Over the past two years, New Hampshire professor and writer Seth Abramson has cultivated a #resistance Twitter following of more than 500,000 by posting lengthy threads prognosticating about the direction of the investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
And now, following in the footsteps of other #resistance heroes, he’s looking to leverage his Twitter fame to get into a new line of business. In his case, he’s shopping a book.
“People have been blindsided by the Trump phenomenon,” explained Aram Sinnreich, a media studies professor at American University. “They need an explanation to help them deal” with the current political climate, he added. And so popular pundits look to cash in on that need.
In a lengthy proposal for the book, tentatively titled Proof of Collusion and exclusively obtained by The Daily Beast, Abramson writes that his Twitter followers have “long clamored for me to ‘bookify’ my feed.”
Indeed, in recent weeks, Abramson has been attempting to do just that, circulating the proposal to a number of major literary publishers.
If one of them agrees to purchase the book, the University of New Hampshire communication arts and sciences professor won’t stray far beyond his 280-character comfort zone.
According to the proposal, the book will be based off of edited and rewritten versions of his Twitter threads—a conceit, Abramson declares, “whose time has come.” The book will create a “comprehensive, chronological review of the Trump-Russia case by transforming my Twitter ‘threads’ into prose.”
“A book of this sort is daring,” he writes. “Few if any have leveraged the advantage that books offer in collating, organizing, and amplifying in narrative form an intensely followed Twitter feed.”
Abramson would be just the latest #resistance pundit to attempt to cash in on the fervor surrounding the Russia investigation.
Self-described “D.C. technocrat” Eric Garland attempted to turn his bombastic Twitter feed into a revenue stream by creating a private, locked account where subscribers pay $10 per month for exclusive tweets. So did former NSA official John Schindler, who convinced several thousand followers to pay for many insights that The Outline pointed out he also offered for free.
Ed and Brian Krassenstein, two prolific #resistance tweeters accused of running websites that propped up online scams, released an anti-Trump children’s book last month titled How the People Trumped Ronald Plump, which has pages dedicated to collusion and glorifying special counsel Robert Mueller.
More established journalists and pundits have gotten into the Trump-Russia book game. Investigative journalists David Corn and Michael Isikoff published a book examining Russian interference in the 2016 election, while CNN pundit Jeffrey Toobin announced his intention to write a book focused on Mueller’s ongoing probe. GOP strategist and Daily Beast columnist Rick Wilson recently published Everything Trump Touches Dies, which in part excoriates the president’s actions in relation to the Russia investigation.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Fox News pundit Gregg Jarrett, who recently transformed from news anchor to Sean Hannity’s go-to pro-Trump commentator, made Amazon’s bestseller list with his book criticizing Mueller’s investigation as a “hoax.” His colleague Jeanine Pirro—a close friend of Trump’s—similarly skyrocketed up the New York Times bestseller list with Liars, Leakers, and Liberals, her self-described exposé of a “deep-state anti-Trump conspiracy.”
Abramson, too, is offering publishers a built-in readership, in his case his large Twitter following.
Over numerous pages, Abramson’s proposal lists the many celebrities, artists, pundits, political organizations, and brands that follow his voluminous Russia-investigation posts online.
Abramson name-checks reporters with whom he claims he speaks regularly, including journalists from The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic, and includes a recent email in which CNN host Chris Cuomo asked Abramson: “How come you have not been on with me?”
As Abramson has become a staple of #resistance Twitter feeds, The Atlantic dubbed him a conspiracy theorist, The Washington Post described his style as “interpreting liberally from news reports,” and Slate knocked him for “recycling information you could find on any news site and adding sinister what-if hypotheticals to create conclusions.”
When Abramson isn’t listing off the prominent journalists he speaks to in his proposal, he’s often dismissing the media’s coverage of Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe.
Abramson claims he has often beat news outlets to major stories, adding that he “connected seemingly disparate facts major media outlets do not endeavor to reconcile.”
And in an eye-popping section titled “A ‘PEE TAPE’ Q&A,” Abramson asks “why won’t anyone in Washington or media investigate” the infamous Steele dossier that alleges Trump paid prostitutes to perform “golden showers” in a hotel room during one of his visits to Moscow.
Abramson claims the fabled story is “a taboo subject in the United States because we’re prudes and the media knows it.”
“The reality, though, is that if Vladimir Putin is using a tape involving urine to blackmail our president, we have to love America enough to speak of urine publicly and objectively, without snickering or frivolous humor,” the proposal reads.
Abramson also plans to offer his anti-Trump book readers good news: By his calculations, the Trump administration will likely end by mid- to late 2019.
Sinnreich cautioned that such Twitter-style punditry can be misleading.
“Making sense of complex systems requires one set of expertise,” he said, “and channeling people’s rage and frustration and giving them short, serialized outlets for rage and frustration is a completely different skill.”
Readers should not expect any significant new revelations in Abramson’s book. As he explains in the proposal, he does not have time to produce new, original reporting for a book.
Though he compares his book to one by Corn and Isikoff—who he notes have far lower engagement than he does “in terms of daily retweets, quote-retweets, and reader ‘likes’”—Abramson says he does not have time to report new information because he is working on several projects, including a separate forthcoming memoir titled Thread.