And we’re back with friend of the pod Tim Miller, who this week has managed to sully the fine name of Pod Save America by being a dirtbag!
On Wednesday, the New York Times published a monster report detailing Facebook’s months-long campaign to dig itself out of that hole it found itself in after peddling a misinformation campaign ahead of the 2016 election. There are plenty of perfectly horrifying details—Facebook tapped its good ol’ friend Chuck Schumer to go to bat for them; it paid a Republican firm to muddle the message of protestors by tying them to George Soros; and it used “business relationships” to make sure those who spoke against them would be cast as anti-Semitic.
In all, it was Facebook being Facebook, pulling the absolute slimiest shit in order to make billions off of polluting the brains of your elderly family members. But just as importantly, the Times named names of who, exactly, was tap-dancing for the Silicon Valley behemoth. And right there, at the front of the conga line, was contributor to Pod Save America, Tim Miller.
For those of you lucky enough to have avoided this scourge, Pod Save America started as a hugely popular podcast for white post-college grads who wanted to be reminded that America is the greatest country in the world while also being able to silently nod their head that, yes, racism is bad. It was—and is—for those looking to be constantly reminded that they are Good and Trump is Bad.
The show is hosted by Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor, Jon Lovett, and Dan Pfeiffer, all of whom were staffers in the Obama administration and/or campaigns. Their politics are exactly as bland as you’d think; they will only ever go as far as the center allows, having held off on supporting progressive candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and measures like Medicare For All until they became widely popular.
As I favor having ears to sawing them off, I’ve only listened to a handful of episodes, but this analysis from a Fast Company review nails their schtick:
It’s really just Meet the Press with younger panelists who can–and do–say fuck and dick a lot.
Because lots of people find it comforting to believe that voting straight-ticket Democrat is the upper limit on their ability to do good, the podcast made mountains of money. So they spun that off into Crooked Media, a website people purportedly read, and also managed to rack themselves a (mercifully) limited TV show at HBO. Against all odds, the four wealthy white guys made it.
Now, as far as this whole Facebook shitshow is concerned, it’s Crooked Media and the podcast that get roped in, thanks to their ties to Miller. Miller is Jeb Bush’s former communications director and co-founder of the America Rising PAC; now, he serves as the Pod Save America token conservative and is listed as a contributor on the Crooked website’s “Network” page. He’s a Never-Trumper (though he’s patently awful at playing the part) who allows for Disagreement and Discourse on the pod and on the website. Like all the people around him, he is a white-ass male giving takes that couldn’t be more bland and dated.
A prime example: Last December, he displayed this reasonableness in a bit where he joked and bragged about how he donated to Sen. Doug Jones over Roy Moore, a bit rooted in the false reality where being an American conservative means not supporting a candidate like Moore.
So, you remember earlier, the stuff about Facebook hiring a Republican firm to screech about George Soros and call people anti-Semites for hating Facebook? Jon knows what I’m talking about.
But wait, there’s a twist. That firm, Definers Public Affairs, was owned and operated by none other than Tim Miller. Per the Times:
Definers had established a Silicon Valley outpost earlier that year, led by Tim Miller, a former spokesman for Jeb Bush who preached the virtues of campaign-style opposition research. For tech firms, he argued in one interview, a goal should be to “have positive content pushed out about your company and negative content that’s being pushed out about your competitor.”
The pod boys took this about as well as could be expected. Favreau, who responded to comments on his tweet about Schumer’s involvement, suddenly logged off and had nothing to say when the good people highlighted the sections featuring Miller. Then, around midnight, Favreau, Lovett, and Vietor all co-signed a statement that went out from the Crooked Media account, saying that they found Facebook’s action’s “reprehensible.” They followed this by writing that while “we disagree with Tim on most policy issues,” they kept him around because “he has interesting things to say about the Republican Party.” (Judging by the fact that the $100 million candidate he worked for in the 2016 election immediately shit the bed and dropped out after the South Carolina primary, one can assume they were wrong things, too.)
Early this morning, Miller defended himself in a short series of tweets, which Favreau retweeted:
But for now, Miller won’t be writing any more screeds about how conservatives are Actually Good and why Trump is an outlier, at least not until they “get to the bottom” and uncover the facts of Miller’s involvements—though it’s unclear how this imaginary bottom will somehow unveil a different set of facts from those that the Times was so kind to already unveil in its blockbuster report. In the meantime, the pod boys can get back to doing what they do best: making mountains of cash and saving America, one centrist dickhead at a time.