David Sirota is a journalist, at least that’s what he was up until a point several months ago when he became an advisor for the Sanders campaign and began trashing all of Sanders’ rivals on Twitter. People on the left noticed his attacks on Beto O’Rourke and others but didn’t know those attacks were part of a “trial period” with the Sanders camp. Sanders must have liked his work because last week Sirota joined Sanders’ campaign as a staffer. No one mentioned that change of status either until the Atlantic inquired about it:
Since December, David Sirota has, on Twitter, on his own website, and in columns in The Guardian, been trashing most of Sanders’s Democratic opponents—all without disclosing his work with Sanders—and has been pushing back on critics by saying that he was criticizing the other Democrats as a journalist. He centered many of his attacks on Beto O’Rourke, but he also bashed Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Joe Biden, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper, Mike Bloomberg, and even Andrew Cuomo…
Faiz Shakir, Sanders’s campaign manager, confirmed in an interview on Tuesday afternoon that Sirota had been in an advisory role prior to his hiring on March 11. “He was advising beforehand,” Shakir said, explaining that Sirota’s informal work for Sanders goes back months, and was meant to be a trial period to see how the senator, who famously likes to write every word that he says himself, would work with a speechwriter…
When people have questioned his tactics, Sirota has called them “mentally incapacitated.” Responding in mid-January to those who criticized him online for preemptively railing against the record of O’Rourke, who had not yet entered the race but had been a huge source of concern for Sanders allies since talk of O’Rourke’s potential presidential run picked up last year, Sirota tweeted, “The screaming temper tantrums by Democratic Party operatives whenever reporters scrutinize a lawmaker’s voting record is something to behold. These people quite literally hate democracy.”
Sirota didn’t respond when the Atlantic asked about his tweets attacking Sanders’ rivals, at least not directly:
On Monday night, after being contacted for a second time by The Atlantic with a list of specific questions about his undisclosed work for Sanders, Sirota did not respond to the email but deleted more than 20,000 tweets. He left fewer than 200 online.
On Tuesday morning, minutes after his position was announced by the Sanders campaign in a long list of new hires, Sirota said he hadn’t been able to respond to my initial inquiries because he’d been caring for his sick child. He did post a photo on Twitter of himself bowling on Monday evening, wearing a turkey hat.
So who is David Sirota? In 2015 he wrote some pieces critical of Hillary Clinton, who is much too centrist for his taste. And as Jon Levine pointed out, back in 2013 Sirota was praising a politician more to his liking. No, not Bernie Sanders. Here’s his piece titled “Hugo Chavez’ economic miracle.”
When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore. It suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on.
For a flamboyant ideologue like Chavez, that meant him being seen by the transnational elite as much more than an insignificant rogue leader of a relatively small country. He came to be seen as a serious threat to the global system of corporate capitalism…
Maybe now Chavez’s easily ridiculed bombast can no longer be used to distract from Venezuela’s record – and, thus, a more constructive, honest and critical economic conversation can finally begin.
How is that economic miracle working out these days, David? You still interested in discussing Venezuela’s record? Yeah, I didn’t think so. In any case, it sounds as if Sirota will feel right at home working for the Sanders campaign.