Press and the Patriot Community
Outpost of Freedom
July 31, 2010
For decades, the patriot community has been demonized by the government, and, by the mainstream media. We can understand why the government desires to impose a negative image upon those who would require them to abide by the Constitution, the document that created that government that supports them and subsidizes their rather pretentious lifestyle. We can also understand that the media, through various organizations and affiliations, is closely-knit with the government, and will, absent an easy alternative, present news in a manner that is acceptable to those who pretend to govern.
It’s not so much that the press wants to deceive the American public, though there is, to some extent (see The Press in Waco), that motivation, more significantly, it wants life to be easy, and, once committed to a story line, it becomes even more difficult to admit errors in previous stories.
An example of the tendency of a “story” gaining strength, even though inaccurate, and the perception, by the public, of that story, tending to become truth, is explained in A Prima Facie Story.
Understanding how the press works provides us a means to have a more significant effect on what s, ultimately, presented to the public. If we provide fuel of a negative nature, they will use that fuel, since it will, most likely, support the government line. This makes it very important for us to provide fuel that cannot be turned against us. In addition, this has to be early in the game, before the press becomes fixed in their story line.
In Waco, the press was not as bad as it could have been. Part of this can be explained by the duration, since over time, more truths, and more fallacies, come to light. The number of foreign reporters who often avoided the press conferences, and, in a traditional manner, sought people with knowledge to understand what was happening can also explain the source of a bit of pressure for more truthfulness. However, the full truth was not presented, in a forum for public consumption, until accurate documentaries managed to push aside the inaccurate documentaries, and truth did, finally, prevail.
In April 1995, Timothy McVeigh bombed a United States courthouse in Oklahoma City. Between Waco and that bombing, thousands of patriots, outraged over what had happened in Waco were crying for action. Going to Washington, D.C. and hanging the traitors, bombing government buildings, and military action against the FBI and BATF were discussed, and agreed to as practical polices, in light of what occurred in Waco, though, as we understand now, bravery is easy at a distance.
To provide some insight into what happened in Oklahoma City, I did extensive research, including responding to invitations from a number of people in Oklahoma City to go there and speak with them. These included the press, Glenn Wilburn (grandfather to the twins that his stepdaughter lost in the bombing, and the McVeigh defense team. Though I had already mailed McVeigh most of what I had written (Oklahoma City Bombing) up to that point, I sent copies into him through Richard Reyna, of the defense team. I was trying to get an interview with McVeigh. Reyna thought it would be a good idea, but Stephen Jones quashed the meeting. The best that I could get was Reyna bringing a message from Tim, “Close, real close”, regarding what I had written. Subsequently, I corresponded with McVeigh up until his execution (see McVeigh’s Forum, which is comprised, except for introductory statements, only information send to me by McVeigh, including the picture). I have also read “American Terrorist” by Michel and Herbeck, which was recommended by McVeigh, though was not published until after the Execution.
Given the information that I have compiled, and setting aside unsubstantiated claims and ‘technical facts’, that can be disputed by other experts, I can only conclude that McVeigh did what he did for the reasons that he said he did it. However, assuming that he did, in fact, follow the direction set out by those thousands of patriots, and bomb the Murrah Building, something went awry, and the patriot community picked up a story line that lead the government in providing bad press to the patriot community. This “public relations” lapse resulted in a near total decimation of the patriot community and the militia, which lasted for years. So, what went wrong?
When McVeigh bombed the building, even before his name was mentioned, certain outspoken members of the community (Bo Gritz, Linda Thompson, Mark Koernke, to name a few) began ‘disclaiming’ that there could be any involvement by the patriot community. I have often wondered how they managed to be so sure that others in the community would have obtained their blessings, or felt obligated to inform them of any actions that were contemplated or conducted. It is a bit presumptuous to assume that we had then, or have now, a command structure that would allow spokesmen to have full knowledge of goings on.
It is important to understand that the recognized (by the press) spokesmen for the patriot community achieved their prominence because the pres let them achieve that prominence. However, they did not speak for much more than themselves, the press said that they spoke for us, and, we believed them.
Now, what might be referred to as “The McVeigh Syndrome” comes into play. Because of the onslaught against McVeigh, tendered by the government, supported by “our spokesmen”, and supported, to the hilt (since there was no strong opposing story line) by the press, we find that probably 98% of the patriot community signed on” to that line. They had, so to speak, gotten on the bandwagon. To get off of that bandwagon is not an easy task, so most chose to stay on the bandwagon and support the story that had be shoved down our throats by the press.
