Jon Favreau, Former Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama at The John F. Kennedy School Of Government's "The Language and Legacy of Presidential Speechwriting" in Boston, Massachusetts on March 27, 2013.
Paul Marotta—Getty Images
By Zeke J Miller
January 9, 2017

Tommy Vietor, Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett didn’t think Donald Trump had a chance last November. Now the three former aides to President Obama are eating crow—and taking a page from his playbook.

On Monday, the three are launching “Crooked Media,” a political website that makes no bones about its opposition to the incoming president, and is designed as “ a place to talk about politics that informs, entertains, and inspires action.” Targeting Americans dismayed by Trump’s election, the former spokespeople and speechwriters are aiming to go around traditional media to reach young Democratic supporters.

“We’re not journalists, we’re not unbiased, we’re not always serious and we’re certainly not always right,” Vietor, Favreau, and Lovett write in their mission statement. “But we promise a no-bulls–t conversation about politics where you can laugh, cry, scream, ridicule us daily, share your ideas, and hopefully decide that you want to help fix this mess too.”

The three, who are working full-time on the project, said they want to move beyond analysis to encouraging political participation and activism.

“I think the lesson for [Democrats] is that if you’re solely filtering your message through the media, you’ve already lost,” Vietor said. “He has Breitbart and Twitter and he’ll just swamp you. We need to do a better job of connecting directly and activating people.”

Breitbart was a constant booster of Trump’s candidacy during the campaign, and its former CEO, Stephen Bannon, is set to assume a top White House position when Trump is sworn in on Jan. 20. Conservative sites echoed Trump’s policies to the GOP primary base, while rallying the so-called
“alt-right” to Trump’s cause.

Through much of 2016, the three former Obama staffers, along with former White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, hosted a biweekly podcast, Keepin’ It 1600, on The Ringer. Retitled as Pod Save America, it will be the inaugural offering of their new effort and re-launches Monday. They also plan to bring other podcasts, video, and written content to the site.

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