Grass roots, my a**!

Dr. Rusty Shackleford has been investigating the myriad smears that sprang into life instantly the moment Palin arrived on the political scene.  The smears appeared to be the result of grass roots efforts from concerned citizens.  Shackleford’s research shows that the opposite is true — that a PR firm has been orchestrating this effort to manipulate the American voter:

Extensive research was conducted by the Jawa Report to determine the source of smears directed toward Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Those smears included false allegations that she belonged to a secessionist political party and that she has radical anti-American views.

Our research suggests that a subdivision of one of the largest public relations firms in the world most likely started and promulgated rumors about Sarah Palin that were known to be false. These rumors were spread in a surreptitious manner to avoid exposure.

It is also likely that the PR firm was paid by outside sources to run the smear campaign. While not conclusive, evidence suggests a link to the Barack Obama campaign. Namely:

  • Evidence suggests that a YouTube video with false claims about Palin was uploaded and promoted by members of a professional PR firm.
  • The family that runs the PR firm has extensive ties to the Democratic Party, the netroots, and are staunch Obama supporters.
  • Evidence suggests that the firm engaged in a concerted effort to distribute the video in such a way that it would appear to have gone viral on its own. Yet this effort took place on company time.
  • Evidence suggests that these distribution efforts included actions by at least one employee of the firm who is unconnected with the family running the company.
  • The voice-over artist used in this supposedly amateur video is a professional.
  • This same voice-over artist has worked extensively with David Axelrod’s firm, which has a history of engaging in phony grassroots efforts, otherwise known as “astroturfing.”
  • David Axelrod is Barack Obama’s chief media strategist.
  • The same voice-over artist has worked directly for the Barack Obama campaign.

This suggests that false rumors and outright lies about Sarah Palin and John McCain being spread on the internet are being orchestrated by political partisans and are not an organic grassroots phenomenon led by the left wing fringe. Our findings follow.

You can read the rest — in which Shackleford carefully backs up each of his claims — here.

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  • McLaren

    And there you have it: Alinsky tactics in full bloom being used by the Obama campaign. Let’s see if the FEC and Justice Dept. get a kick out of this.

    Who am I kidding? Nothing to see here folks, move along…..

  • Oldflyer

    The scary thing is that when the exposes are published it hardly amounts to more than “singing to the choir” because the MSM ignores them.

    I read a disturbing report on a Pew study which states that a very high percentage of the “under 30s” in this country actually get their political information and form their attitudes based on the TV comics; e.g., SNL, Jon Stewart, etc.

    I have been urging my California based daughters to listen to Sarah Palin. They just don’t have time, it seems. I sent some McCain-Palin bumper stickers out there. I understand my grandchildren giggled. Already brain washed.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Sorry to hear about your kids, Oldflyer. I have the same issue with my daughter – she’s too busy to look into Sarah Palin, although I am pretty certain she will go McCain.

    Unfortunately, these kids may grow-up one day and realize that they have lost basic freedoms to the Democrats that they will never get back. I know – it happened to my friends and family in Europe. They are lost, they know it, and they feel powerless to stop their continued slide into the modern fascist state.

    As far as you and I are concerned, we just need to keep trudging on, doing what we do, trying to alert one person at a time to the dangers that the Democrat/Left represents to us all.

  • McLaren

    Hell, I know a 46-year-old who gets her political “information” from Jon Stewart.

  • Zhombre

    Better Jon Stewart than Bill Maher. I know people who get their view of politics primarily from Maher and NPR. It’s baffling to me.

  • McLaren

    You and me both. I listened to NPR for 6 weeks every morning a couple of years ago. I was shocked. If what they “reported” was all I knew, I’d believe all sorts of gibberish too.

