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Cockburn

Iowans see their Shadow

Inside the secretive company responsible for Iowa caucus carnage

February 4, 2020

12:39 PM

4 February 2020

12:39 PM

Were you wondering why it took so long for CNN and MSBNC to inform viewers what on Earth was going wrong in Iowa last night? Cockburn certainly was. The answer might well be that at least one of CNN and MSNBC’s talking heads is partially responsible for the Dems’ digital debacle. David Plouffe is a board member of Acronym, a new Democratic digital startup that’s trying to level the playing field with Republican political tech.

The company responsible for the app that’s caused the screwup, Shadow Inc., is either partially or fully owned by Acronym. Acronym’s CEO is Tara McGowan, a former Obama staffer who’s been running all over Silicon Valley. If you believe McGowan, Acronym launched Shadow in 2019:

If you also believe Tara McGowan, Acronym is but a mere investor, so not at all responsible for the currently unfolding debacle:

Cockburn has had some experiences with buses, having ridden several in the delicate months after his own attempt to launch a political app failed. This is the quickest and most savage example he can recall of someone being thrown under one by their presumed boss. Pour one out for the poor developers McGowan disowned last night.

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Last night Plouffe also said he knew nothing about the mess his group created:

So who’s at the wheel here? Acronym is an interesting company. Not only has it been attempting to build a digital operation to rival the Trump campaign: it’s also busy creating a network of fake news sites for disseminating Democratic propaganda. Acronym rolled out their fake news sites to great fanfare from mainstream news operations, complete with glossy photo shoots from the likes of Bloomberg and the New York Times. No one knows who’s funding the shadowy operation, but they sure do photograph well.

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Last year, the Virginia Democratic party was paying McGowan’s personal political consulting firm while McGowan ran fake news stories pushing positive stories about statehouse candidates. Apparently publishing fake news is acceptable as long as it’s the right fake news. Or should that be the left’s fake news?

Even more interesting is that one the main beneficiaries of the confusion last night is Mayor Pete, who declared victory late Monday night. McGowan’s husband happens to be a top adviser to the boy from South Bend, and the good mayor’s campaign also happens to have been a client of Shadow.

Perhaps things might turn around for Shadow yet. After all, they’re currently hiring for a new customer service representative. Cockburn suggests applicants bring previous caucus experience. Or maybe not. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, said Justice Louise Brandeis, famously. What does that make Shadow?


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