I woke this morning to find I was named in a dishonest press release


Yesterday, I posted a video called On the Road with Mike Michaud. It is part of a short documentary series called Knack Factory Presents. In the series, my company shines a 5 to 10 minute light on an event or happening, which is colored with our perspective. In our first video, we followed around Decentralized Dance Party, a roving anarchist dance gang, through New York City. In our second, we spent a day on the campaign trail with Gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud.

A press release by Maine Republican Party spokesperson suggests that the video was made in collaboration with the candidate, which it was not. We had originally tossed around the idea of following around all three candidates, but LePage has made his disdain for the press known (once by famously telling Kindergartners that newspapers are bad, and a another by joking that he would like to bomb the Press Herald building). Leaving us with both Cutler and Michaud, we decided to follow around the latter, whose candidacy we are awed by its historic nature.

We removed the video because there was a line in the song we used on the audio track (a track by Maine rapper Spose, which can be heard here) that states “I got Susan Collins givin’ everyone brain,” which, unbeknownst to us when we released the video, is a euphemism for blow jobs. The aforementioned press release suggested this was done intentionally, that the video was a collaboration with Michaud, and that the message essentially comes from Michaud himself. None of this is true. Had they reached out to me before releasing it, their press release would not be so littered with errors. It is particularly confusing that they decided to not be in touch, as several people in party leadership knows how to find me. Ironically, Executive Director Jason Savage and I were joking back and forth about the video — the brain lyric in particular — yesterday via Twitter.

We certainly didn’t mean to offend Sen. Collins with this line, and to her we sincerely apologize. The release suggested we apologize to all women, though my unintended employment of an offensive lyric has done substantially less harm to the sovereignty of all women than GOP ideology and policies, and so I extend the same invitation to the party.

I am heartened, though, that the GOP at large is responding in this way to this sort of content. Historically, when James O’Keefe or Breitbart has released video that is dishonest and career damaging, the party has been known to not act so quickly, particularly when it is politically advantageous to remain quiet. I hope that with regard to holding accountable content that shines a light on policy and policy-makers, this is the dawning of a new day for the GOP.

Update: CNN just called, so there’s that. Also, while we removed the video out of a courtesy for those involved, the GOP uploaded it to their YouTube account and is using it to creep traffic.

The Press Herald wrote a piece moved by a GOP press release about a video I produced, but they never got in touch with me for that story.

Also, apparently I am not the first to make this mistake. Gagnon is the head of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, and a former Collins staffer.


Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.