All posts tagged: Bradley Manning

Safety of sticking to the script

Yesterday in his post Could Your Congressman Pass a Turing Test? Kevin Drum lamented how today’s politicians only seem to talk in “poll-approved talking points”:

…the other day I happened to watch a few old clips of politicians being interviewed (in this case, “old” = 30 years ago) and it reminded me &#151 again &#151 of just how mind-numbing their descendents are. This has become such a routine part of our daily lives that most of the time we barely even notice it, but honestly: everything, and I mean every last word, that comes out of politicians’ mouths these days is predigested boilerplate. It’s just an unending stream of stale, endlessly repeated, poll-approved talking points. Democrats and Republicans alike. Every single time. They simply never speak like normal people anymore.

…every few months I happen to notice this phenomenon again, and it seems freshly creepy every time. It’s easy not to think about it, but when you do, even for a few seconds, it’s pretty obvious that this just isn’t natural. Politics has always been partly about acting, but even politicians are supposed to be human beings for at least part of their lives. Within living memory they were, but no longer. What the hell has gone wrong with us?

Then today, as if answering Drum’s question, Kevin Cirilli of the Centre Daily Times digs into what happened when P.J. Crowley, former spokesman for Hillary Clinton, failed to stick to the talking points.

Our work with the Bradley Manning Support Network

ABOVE: David House addresses reporters yesterday after appearing before WikiLeaks grand jury in Alexandria, VA.

If you follow Beyond the Choir on Twitter, you may have noticed that we’ve been tweeting photos from actions in support of PFC Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who has been confined for the past year &#151 accused of being a source of information to WikiLeaks.

We feel strongly about PFC Bradley Manning’s situation, and we’ve been at the actions we’re tweeting about. Last month Beyond the Choir LLC began a partnership with the Bradley Manning Support Network. We’re lending a hand with outreach to the news media and with public narrative strategy.

Zack Pesavento joined our team at the beginning of this month to work with me on this effort. He’s done some great media-related work in the past with the AFL-CIO and the Human Rights Campaign and volunteer work with several other organizations, including Civilian-Soldier Alliance (a favorite collaborator of ours).

Yesterday Zack and I were in Alexandria with David House, who appeared before the federal grand jury that is investigating WikiLeaks. (Read the AP article here, AFP article here, and FDL’s coverage here.)

You’re likely to see some updates about Bradley Manning and the campaign to support him here at And of course we’re continuing to build the site up as a forum for grassroots strategy, nuts-and-bolts social change tools, and deeper theory-made-practical &#151 around many different issues. As always, we invite you to post your tools and reflections about grassroots organizing, campaigning, and social change struggles.

Photos and video from David House events yesterday, on the flip.