By now, you have all heard of Project Birmingham, the disinformation campaign, aimed at preventing Roy Moore from winning the Alabama Special Election for U.S. Senate back in twenty seventeen.
I took particular interest in this story when it broke a few weeks ago. As you know, I covered that election more thorough than most since it was the only one going on at the time and I was able to focus my limited time blogging and podcasting (blogcasting) about it.
I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on this election. At least an expert when it comes to knowing what transpired and when. I attended multiple rallies, including the one at the train station in downtown Montgomery where Moore appeared after his debate against Big Luther Strange. The atmosphere at that one was electric. A long list of nationally known pols were there. Names like Bannon and Palin spoke to the most fired up crowds that any politician saw in Alabama that year. There was a huge gathering of national press in attendance as well. I was there with my iPhone and monopod trying to capture what I could with what little battery life I had left on my device.
I was unable to attend the September 26th election night watch party where after a long road of running against a Trump-endorsed, McConnell-funded, Bentley-appointed Luther Strange, Roy Moore was finally on the downhill stretch to being elected to the United States Senate.
While I couldn’t attend every event, I could follow this election daily via news stories posted to the web and social media. When Moore won the primary, I correctly predicted he would win the runoff on September 26th. After that, it was supposed to be a no brainer. After all, Steve Flowers, the premier political columnist in Alabama, had said to me repeatedly on my podcast, “In Alabama, winning the Republican nomination is tantamount to winning the election.” Steve is usually right about that.
It was a given that Roy Moore was going to beat that democrat. What’s his name? Oh yes, Doug Jones.
Little did I know at the time, what I thought was a campaign coasting its way to victory, was actually a sitting duck about to get hit with the modern political version of a thermo nuclear bomb.
As I write this, all we know is there was a meeting in Washington DC in September of 2017 where the plan was hatched to take out Moore and create a path to victory for Doug Jones. (Correction) There was no meeting in September of 2017. The meeting referenced in the NPR interview linked above occurred in September 2018 in Washington D.C. The “experiment” was executed and then the group met after the election on December 15th to see what worked and how.
I read these reports linked above and looked over the leaked documents from the December meeting.
I’m left with more questions than answers after looking at all of this. A few questions are:
- Why did they “seed” the #NoMoore hashtag in September and not #NoStrange when the runoff wasn’t held until September 26th? Were they anticipating that Strange was going to lose or just out to get Roy Moore from the get go?
- Why is The Washington Post trying to be out front and center with their reporting of Project Birmingham when this thing has WaPo fingerprints all over it? Specifically David Weigal’s prints. Weigal is mentioned in this article and wrote another on September 27th, the day following Moore’s nomination, where he is among the first writers in the bunch to drive the narrative about Doug Jones prosecuting the KKK. Project Birmingham wanted to increase turnout among black voters by driving home that point and all of the media were more than happy to go along with it. Weigal appears to have either been the most eager to publish or first to get the memo from the project.
- Was the November 9th WaPo story, the first of the allegations against Moore, connected with Project Birmingham? We know from the leaked documents that someone with the project reached out to major media organizations and presented data to show that Anti-Moore content was popular and lucrative. Did someone at the project reach out to Stephanie McCrummen in the same manner as was done with David Weigal? McCrummen wrote that she met with Moore accusers for three weeks before they finally agreed to go public. This would put her in Alabama circa October 19th. According to the leaked “After Action” documents, Project Birmingham was “experimenting, in October, with tactics to push narratives from one social platform to another and ultimately into press.” Was McCrummen’s story “pushed” to her from the project? The allegations have yet to be proven and Moore has recently taken a lie detector test that indicates he is telling the truth.
I’m calling on the media outlets that have the documents from both the September and December meetings of Project Birmingham to release them to the public! There is no reason to hold on to them unless they want to protect an ally or even one of their own. I’m continuing to watch this story and will update this post as more information becomes available.
6 thoughts on “(PB-Post 1) Things That Make Me Say Hmm About Project Birmingham.”
I’ve been fascinated by this election since WaPo began its campaigning against Moore via their fiction series that was so successful that Democrats used their “37-year-old impossible-to-verify-or-disprove accusation + ‘other women come forward'” template with Kavanaugh.
Bias, lying in service of Democrats, fake news–nothing new. But this well-organized and wholly fictional campaign against a GOP candidate for high office by a single outlet does seem like a new low.
I knew little about Roy Moore when I started looking into this. I’d assumed he was kind of scary, based, of course, on national news sources over the years. My interest in this election was due to my growing horror at the power and corruption within media.
Project Birmingham and other faux Russian-style disinfo campaigns by Democrats/neocons merely adds to the horror show.
Your speculation here is a new angle. Do you have any leads to more information about anything related, including how WaPo went about locating “accusers” or anything an Alabamian might know?
I’ve wanted to write this up since Oct ’17, especially after Jones won. While–as you can see–I believe the WaPo accusations to be false or irrelevant, obviously I don’t KNOW the single accusation with any import is untrue. If it is, however, it’s a massive story. And if they were coordinating with disinfo tech campaigns directly, it’s bigger yet.
OK, I’m rambling, basically if you have any related information and you’re willing to share it, I’d love to hear it. I’m a recently retired university lecturer (due to suspected wrongthink–thanks, Bias Response Team!). My field involved media analysis, thus my interest in this.
Thanks for the excellent post (saw it on Jeff Giasea’s TL btw).
The only thing I’m certain of at this point is that WaPo, NPR, NYT, none of these deny this happened and also claim to have documents from both meetings the we know about. They should make what they know public immediately. Thanks for the comment.