My 2019 in Review

Matt Orfalea
4 min readJan 2, 2020


In 2019, I created several videos covering unfair media bias, the presidential election, and serious threats to the freedom of the press. My year had some very high peaks and some depressing setbacks.

When my video, “Rising Up”, went viral with 7 million views on Twitter alone, I was invited on the Bernie Sanders campaign’s official podcast, and offered my dream job working as Creative Editor on the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Less the 24 hours after my hire, things took an abrupt and unfortunate turn when a Bernie Sanders opponent began attacking me on Twitter for old comedy videos made years ago.

The main controversy concerned a 10 year old comedy video intended to expose how easily digital media can be manipulated. But because my absurd recreation of MLK’s “I Have a Dream Speech” employed sexual humor, my work was deemed “racist” by Neera Tanden, another highly partisan political opponent of Bernie Sanders.

It didn’t matter that I made a dozen videos with millions of views celebrating King’s legacy, including some new ones this year. The attacks against me frightened the Sanders campaign and I resigned in attempt to prevent my old videos from distracting from bigger issues the campaign is trying to address.

However, after having a moment to reflect, I realized that the weaponization of political correctness is a big issue that needs to be addressed. It seems more and more people are being punished for mere allegations and appearance of wrongdoing, not actual wrongdoing.

Earlier in 2019, I was banned from a friend’s Facebook after enquiring whether the Covington Catholic High School kids had actually done anything wrong in the highly publicized confrontation with native elder activist, Nathan Phillips.

After weeding through all the hours of raw footage to investigate the story myself, I discovered the public outrage was entirely misdirected. The MAGA hat wearing students had done nothing wrong. In fact, it was Nathan Phillips and the media’s behavior that was reprehensible — they had aggressively lied about the character and actions of the students.

Sadly, in this case, the liberal anti-Trump media (both corporate and social) succeeded in convincing people that the students were angry, dangerous, racists. But it’s important to recognize that the outrage culture is not just a problem with the left.

In 2019, both Republicans and Democrats exhibited enormous outrage over Ilhan Omar’s allegedly anti-semitic comments.

But of course, Ilhan Omar’s comments were not anti-semitic. She criticized money in politics and the state of Israel, not Jews or Judaism.

Nevertheless, even the notoriously anti-PC Donald Trump took part in the “cancel culture” when he called for Ilhan Omar’s resignation, simply for expressing her political opinions.

Yes, even so-called freedom of speech loving Americans, like Donald Trump, will summon and ride the faux outrage of political correctness when it benefits them politically. But obviously the tendency to change one’s opinions to one’s benefit is nothing new.

In 2019, I made a few videos this year about another controversial topic: Wikileaks. One’s framing of Wikileaks as hero or villain always comes down to whether Wikileaks hurts or benefits them.

For example, Republicans hated Wikileaks when it revealed the hidden tragedies of the Republican (& Democrat) supported wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but praised Wikileaks when it published unflattering information on their political foes.

In similar flip flop fashion, much of the liberal media began defending Wikileaks’ right to publish only when their own right to publish became threatened too.

In 2019, the U.S. Justice Department under Trump, made a dangerous and unprecedented attack on the freedom of the press when it charged former Wikileaks editor, Julian Assange, for publishing classified documents.

Security took me out of a book signing line for fear that I might ask more questions.

I asked CNN’s chief Whitehouse correspondent, Jim Acosta, if it’s right to jail journalists for publishing classified information. Specifically, I asked if it is right to charge journalists under the Espionage Act, whose legal precedent prevents whistleblowers from receiving a fair trial.

Acosta dodged the question (despite having just written a book about holding Trump accountable and protecting the free press) and gave the audience the false impression that the Assange prosecution was related to Russia. It’s not.

Unfortunately, the fear mongering around Trump’s first term continues to pollute our political discourse. In 2019, the new McCarthyism reached its most shameful point when Hillary Clinton and much of the media smeared sitting Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a respected war veteran and American patriot, as a “Russian asset”.

To get time away from politics, I played basketball like I do every year. Unfortunately, this year I caught a hard elbow to the face.

Multiple facial fractures have damaged my cheek, eyesight, and jaw.

This year I will continue to fight my way back physically, financially, and professionally. If you like my work please help me out on Patreon this year!