemic right in this moment in time.’
I’m just going to leave this here:
MAGA proposals are a threat to the very soul of this country.— President Biden (@POTUS) September 4, 2022