As befits the age of internet transparency, Oppo people no longer hide under the dark rocks of the political landscape. From Rodell Mollineau at “American Bridge” to Jonathan Collegio at the conservative “American Crossroads” (co-founded by White House veteran Karl Rove), they are more than open about what they do.
We are, they say, living in the “golden age” of opposition research, where the Internet has not only made it easier than ever to find negative details about a candidates life, innovations like YouTube and Twitter allow them to take their message right to the people. As Ben Smith of Buzzfeed.com puts it, “The Super Pacs have become their own media outlets.”
While opposition research relies on diligent investigation of sometimes arcane facts (for example, that John Edwards spent $400 on a Beverly Hills salon haircut), it’s the weaving together of many of those facts to create a negative storyline that makes this approach such a powerful weapon. “A voter is not going to go through all of these data points and decide whether or not they’re going to vote for someone,” says Jonathan Collegio. “They need to have a package for them.”
Rodell Molineau defended that packaging and says that the public can’t be “spoon fed” lies.
“The way we look at our role, is to find the truth,” he said. “It needs to be grounded in some sort of fact, because the American people are not stupid.”