Back to Waco, there was a video presented (by a member of our community) that purported to show a flame throwing tank being used on the Church in Waco. Though there were many indications that it could not be a flame-throwing tank, the story line (bandwagon) maintained top billing for many years. Finally, however, the truth did prevail, and most of the community realizes that there was no flame-throwing tank.
It appears that we do prefer to hear what we want to hear. It also appears that when choices are presented, early on, that we will choose from those available and then design what we want to hear upon that which we have select. At that point, little else matters. We will support our bandwagon regardless of evidence, logic, common sense, or indisputable proof to the contrary.
This leaves us with the necessity to get information out, as early as possible, so that those who broadcast, and formulate the opinion that most will develop, will have an opportunity to have a positive consideration of the matter available to them, while they are forming their stories. It is rather apparent that they cannot think while standing, so the information has to be provided to them so that it is, at least, available for their consideration. If it is sufficient to the purpose, it may provide them the means to keep from looking like a fool, and perpetuating that foolishness, since other possibilities might just make more sense than what the government has said.
We can look back to incidents in the past, such as the Viper Militia, in Phoenix, and the West Virginia Militia, back in the nineties. Arrests were made, stories got out, and then they were held to. Even though informants were involved in both instances, the public opinion was formulated without our participation. The result was that nobody was let out on bail, nor did the press every really deal with many of the truths of those incidents.
More recently, the Hutaree Militia was charged with planning to attack a funeral procession for a police officer, hoping to kick off a war with the government. The press picked up the story and started with their pronouncement of guilt. However, there were a number of articles written that questioned the entire ‘crime’ (see Thought Crimes). Surprisingly, the press seemed to back down, and, bail was set for the accused. Once another side is presented, it becomes more difficult for the press to participate in the demonization, and, it may trickle down, if not to the government, at least, to the courts.
People have suggested that the government does not care what we write or what we say. I would suggest that this is only partly true. During the Waco siege, I sent out, vie American Patriot Fax Network, daily reports of what was happening in Waco (Waco White Papers). I had arranged that the FBI headquarters in Waco would be one of the first to receive the reports, which were sent out nightly. To things occurred that showed that there is concern if what we write makes sense and poses a threat to the government line. Though I was ‘removed’ from the press conferences on March 21, I did follow them. Quite often, what I had written the night before would be addressed by the government in their opening monologue at the press conference. It appears that they wanted to do damage control, and were concerned about what was being written
Most of the people from out of town, government and patriot alike, ate at the Waco IHOP restaurant. It was the only decent 24 hour restaurant (Denny’s had lousy food and worse service). Bob Ricks did not smoke, but he was sitting in the smoking room, one morning, as we came in for breakfast. When I walked into the smoking room, I noticed that one of my faxes was on top of his pile of paperwork. He glanced up, noticed me, and slid the fax under some other papers and look back down to his coffee. There is little doubt that, though they will never admit it, they are concerned about what we write if it is well written especially in opening other thoughts up for discussion.
Probably most important, however, is what we write and what we say. The government will pounce (as they did in OKC) on outlandish or unsupportable stories. If the story is not well written and includes conjecture or theory, especially some of the more outlandish ones, the government loves the, On the other hand, if it poses legitimate questions; presents plausible scenarios; and, does not include anything that will subject it to public ridicule, the government is, well, quite concerned.
Another problem arises when the press wants to interview someone. If that person is not well versed in the trickery and chicanery that the press uses to entice statements that can be misconstrued, they will trap the novice into providing a sound bite that will end up biting the interviewee. And, it is amazing how far some bad press can go.
The press will be there. The press will cover the story. It is up to us to do what we can to assure that we get the best coverage that we can — for the message that goes out across the country will garner support for our side, or make us enemies, it will depend on how we work with that necessary evil — the press.
The bottom line is that we need to improve the competence in our communication with the MSM. We need to designate well-qualified people to act as spokesmen for a group or activity. These spokesmen need not be members of the activity or organization, and when security requires it, it is probably better that they not be. This always allows, if necessary, for avoidance or disclaimer.
It is important to have contact information when press releases are sent out, but the contact can anticipate spending a lot of time dealing with communicating, for failure to respond is, often, worse than any response could be. It tends to generate a “we don’t care about you” attitude, which forces the other side, doing their job, to resent the lack of willingness to respond. Further, it often leaves unanswered questions to the other person to “fill in the blanks”. Even if the question cannot, or should not, be answered, the courtesy of politely stating such will help establish the rapport that will, in the long run, benefit our side, and our story.