The Tory sock-puppet banner-backing bullshit-bleating bonanza

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 6, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Thursday, September 6th, 2007
at
11:46 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

Ladies and gentle-persons, I’d like to begin by asking a question of the bloggers in the audience…

If you were presented with a press release from your party of choice, would you:

a) Ignore it

b) Regurgitate it verbatim on your blog (perhaps with a few extras), giving no sign that the bulk (or all) of your content came from a press release

c) Regurgitate it verbatim on your blog (perhaps with a few extras), with a clear indication that the source is a press release

d) Spend a small amount of time (10 minutes should do it) investigating the content and/or claims within the press release and use your judgement from there

Got your answer? OK, let’s move on to this press release from the Conservatives, the bulk of which is repeated here as a ‘news’ item.

Below is a key passage; please note that it comes direct from the press release and not the ‘news’ item:

Nine different adverts will be placed on fifteen different sites over the next five days. These sites include Facebook, Lycos, daily national newspapers plus many other web distributors. The total number of viewers should be approximately 21 million. Each of the nine adverts outline specific policy ideas and are interactive – clicking on the advert takes you through to Conservatives.com.

And here’s how that content appeared on Iain Dale’s website:

Nine different banner adverts are being placed on fifteen different sites over the next five days. These sites include Facebook, Lycos, daily national newspapers plus many other web distributors. The total number of viewers is predicted to be 21 million. Each of the nine adverts outline specific policy ideas and are interactive – clicking on the advert takes you through to Conservatives.com.

And here’s how it appeared on the weblog of Councillor Tony Sharp:

As Iain Dale reports, there will be nine different banner adverts placed on fifteen different sites over the next five days. These sites include Facebook, Lycos, daily national newspapers plus many other web distributors. The total number of viewers is predicted to be 21 million. Each of the nine adverts, similar to the one below, outline specific policy ideas and are interactive – clicking on the advert would take you through to Conservatives.com.

[Heh. For added entertainment, watch Councillor Sharp describe me as a “Gordon Brown’s sockpuppet” under this very same post.]

Oh, and Tim Montgomerie had this to say:

Nine different ads will appear over the next five days on sites including Facebook, Lycos and national newspaper websites. The nine themes will be…

1) Baa-aa-aaaaaa!

2) Bah, humbug!

This is being billed as “new type of campaigning” and “a totally different approach to campaigning”, when it’s no such thing. FFS, there was laughter in 2001 when people were describing skyscrapers (that’s a tall banner to you and me) as a “new” and “bold” approach to online communication.

There’s nothing new about this.

At the head of this post are scraps of a very similar campaign that Labour ran for their conference in 2004… three years ago.

And in terms of voter engagement, be it via print, television or banner ad, it’s about as impressive and as clever as a used-car salesman who becomes ‘famous’ because of the advertising he pays for.

The BBC, who have to deal with constant bitching from the Tories about bias, will not doubt get some stick for pointing *some* of this out in their treatment of the press release… shame on them for not regurgitating it verbatim!

The Guardian should also expect a hammering for their shameful inclusion of the words “difficult summer”.

Sky News gives it an airing here, adding a veneer of scrutiny… though only the cynical would attribute this soft peddling paddling to Andy Coulson’s ongoing connections with the Murdoch network. You may also note that the item also got an on-air airing on Sky, including vox-pops from… erm… Iain Dale and Tim Montgomerie. (Montgomerie gains extra points for viewing the initiative with a critical eye and – *gasp* – actually acknowledging past online mistakes. Dale follows with some gentler criticism, but please note his determined reinforcement of the message that this somehow proves that the Tories are finally leading the way… at something.)

And, my goodness, just look at the Torygraph daring to undermine the message with this little number (the highlight is mine); “The Tories claimed their internet campaign is the first of its kind by a political party.”

I hate to be difficult and interrupt the narrative, but we’ve been hearing a lot from Tory bloggers about how mainstream media is letting us down, and how MSM representatives are far too cosy with the powers that be. Tory bloggers will constantly assure readers that, for the hard facts without spin, you should first turn to a (Conservative) weblog… and yet, in this instance, the only parties party to parroting party propaganda are… Tory bloggers.

Pathetic, isn’t it?

They’ll be claiming to have stolen the march on Stalin next.

[Psst! I’d like to clear up something about this that may confuse you… The Tories plainly have a willing network of mindless ‘bloggers’ who will spout any old nonsense fed to them, so why spend all this money on banners? Quite simply, it’s because the Conservatives’ “new” and “totally different” approach to blogging clearly isn’t as far-reaching and is influential as they make it out to be… no matter how many of them pretend to be several different people and/or representatives of other parties.]








4 Comments

  1. Sim-O says

    I got as far a b) and just knew there had to be a link to Iain Dale somewhere

  2. Justin says

    I think you're being slightly unfair here, Tim. The Tories deserve a pat on the back for finally discovering the joys of the animated GIF.Good luck to 'em, I say! With a bit of luck they might just get the hang of this blogging lark in the next ten to fifteen years.

  3. Garry says

    I can't believe the BBC had the gall to question the spurious claims of the Tories. Disgraceful bias…And did you see the Gran's correction?"Contrary to the claim made by the Conservative party and repeated in the article above, the advertisements are not the first online-only political campaign by one of the main parties"Heh!

  4. Manic says

    Why so they have:http://politics.guardian.co.uk/conservatives/stor…Disgraceful!

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