Larry Lessig, Evan McMullin, Michael Moore, Jill Stein and several other prominent figures on the political fringe have recently been touted as viable sources by mainstream media outlets to push forward pro-Hillary Clinton political narratives.
Lessig was cited by Politico, The Hill and other media outlets as a Harvard professor who claimed 20 Republican electors could, in theory, vote against Donald Trump contrary to the vote results of the electoral college. After failing to be invited to the first Democratic presidential debate, Lessig suspended his short-lived presidential campaign, which as part of his initial announcement included a promise to resign from the presidency immediately after enacting the Citizens Equality Act of 2017.
Former Republican and independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin, who received 0.52 percent of the vote during the 2016 elections, is still provided a platform as an anti-Trump conservative critic by several mainstream media outlets. For this reason, McMullin has received more post-election media coverage than he did while running. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who received over 3 percent of the vote, has refrained from exploiting himself as a mainstream media pawn for publicity. “GOP knew about, ignored Russian meddling in the election,” reads a recent headline quoting McMullin. The evidence McMullin cited in the article was “I know because I know for a fact that they know this.”
Somehow McMullin knows what intelligence agencies can’t even come to agreement over, based on evidence that has not been released to the public. This rhetoric perpetuates false or misleading information without attributing it to establishment Democratic Party figures. The target audience is not meant to enhance McMullin’s political prominence, but rather to provide Clinton partisans more Russian hysteria clickbait without a partisan paper trail.
Jill Stein received more donations for her recount efforts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan than she did for her entire presidential campaign as the Green Party candidate. The same Clinton partisans who denigrated her candidacy, alleging she was a Putin spy, or that she would be responsible for a Trump presidency, praised and funded her efforts when it allowed the Clinton campaign to avoid introspection and responsibility for their loss, while maintaining plausible deniability over the recount efforts being purely partisan-driven. As soon as Stein’s efforts mobilized resentment toward the electoral system that “cheated” Clinton out of the presidency, Stein was once again castigated as a scapegoat for Clinton’s defeat.
“Trump is gonna get us killed” read headlines across several mainstream media outlets, quoting director Michael Moore in his latest attempt at relevancy. Though the policies and ideas outlined in his documentaries rarely receive media coverage, his hyperbolic attention-grabbing rhetoric is often exploited to perpetuate sensational mainstream media narratives. This is the case of any figure outside the establishment, good or bad. They are vilified by the mainstream media at any sign of challenging the status quo, but they are quickly provided a platform otherwise denied to them the moment they say or do anything to serve it.