Ace thinks Axelrod, the father of “astro-turfing” (i.e. “artificial grassroots”), is behind a recent spate of ‘virtually identical “Letters to the Editor” in support of President Barack Obama in more than a dozen newspapers’.
In recent weeks, Light has published virtually identical “Letters to the Editor” in support of President Barack Obama in more than a dozen newspapers.Every letter claimed a different residence for Light that happened to be in the newspaper’s circulation area.
“It’s time for Americans to realize that governing is hard work, and that a president can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything,” said a letter from alleged Philadelphian Ellie Light, that was published in the Jan. 19 edition of The Philadelphia Daily News.
A letter from Light in the Jan. 20 edition of the San Francisco Examiner concluded with an identical sentence, but with an address for Light all the way across the country in Daly City, California.
That reminded me of the astroturfing effort I read about, last week, which has been organized for the radio. As reported by Atlas Shrugs, Organizing For America currently has a web-based project calling for volunteers to inundate talk radio shows with pro-ObamaCare talking points.
Thousands of OFA supporters calling talk radio shows with a pro-health reform message could have a big impact on the debate. But to make it happen, we need active volunteers to help identify which radio shows talk about politics and accept calls.
Can you spare a few minutes to help? We’ll give you all the resources you need – just click “Start This” below.
I almost did a post about that when I saw it, but it’s just so sad, lame and pathetic.
As Kathy Shaidle at Newsreal blog said,
The trouble with this strategy is: it won’t work.
Rush Limbaugh coined the word “seminar callers” to describe people like this, because leftists used to train would-be talk radio callers in special seminars. These trained callers learn to begin by saying, “I listen to your show all the time, and normally I agree with you/I’m a lifelong Republican/but…” then recite memorized liberal talking points. (Here’s an IndyMedia how-to.)
The tactic is perfect for leftists because it’s parasitical — and, sadly, it’s the closest thing they’ve ever had to liberal talk radio…
It’s just another form of astroturfing, and it stopped working years ago.
All big time talk radio shows have peerless call screeners who usually detect these frauds before they get on the air. If these astroturfers do get through, a smart host can make them look pretty foolish, pretty fast.
Back to Ace:
Create the illusion of a inevitability. Make people think they are almost alone in disapproving of Obama, so that they self-censor and won’t say they disapprove of Obama, and thereby make other people think they’re alone in that too.
PR, PR, PR. Spin, spin, spin. Alinsky, Alinsky, Alinsky.
It was always dishonest. Now it’s just pathetic.
As Rush has so often said, liberals get up every morning and ask themselves, “how can we fool them, today?”
They should change that to, “How can we avoid looking foolish, today?”
Gateway Pundit reports that the letter writing campaign appears to be one moonbat, acting alone:
“I do not write as a representative of any organization,” she said in an e-mail. “The letter I wrote was motivated by surprise and wonderment at the absence of any media support for our President, who won a record-breaking election by a landslide less than 18 months ago, and now, seems to be abandoned by all, supposedly for the infantile reason that he couldn’t make all of Bush’s errors disappear in one day.”
Well, not so fast; Patterico has been following this story, and he’s not convinced that this letter campaign is the work of just one woman:
With the help of my commenters, I have been keeping a running total at my blog of the places where Light’s letter has appeared. At last count, her letter has appeared in at least 47 newspapers in at least 23 different states.
So far, that is. That number is growing all the time. It even appeared in a newspaper in Bangkok, Thailand!
As you can see at my blog, the states where her letters appear correspond quite well with the states that Obama won.
Who is behind this? Are all these letters truly the work of a single woman? Or is there an organization behind “Ellie Light”? (David Axelrod, call your office!) There’s no hard proof as of yet.
From Patterico’s blog:
On an unrelated note, recall that recently, Glenn Greenwald flagged the fact that Obama’s pal (and head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) Cass Sunstein recently wrote this paper suggesting something sounding a lot like Astroturfing:
Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government).
Commenter #77 at Patterico’s:
I have a hunch who ellie might be.
First, the meaning of the name ellie is light. That part was easy. An ellie is also a national magazine award. In 2005 a woman by the name of Samantha Power won an Ellie for a piece she did for the The New Yorker magazine entitled Dying in Darfur.
Ms. Power is a graduate of Harvard University.She worked for then Senator Barack Obama, I believe it was she who first piqued his interest in Darfur.
She went on to work on the Obama campaign before she was forced to resign for calling Hillary Clinton a monster.
While working on the campaign she met then later married Cass Sunstein who now works in the Obama administration as the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
I’ve read a letter she posted to another journalist where she takes a smack at Sarah Palin, that was what gave her identity away in my mind. What O’s going through must have her blood boiling. What do ya’ll think?
A great piece a Hillbuzz:
There’s the “Ellie Light” side of trolling, where pro-Administration pieces are posted everywhere, reading from the same script — and then there’s the “Nellie Dark” side of things, where trolls seek to take down anyone opposing the administration or calling it out on its lies and general socialist craziness. That’s when the trolls accuse people of being RAAACISTS, try to destroy their businesses, attack their families, threaten violence against them, and do whatever they can to destroy administration critics.
Yes, excellent point. There are negative astroturfers as well as positive ones. And Hillbuzz is determined stop these trolls from influencing public opinion. The only way to do this is to educate people to what is going on. They want 2010 to be the year it ends.
A New One, via Patterico:
Just so you know, there now is a Who is Ellie Light? Facebook group, and surprisingly, already a Who is Mark Spivey? Facebook group.
Yeah, I’d say, word is getting out…
They’re coming out of the woodwork…