This entry was posted on
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007 at
8:26 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.
The Register – Bloggers unite to save astroturfing for Mankind: In an all-too-familiar scene, bloggers, Slashdot readers and several news outlets were taken in by the hype surrounding a provision in the Senate ethics reform bill that would have required grassroots lobbying firms to register with the US Congress. Conservative direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie whipped the blogging community into a frenzied, and largely misdirected, opposition to the provision by trumpeting the section’s supposed threat to First Amendment rights, freedom, Mom and apple pie. Section 220 of the reform bill, the grassroots provision, was removed by an amendment prior to the bill’s passage late last week, largely because of a blitzkrieg campaign in the media, the blogosphere and on Capitol Hill by Viguerie’s advertising firm, American Target Advertising. Viguerie, for those not familiar with the tarnished panoply of backroom players in American politics, pioneered the use of direct mail techniques for conservative causes, and has been called the “funding father” of the modern conservative movement. His ad agency currently handles direct mail campaigns for non-profits seeking to stimulate grassroots activity or raise funds from the general public.
Note the clumsy wording in the legislation referenced later in the article (something to be worried about)… and note also the astro-turfer screaming ‘Freedom!’ as he works to undermine the free speech of others (something else to be worried about).
(Link via Toby.)
UPDATE – Heh. CuriousHamster puts it far better than I did: Here’s an example of a well-connected conservative manipulating the blogosphere’s anti-establishment sentiment in order to, er, defend the establishment. And it worked. Freedom! (to continue to spin, to manipulate, to misrepresent, to create fake grass roots, to drown out real voices with different views, and to make lots of money while doing so.) Remind you of anyone?