Who Speaks for Oath Keepers?
The media, as we see almost daily, has no idea how to report on Oath Keepers. That’s due to a number of considerations, including lack of depth/ignorance on the part of reporters, personal “progressive” biases reflective of the overwhelming majority of journalists, and flat-out laziness. So using “sources” like the Southern Poverty Law Center, and parroting what they say as “authoritative” is an easy way to add descriptors to a story and not worry about how accurate the information is. It’s not like their readers or viewers, aside from a handful (if at all), are going to know the difference, and it’s not like correcting the record is a priority.
That’s one of the reasons I urge members to keep on top of what the media says about Oath Keepers, since if the truth is going to get out, it’s going to be pretty much up to us to make that happen. But in doing so, we also need to be careful to make it clear when we are speaking for ourselves and not for the entire organization. The recent flap where news sources were reporting on a man saying he was going to start arresting politicians, and making q special effort to identify him as an Oath Keeper, illustrates that.
Jason Van Tatenhove talked about the dangers of initiating such actions in a post yesterday about his latest “The Liberty Brothers Show” episode. That’s an appropriate conversation to have, but the point I’m trying to make here is, there is an authorized way of representing this organization in the media, and it merits being understood and respected by all members.
During my corporate career of years past, I was tasked with producing policies and procedures on all aspects of business operations in highly regulated industries. Those organizations all had a media policy, that is, a policy that defined who was authorized to speak to the media on behalf of the organization. If you think about it, it’s only fair, unless you believe it’s OK for someone else to presume he can speak for you.
When Stewart Rhodes asked me to start writing for Oath Keepers, he told me I could write about anything I wanted that I believed was related to the interests, advancement and mission of the organization. That said, this is not my website, and if I post something editor Elias Alias or board members believe is contrary to those goals, it’s right and proper that they should remove it, and if appropriate, remove me.
If I have occasion to speak to the media, as I do on a regular basis with talk radio and other venues, I do so as an individual, not as an Oath Keepers spokesman. To present myself in any other way would be inappropriate unless the board specifically asked me to field a statement, and unless that statement adhered to deliberated and approved positions.
There’s no shortage of people who would love to discredit Oath Keepers, because the group presents obstacles to their agenda of accumulating power at the expense of rights. We need to keep that in mind when interacting with the media and the public, and in how we conduct ourselves, especially while attending Oath Keepers functions or wearing articles of clothing with the Oath Keepers insignia. And we need to be careful to make it clear when we’re speaking on behalf of the organization, such as while participating in directed operations and outreach efforts, and when we’re speaking solely for ourselves.
It’s just this simple: You don’t commit someone else to your priorities without their OK.