  • dagon

    oldflyer

    I have been urging my California based daughters to listen to Sarah Palin. They just don’t have time, it seems. I sent some McCain-Palin bumper stickers out there. I understand my grandchildren giggled. Already brain washed.

    i don’t know about brain-washed. younger generations tend to reject the views of their elders as being out of touch. maybe there’s something to that. you certainly can’t relate to the ever growing rapidity of change that has taken place (in technology) alone over the past few years. maybe the giggling was polite. maybe they thing worst things. maybe it’s time you were open to listening to them.

    peace

  • dagon

    oldflyer

    I have been urging my California based daughters to listen to Sarah Palin. They just don’t have time, it seems. I sent some McCain-Palin bumper stickers out there. I understand my grandchildren giggled. Already brain washed.

    i don’t know about brain-washed. younger generations tend to reject the views of their elders as being out of touch. maybe there’s something to that. you certainly can’t relate to the ever growing rapidity of change that has taken place (in technology alone) over the past few years. maybe the giggling was polite. maybe they thing worst things. maybe it’s time you were open to listening to them.

    peace

  • McLaren

    Yes, the wisdom of children. Perhaps all you old neo-liberals should listen to and adopt the youthful wisdom of Sarah Palin.

  • gd

    McLaren, what exactly is illegal about this that DoJ or the FEC need to get involved (given that it is not a qualifying political ad)? How is it different than the push-polling tactics that the Bush Campaign in 2000 orchestrated (but denied) when running against McCain? In terms of distortion, how is it different than the professional videos run by PACs or the RNC against Obama in this campaign? Most important, which of Alinsky’s tactics, which Danny was so kind to link to a summary of, does this anti-Palin political advertising follow that right-wing ads don’t follow? Unfortunately, “Alinsky tactics” has been reduced to mean merely “I don’t like that message.” Surely, you don’t call all effective if untruthful political propaganda extreme or radical, do you? Otherwise, you’d have to include a lot of right-wing nonsense as well…

  • McLaren

    I would imagine spending campaign money on ads not attributed to where the finds arose could be a point of interest for the DoJ or FEC. Of course, that remains to be proven — unlike the request to the DoJ from the Obama campaign that seems to know who is guilty of what and when before anybody has investigated a thing.

    As for Alinsky, you may have a point. Perhaps I should have mentioned classic “Chicago-style” politics vs. my Alinsky reference. However, perhaps the message, when it is a lie, is the point. Using lies to agitate is an unfortunate tool being used by the Obama campaign.

    And as for right-wing nonsense, indeed there is plenty to go around, unfortunately. It discredits honest criticism. Then again, being labeled extreme or radical is standard fare for those of us who own firearms, champion scrapping the Ponzi scheme of Social Security in favor of a system not designed to fail, and highlighting that 9/11/2001 was a simple continuation of the war that raged on 9/11/1683 in Vienna.

  • Oldflyer

    Nice try Dagon. However, my 12 year old twin grand children give absolutely no indication that they consider their grand parents out of touch on most subjects. But, clearly they have been led to believe by something in their Southern California environment that sporting a McCain-Palin bumper sticker would be declasse and might open them to ridicule.

    No matter. I am proudly wearing my McCain-Palin ball cap. So far no Obama supporters have taken his advice to “get in my face”. If that begins to occur I may also wear my .38. Fortunately, I have that right in Virginia.

  • Allen

    Astroturfing, on a post about astroturfing. Y’all crack me up.

    Some signs of astroturfing.

    1. Passive Aggressive: “you certainly can’t relate.” Or, my all time favorite, “you don’t understand the nuances.”
    2. The Questioning Relativism: equating one behavior to another, posed as a question.
    3. Devolving to details: quickly confuse the issue and structure the argument over the details of regulations and laws.
    4. Assuming things not in evidence: what is stated is true, and “everyone knows this.”

  • Ellie2

    Allen, nice try but no cigar:

    “Astroturfing in American English is a neologism for formal public relations campaigns in politics and advertising which seek to create the impression of being spontaneous “grassroots” behavior, hence the reference to the artificial grass, AstroTurf.

    “The goal of such a campaign is to disguise the efforts of a political or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. Astroturfers attempt to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both overt (“outreach”, “awareness”, etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by an individual pushing a personal agenda or highly organized professional groups with financial backing from large corporations, non-profits, or activist organizations. Very often the efforts are conducted by political consultants who also specialize in opposition research.”

  • gd

    5. Making irrelevant lists to avoid actually having to address on the merits a given issue being discussed.

  • McLaren

    LOL

  • dagon

    oldflyer,

    well that begs the question of why are you trying to discuss the nuances of this election with a couple of 12 year olds?

    would they even be able to even relate to what mrs. palin has to say?…….

    wait a minute, they probably would…

    peace

  • Allen

    Ellie2, I meant in the context of here and now, with some of the earlier comments.

