Frame Games was a public commentator in 2016-2018. He was alt right adjacent, openly Jewish, but he kept his name and identity and face hidden. Brandy Zadrozny at NBC News finally revealed who he is. He is Mike Benz, former State Department official who advocates for Internet freedom, which was a big crusade of Frame Games back in the day.
It’s kind of amusing that the guy who is Frame Game Radio went on to be a State Department official and then be incredibly influential now. He’s very good at framing and when you watch his videos you see a lot of similarities between what he did as Frame Game and what he’s doing now on behalf of Internet Freedom.
He says that back in the day, he was part of a group deradicalization effort. I am pretty sure he was just one guy. I never had any sense that there was a group behind him. I never saw the slightest bit of evidence that there was any kind of group behind Frame Game. Everything he did, everything he said, everything he produced struck me as a solo effort.
There was a Twitter group that was frequently actively hostile to him. The Twitter group of alt right adjacent Jews thought that he was too unnecessarily critical and over the top critical of Jews. Frame Game did not like this group. Many members of the group did not like him.
They would mock his lack of Jewish education. In his bizarre rejoinder to Brandy’s report, he starts off by saying, I’m a proud Jew and the child of or descendant of Holocaust survivors. I thought it was a very weak response, and that is, it implies that almost anyone who’s actually leading a Jewish life, studying traditional Jewish texts and observing traditional Jewish commandments, rarely bothers if ever to say, yeah, I’m a proud Jew.
It’s something that you say to compensate for something, such as lack of knowledge and lack of practice. So, he did seem extremely ignorant of Judaism, that always shone through, so now in his rejoinder post, he says that I was taught in Hebrew school that the word Moshe means messenger.
No, it doesn’t. The word Moshe means savior. The word Navi means messenger, prophet. So, he just keeps getting elementary Jewish things wrong. Now he houses the head of this electronic foundation, but one gets the sense that this electronic foundation is primarily just him. We get the sense that he didn’t run this by anyone, because if he’d just shared that with some people, they would have helped him avoid the mistakes he made. But there was nothing that was unethical, underhanded, dirty or dastardly about what Brandy Zadrozny did on Mike Benz. It was a legitimate by the numbers work of journalism and reporting.
I had Frame Game on my show probably about five times. He had some smart, interesting and sometimes truthful things to say. Overall, he was hyperbolic, overly dramatic, somewhat conspiratorial. Frame Game Radio is not a scholar and he’s not someone who optimizes for truth. He admittedly is someone who optimizes for making a difference, making a change.
He’s an activist. And so, he believes in saying anything, doing anything to make a change in the world. So, if that requires lying, whatever it takes. He had a more ‘whatever it takes’ attitude than I did. Frame Game is amazing at the way he frames things. He’s incredibly compelling. On the other hand, he does not optimize for truth. That’s a big downside with his type of approach.
Frame Game would be much more hostile towards the establishment than I was. He was much more hostile towards the established elites. At the same time, he was more credulous when they would say things that would align with his narratives.
What do you know about Mike Benz’s network of Jews infiltrating the alt right?
I don’t. I strongly do not believe there was any such thing. There’s no evidence of that of trying to steer them away from the JQ. Frame Game did not try to steer people away from the JQ.
Can you remember anything he said, or did, produced, created, or put online that at all struck as having a group component?
I can recall nothing. His work was clearly the work of a solo practitioner. There’s no group behind him, and he generally had a hostile reaction towards the alt right adjacent Jews, he generally had a hostile reaction towards. He was much more friendly with the alt right than he was with the alt right adjacent Jews, who did not go as far as he did in pushing an anti-Jewish power narrative.
Frame Games response to Brandy Zadrozny was particularly weak. He was self-pitying. It was both self-pitying and self-aggrandizing. He was talking about how influential and powerful he was and at the same time, how oppressed and beaten down he was. About Brandy’s supposedly poor journalism and it was just basic reporting.
In his response, Mike Benz said a lot of ridiculous things, which again shows me that his quote unquote foundation is just Mike Benz, because if he’d run his response by anybody, they would have given him some valuable feedback so he wouldn’t have made a fool of himself.
He argues in his response that he was part of a group effort by Jews to deradicalize people. No. I saw absolutely no evidence for that. There was no effort to deradicalize people. He wanted to empower and strengthen people to advocate for their group. One particular group.
You put under Stephen’s stream that Frame Game was a psyop. It was no more a psyop than you or me or anyone else. Every living thing tries to create an environment around it that is most conducive to its thriving.
You would think that any living thing would try to do that. Frame Game tried to create an environment around him that was most conducive to his thriving. I try to create an environment around me that’s most conducive to my thriving. We’re all trying to make real our own hero systems, the way we see the world and what we believe will be most conducive to our own thriving.
There was no psyop going on with Frame Game beyond normal human levels of trying to create a conducive environment. His whole thing is framing and he’s very good at that. He’s very exciting and compelling to listen to. Even now, you watch some of his Electronic Freedom Foundation videos and they’re compelling. But it’s clear he does not optimize for truth.
Sometimes one can get so caught up in one’s own ability to frame things, that you get a little detached from reality, which I think happened to Frame Game.
He developed an exaggerated sense of his own powers, because he had so much success. And people were telling him that he was great and he tried to frame away this Brandy Zadrozny critique. I don’t think he did it effectively. Compare Frame Game’s efforts to what Richard Hanania did.
Richard Hanania just came out and said, yeah, I wrote a lot of things that I regret. I had an attitude towards life back then that I regret and I’d like to think that I’ve grown up and improved. Richard Hanania apparently has taken no significant hit from these revelations. Richard Hanania got the tone and apology apology right. He handled this unpleasant situation with as much grace and realism as possible. I don’t think Mike Benz got it right. You can probably learn from Richard Hanania’s response.
These are the dangers of posting online anonymously. You don’t use the same care and discretion that you would if you were operating under your own real name. If Frame Game Radio wasn’t a psyop, why does he say he was? Because it’s a lot more preferable to portray your work as a Psyop as having a Mossad-like quality than what he was, which was, beyond just a white advocate, close to the alt right nationalist brand. He’s trying to frame himself and position himself as something more socially acceptable.
It’s socially acceptable to run a psyop against the alt right. It’s not socially acceptable to say many of the things that he said. If he’d said them under his real name back then, it would have had to be much more careful, much more nuanced, and it would have had to pay a much heavier price.
Sometimes when you try to avoid paying a price in the present moment, you create a much bigger price for yourself down the road.
Anonymity online does as many good things as it does bad things. Good people can use anonymity online to do good things. People predisposed to the bad will probably use anonymity online to do bad things, but it does create all sorts of dangerous temptations. It can unmoor a person from his foundations. If I say anything wacky, I hear about it from people in my real life.”