#GuerrillaNews – a How-To Guide

The more I think about it, the whole idea of #GuerrillaNews is a hoot.  I’ve been thinking about how one might do it, if one were to do it.  Obviously I don’t advocate any of this; this is strictly a hypothetical, theoretical, alternative-history work of fiction type scenario.  But in that alternate goateed Spock universe (warning, this will be extremely rambly and stream-of-consciousness):

Pre-reqs:  You’d have to have someone with a well-established online presence and following to get it off the ground.  I imagine the former “Manosphere” would be good with this — someone like Roosh V. over at Return of Kings could maybe pull it off.  You’d have to bill it as both “real news” and “sticking it to The Man, wherever he’s found.”  You don’t want it degenerating — as it almost invariably would without a well established whip hand — into micro-blogs about whatever grinds my gears in Omaha (or wherever the correspondent lives).  Each #GuerrillaCell would have to pre-screen for journalistic standards — real ones, not the ideological litmus test you have to pass to write for the Lamestream Media.  So: Got a gripe about the Omaha city council?  Get the facts, Jack, and put them out there… but stick to the facts.

Scope: Since it’s all local — and since one of the major points of the exercise is to prove just how fucking easy “journalism” is — you’d want at least some of the content to look like a “real” newspaper.  Not “8 inches of snow expected by Saturday,” of course, but stuff like “New Zoning Ordinance for the Southwest Side.”  The #Guerrilla version of this would look similar to the lamestream version for the first paragraph or two — who, what, when, and where.  Since lamestream journalism is mostly stenography anyway, our reporter would just copy the same stuff from the city’s press release as the “professional.”

The #Guerrilla spin, though, is where it gets fun.  Why did the city council re-zone the southwest side?  I don’t know how this would look on the screen (or, obviously, have the website design chops to pull it off), but I’m thinking it would be cool to have stories like this with layers.  There’s the straight news report, but then there’s another section where readers can follow the #Guerrilla investigation, blog style.  Maybe the southwest side got rezoned for better water-table management, as outlined in EPA directive 22.2.4(c).  If so, bang on that —  how the fuck do the Feds know how best to manage water quality in Omaha!  But maybe there’s a big development deal in the works — they’re breaking ground for a new Arby’s on the southwest side, and city councilman X, who ramrodded the deal through committee, has recently been seen in the company of delicious roast beef sandwiches.  Let wild accusations fly in the comments, and, most importantly, turn the commenters loose!  A commenter who goes out there and helps discover the truth is, himself, a #GuerrillaNewsman and — this is the genius part that will soon make #GuerrillaNews a household name — he’s now got a standing invite to write for the local #GuerrillaCell.

Setup:  A three-tier system, let’s call them “stringers” and “columnists” and “editors” just to keep with the MSM terminology.  Since most researchers aren’t good writers, the guy who knows all about the goings-on at the new Arby’s on the southwest side probably can’t turn what he knows into a punchy news article.  So he sends all his info, complete with sources, to the local #GuerrillaCell (he does this under a pen name, of course) — like a post to a BBS in the early wild west days of the internet. From there, the columnist — who is a good writer — licks the story into shape.  (Finding good writers shouldn’t be a problem, as there are a whole bunch of dissidents out there who write good.  Right now he might just do a little blog about the Omaha cosplay scene, but in his heart he’s a #Guerrilla – ask him to put the stringer info into a punchy news story and boom, you’ve got another soldier in the war against The Man).  Then the editor, who in practice will probably most often be more or less the webmaster, will put it up and promote it.  If, however, it looks like it needs an in-depth followup — “roast-beef bribery on the southwest side?” — he can set the process in motion to live-blog the investigation.

Keep the whole thing transparent.  Keep a tab on the website that links directly to the “raw news” feed.  Our intrepid wannabe #GuerrillaJournalist, the Southwest Side Phantom, has posted several items about zoning changes in his ‘hood, and the new Arby’s getting ready to start construction.  Click over to the raw feed and see how many items he’s posted!  Let the readers themselves nudge the editors — hey, shouldn’t this be a story?

Once the story is up, the upvote/downvote system kicks in.  Each story should have three “bylines” — one for the stringer (with links to his “raw feed” profile so people can see the amount and quality of stuff he’s putting up), one for the columnist, one for the editor.  Encourage voting, but make sure the readers vote on the basis of “quality reportage,” not “I think an Arby’s on the southwest side would be great!” (a similar upvote/downvote in the comments should probably take care of this).  Is this a good story?  Well presented?  Does it stick it to The Man?  Was it well promoted, or did the editor drop the ball?  Make the feedback as robust as possible.