    Oooo, gd, I’m saying something irrelevant? There you go with that passive aggressive thing. See #3 and #4 also.

  • gd

    Allen, I am happy to disprove your claims without being as vague and roundabout as you were with your list–it appears some people didn’t get it.

    To address the points directly, I didn’t claim others didn’t understand the nuances (adding to your list, clue 6: promulgating lies). Also, equating two equivalent things but using a question mark doesn’t change their equivalence (i.e., 1 + 2 = 3 versus “one plus two equals three, doesn’t it?”). If Bush’s push polling or anti-Obama PAC ads are not similarly dirty trick campaign tactics, then explain how. Additionally, I’m not sure what details or laws I’m “devolving” to, since I didn’t cite any and asked whether laws were broken in order to understand the outrage (clue 7. see clue 4). Sometimes details actually do matter, by the way. Finally, I do not believe that I assumed anything, but I’m sure that you will seek to set me straight.

  • Allen

    No, gd, I’ll go with the way you operate. It’s just questions that need to be answered. Why did the Obama campaign question the paternity of Palin’s youngest son? Why would Obama try to distort who was the father? If anyone thought Obama cared about families why would Obama denigrate Palin’s family?

    You need to answer these questions.

  • dagon

    allen

    No, gd, I’ll go with the way you operate. It’s just questions that need to be answered. Why did the Obama campaign question the paternity of Palin’s youngest son? Why would Obama try to distort who was the father? If anyone thought Obama cared about families why would Obama denigrate Palin’s family?

    they didn’t! this is just more fantasy from you allen. when palin’s camp was asked who exactly was disparaging her family, all she could come of with was, “some blogger from kos, andrew sullivan, and howard gutman”

    also, i recall obama immediately going out nationally and stating to his surrogates that these sort of inquiries were off limits. so, what the hell are you talking about?

    http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/09/palin_claims_obamabiden_democr.php

  • Mike Devx

    Does the posting of a YouTube video constitute a campaign ad? If it does, then it is subject to Federal election law and has violated the law. Probably it doesn’t.

    Even if it is presented as if it were an ad, and is very professionally done, and uses a voiceover that already does appear in Obama campaign ads.

    It might be worth pursuing, however. As the Jawa report states:
    We assume that if some group paid for the production of the video, that it would be reported to the FEC. Not doing so, we believe, would constitute a breach of federal campaign law.

    OK, I’m done. Out
    Mike Devx

    PS – No political group assisted me in the production of this comment, nor was paid to produce this comment for me.

  • Allen

    No dagon, I don’t need any evidence I can just assume it. That’s my whole point. Do you get it now? An Obama supporter said it, therefore: Obama did it.

    Good grief, I clearly stated that I would go with the way gd would assume things. Take it up with that poster. I followed their mode of thinking.

  • Ymarsakar

    The key here is that PR firms can reach out from the shadows because nobody sees into the shadows and you can’t hit what you can’t see.

    Thus, the PR firm, like anybody else, becomes free to attack, attack, attack without any fear of retribution or the caution with which that fear produces.

  • Ymarsakar

    You need to answer these questions.

    You know what’s funny, Allen. The Left likes to talk about America not needing to fight fire with fire, yet the Left are masters at fighting what they see as fire with their own self-considered hotter fire. It’s only we, the people, that needs to be disarmed and be unable to fight fire with fire.

  • McLaren

    dagon said:

    also, i recall obama immediately going out nationally and stating to his surrogates that these sort of inquiries were off limits. so, what the hell are you talking about?

    Yeah, and the shelf life of that policy was what, about 72 hours?

    Howard Gutman, a member of Barack Obama’s national finance committee, appeared on The Laura Ingraham Show Friday and involved Palin’s children in politics:

    “If my daughter had just come home at 17 years old and said, ‘Mom, Dad, I’m pregnant, we have a family problem,’ I wouldn’t say, ‘You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to take this private family problem … I’m going to go on the international stage and broadcast it to the world’,” he said.

    Gutman later added: “If you take a daughter who’s got this emotional strife and subject her to the most intense scrutiny of the world at this time in her life, I think you’ve put your career above your family.”

    http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=1328

    We’re still waiting for B. Hussein Obama to fire Gut[less]man.