Can you get somebody? Can you track somebody down? Can you target them when they are going to work, when they are going on vacation? You know, can you identify possible voters, people who are registered and can you manipulate them the way you do everything else?
-Supervisor Fennell, broadcast 3/25/15 on KINS’ Talk Shop with Brian Papstein
Many of us already know that Supervisor Fennell’s politics is about manipulation. This is an unsaid truth. It’s how an individual can move from being a beloved celebrity in her community via a Democracy Now radio station to advocate for land use from the helm property rights lobby organization to becoming county supervisor as a Democrat.
But it isn’t about manipulating people, what Supervisor Fennell does is manipulate the narrative based on the audience at the time – whether it’s HumCPR, KINS, KMUD, the HCDCC, or the (manipulatable?) voter. Manipulating the story we knew, but manipulating people? That’s what she said and when she attempted to correct herself she repeated it.
Obviously, under scrutiny I know Supervisor Fennell would take this back. However, the baseline that undermines the cynicism, the one that connects Brian Papstein’s and Rob Arkley’s anti-government perspective, Supervisor Fennell and her specific libertarian SoHum constituent’s anti-system perspective, and yes, even cynics on the left that see the whole political facade as a farce, that baseline is … we are already dealing with a hopelessly corrupt system that requires manipulation, of the voting electorate. (In other words, it’s the “everyone’s doing it” excuse.)
And we all buy into this quite literally. You and I pay by watching (and being affected by) the ads. Supervisor Fennell, Sundberg, Bass and Bohn pay in amounts, more often than not, 2x as great as their opponents to media outlets. Media outlets such as Brian Papstein’s KINS gladly accept this money, deem the manipulation a good and necessary thing, and the pattern continues.
The quote from KINS’ Talk Shop last Wednesday is below the fold, what they meant of course is not manipulating people, but data. Data can be manipulated to GOTV (Get Out The Vote) with more and more precision. That’s what they meant I’m sure, but it’s not what they said.
Discussion on KINS 3/25/15: “What does it take to gear up for a campaign?”
The link is available here. The minute count is from the downloaded mp3 file which includes the advertisements.
(7:45 min) (emphasis mine)
Supervisor Fennell: Now days what it is is what do you have on your cell phone. Can you get somebody? Can you track somebody down? Can you target them when they are going to work, when they are going on vacation? You know, can you identify possible voters, people who are registered and can you manipulate them the way you do everything else?
Brian Papstein: (going into break) “We’ll work on the word manipulation”
Supervisor Fennell: …laughter…
After break… (9:56 min)
Supervisor Fennell: “First of all I want to go back on what we said a little earlier about manipulate. That’s not how I see it should be done, but you can see in today’s world that people take data and they use it to access people, whether it’s through advertising or whatever, you know if they want to have an event, That’s just how people respond …it terms of contact.
Brian Papstein: “Manipulation is not a negative for me, it’s a verb”
Supervisor Fennell: (as if in agreement) “no, no, no, it’s kinda using your ability to bring … your message to the most people and the most people to you.
One note that bothers me almost as much as this whole conversation. Supervisor Fennell said “I want to go back on what we said a little earlier”. No, Supervisor Fennell, it’s what you said. Brian, was trying to shield you from your rhetorical faux-pas, but it was you who made it.
The thing about Supervisor Fennell is she may tell us what the message is, but she won’t tell us the connection between the message and what she does. There is a huge gap between her actions and he message and that gap does begin to feel sometimes like a gap intended to manipulate, well, people.