Friday, October 21, 2005

Astrotuf editorials

Chris Kromm at Facing South noticed something funny in the newspapers. He found five unsigned editorials, which one would normally assume are written by the editor of the newspaper, and they all just happened to start out with the same paragraph. One that could have been written by the White House.
One of the smartest things President Bush did to reduce recovery costs in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita was to suspend Davis-Bacon Act rules in the hardest hit states. But Congress is frantically trying to overrule the president, which would add billions of dollars to the already staggering recovery costs.
His readers have since unearthed many more examples of exactly or similarly worded editorials. Not only that but the author of the offending document revealed himself in the comments there as well. Chris tells us it's none other than Sean Paige, editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette and a man with a rich history in right-wing politics, who just wrote an editorial condemning for astroturfing letters. You can get a stomachache from irony that rich. But the truly insidious part is this.
UPDATE V: Just a little context -- the anonymous "house" editorials penned by a GOP operative in Colorado sprung up in newspapers nationally just as Democrats had forced a House vote on a bill to overturn Bush's repeal of Davis-Bacon. 37 Republicans had recently signed a letter saying they wanted Davis-Bacon reinstated.
I would have more to say on this but Pam Spaulding, posting at Pandagon already said it all. She notes that this appears, at least in the case of Freedom Communications, to be a policy by the newspaper where they intend to have one central source produce editorials and pass them off as local content.

Local news is the next frontier in the GOP media management team's war on information. I remember a poll from a while ago that said a significant percentage of voters get their news from local sources. Then I also see Roger Ailes is now going to be taking over the management of 35 local TV stations that reach 40 percent of America's homes.

The newspaper attempt at message control was clumsy but the local TV news will be harder to catch. They're building the Ministry of [un]Truth from the ground up, right around us. I wouldn't be surprised to learn the White House has already formed a shadow cabinet and Ailes is the Chair Apparent.

Update: DeLay's lawyer lied in open court and the major media in not only not challenging it, they're reporting it as fact.
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Blogger Kevin said...

I caught my local newspaper, the Flint Journal, printing some astroturf a few weeks ago, in the letters section. I choose to protest their lack of concern in the matter with a little ironic twist. I had people send to them identical e-mails protesting the use of astroturf. I think they got at least a hundred of them.

5:39:00 PM  

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