Direct Action.  This is the most “guerrilla” part of #GuerrillaNews.  Let’s say we have pretty good evidence that Councilman X, of southwest side Arby’s infamy, is doing some shady shit.  Or, at least, reason to suspect this.  Turn the guerrillas loose on him.  I DO NOT mean anything illegal, or even close to illegal, or even legal-but-annoying harassment like picketing his office.  I mean just… investigate.  How much does he make as a city councilman?  How many people work in his office, and what are they paid?  What perks come with the office, and how much do they cost?  Does he get a health plan?  A pension?  Does he have a whole bunch of interns working for him?  What did he do before he was on the city council?  How much did that make?  What’s his day-to-day schedule look like? (i.e. what does an Omaha city councilman actually do all day, for that nice salary and perks?)  ALL of this info is public domain.  It’s all above-board and perfectly legal to get.

Bring this stuff into the sunlight.  Most American politicians get worried they’ll get caught cheating on their wives, or that their opponent will find out about that DUI arrest from 20 years ago.  But what they should be afraid of is: The citizens finding out just what a racket local politics really is.  You’re seriously telling me that Joe Schmoe, who used to sell life insurance, is now making $400,000 a year as a city councilman?  And he’s got mega health insurance, a company car, four secretaries (at $75K per), and spends the 2.5 hours a day he’s actually in his office meeting with executives from Arby’s Inc.?

The lamestream newspaper isn’t going to tell you any of this, because a) “reporters” are all starfuckers and b) “reporters” all think government is great, and that anyone who gets himself elected to something (as a Democrat, anyway) is automatically a paragon of virtue.  #GuerrillaJournalists, on the other hand, are not starfuckers.  We think politicians are the enemy, and rule number one is “know your enemy.”  We can’t be bought, because we don’t get paid, and if you do manage to corrupt one of us, there are seventeen others who will not only take his place, but will directly call him out on it on the #GuerrillaNews message boards.

Direct Action against the Media.  Since lots of the #GuerrillaNews mission is to expose just what a sham “journalism” is, lots of our coverage should focus on the media.  #GuerrillaDC, for instance, would be a goldmine for covering reporters.  You’d have to be a bit more careful here in order to avoid restraining orders etc., but — what are the White House pool reporters up to?  So-and-So is married to a lobbyist and his dad is a Democratic party fundraiser.  Yeah, real “””objective,””” CNN guy, no possible bias there.  This would work even better for foreign coverage.  When (if) Trump goes to Korea for the big sit-down with Kim, it’d be a hoot to turn #GuerrillaSeoul loose.  Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?  Well, this here’s a picture of the conference hall… and this here is a picture of the hotel where all the “real” journalists are staying.  Notice that it’s miles from the action and the rooms start at US $400 a night.  Oh, and here’s a picture of the hotel bar.  Is that Wolf Blitzer sitting in front of that line of tequila shots, while history is being made across town?

Pay: This will be a bit of a problem, as “editor,” at least, will take at least a few hours a day.  But I’m willing to bet lots of folks are willing to do the bulk of the work for free, just to put their thumb in the eye of the overclass.  However, for inevitable expenses and whatnot, well, how do those online gambling sites do it?  Don’t they incorporate in Jamaica or something?  This is also where the “established internet presence” who’s getting the whole thing off the ground comes in.  Someone’s name has to be on the paperwork and handle the (minimal) cash; find someone who has already taken on this kind of thing.  But it should be 99% crowdsourced.

TOR browser: For everything else, total anonymity.  Bandwidth is cheap, so back up everything every night and be ready to move at a moment’s notice if they shut the server down (in fact, host everything overseas if possible.  Is the Swiss internet like Swiss banks?).  Be prepared to destroy all IP logs at a moment’s notice, and make sure all stringers post their stuff only via TOR browser.  No records!!

All of this is, again, entirely hypothetical.  Fictional, even.  Pretty good story though, eh?  What do you think, fellow literary critics?

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6 thoughts on “#GuerrillaNews – a How-To Guide

  1. P_Ang

    Wow, someone was BUSY yesterday. And here I was just getting ready to do a Paracelsus quote on the narcissism post…

  2. Frip

    From a recent post. Severian: “If you’ve ever been around elites for any length of time — on an Ivy League campus, say — you know they’re very seriously off, in ways that are hard to define, but unmistakable.”

    The more our side talks about elites, the more I’ve seen this notion expressed. Hoping you can expand on it in a future post.

  3. low info joe

    Great idea! Very Howie Carr-like concept of digging into solon’s salaries, relatives on the city/state payroll, galpals and boytoys.
    Right on about the elites. As you might hear in Boston, well from people like ma anyway: “The closer you grew up to Harvard U, The less respect you have for the people who went there.”

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