Thursday, December 30, 2010

On Astroturfing

For his film (Astro)Turf Wars, Taki Oldham secretly recorded a training session organized by a rightwing libertarian group called American Majority. The trainer, Austin James, was instructing Tea Party members on how to “manipulate the medium”. This is what he told them:

“Here’s what I do. I get on Amazon; I type in “Liberal Books”. I go through and I say “one star, one star, one star”. The flipside is you go to a conservative/ libertarian whatever, go to their products and give them five stars. … This is where your kids get information: Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster. These are places where you can rate movies. So when you type in “Movies on Healthcare”, I don’t want Michael Moore’s to come up, so I always give it bad ratings. I spend about 30 minutes a day, just click, click, click, click. … If there’s a place to comment, a place to rate, a place to share information, you have to do it. That’s how you control the online dialogue and give our ideas a fighting chance.”


Gene Rayburn said...

that sounds like a typical day for Canadiansense or Fred From BC.

bigcitylib said...

Pacheco (Flanders) at SoCon or Bust used to pray before bouts of poll freeping. Gave him strength.

Tof KW said...

Need I remind everyone here that there are people on the PMO's payroll that do this sort of stuff on the taxpayer's dime?

Rev.Paperboy said...

The PMO doesn't need to pay anyone to astroturf, they have the boobs in the Blogging Tories and other assorted rightwing internet loony tunes like Dodo and Hunter who would be absolutely honoured and thrilled and more than a little damp at the prospect of helping out a "great leader" strongman-type as they picture Stephen Harper to be.
Payroll? Ha! They probably dangle such an "opportunity" in front of some of these rubes as a fundraiser.
"For the gift of just $100, we will send you a special internet brownshirt kit of your very own, with a secret decoder ring, a 8x10 of our Leader in all his sweater-vested glory and how-to guide with ten easy ways to annoy LIEBRULS on the internet! For an additional $100, we will send you a copy of the CPC intruction manual on how to screw up committee meetings autographed by John Baird"

Gerrard787 said...

The Left are the original turfers, but with them it's "different"; so they claim.

DeSmog blog is financed by a wealthy British Columbian fronted by so-called "average" Canadians.

The David Suzuki Foundation has received many millions from American left-wing foundations, fronted again, by a well-liked Canadian.

Al Gore's AGW flacks have indoctrinated hundreds of vulnerable Canadians, mostly from TO.

And anyone remember when the Soros-funded IndyMedia was a going concern? Wow. Hundreds of sites around the world and every one as kooky and crazy as only the left can do so well.

Regarding Amazon, it's simple sorting out bogus reviews if you have basic reading comprehension skills.

bigcitylib said...

The folks at DeSmog put their funding sources right on their website. They don't claim to be anyone other than who they are.

Unknown said...

Shorter Paul S:

"I have no idea what "astroturfing" means."

Gerrard787 said...

Hardly BCL.

At no point does DeSmog state what their level of funding is from their "benefactor". Not does David Suzuki inform the public how much of his funding comes from American foundations.

Lenny, so you call some shmoe who goes on Amazon posting fake reviews "astroturfing"? Seriously?

The Left is perpetually paranoid about not being able to control all aspects of public debate.

bigcitylib said...

Now you changed your complaint from suggesting they don't let you know who their benefactor is to they don't let you know how much money he provides.

double nickel said...

Paul S gets an A+ for channel changing

ridenrain said...

I guess all those people who voted Conservative during the last election were paid also?

If anyone's reading this.. I'm still waiting for that plumb job appoinment at the CBC..

Gerrard787 said...

I didn't change my complaint BCL. I said:

DeSmog blog is financed by a wealthy British Columbian fronted by so-called "average" Canadians.

That's true.

Of course it's important to know how much funding is received by their "benefactor".

But it appears the same ethics you request of others doesn't apply to causes you believe in.

Unknown said...

Shorter Paul S.:

"I still don't know what astroturfing is."

"DeSmog blog is financed by a wealthy British Columbian fronted by so-called "average" Canadians.

That's true."

Except that's not true. John Lefebvre is listed as a co-founder on the website - there's no "front".

Gerrard787 said...

As John Lefebvre says himself on DeSmog:

"As one of the originators of the DeSmogBlog, and as its financial backer . . ."

And there's nothing wrong with that either, but transparency should be good for an issue no matter where you stand. However, this fact is buried in a blog post from years ago and does not appear in the "About Us" section.

double nickel said...

Paul, please stop now. We've already determined you're a goof. Don't make it worse.

Unknown said...

Shorter Dumstrum:

"Geez, I really don't understand what the word "astroturf" means."

Desmogblog "About Us":

The DeSmogBlog team is especially grateful to our benefactor John Lefebvre, a lawyer, internet entrepreneur and past-president of NETeller, a firm that has been providing secure online transactions since 1999.

Shorter ghost of Dumstrum Future:

"Hey, WTF does the word "benefactor" mean?"

Gerrard787 said...

Oh, looks like Dumb and Dumber have shown up.

Unknown said...

You never left.

Gerrard787 said...

Dumb and Dumber is two people Len. You've got company.

Unknown said...

I thought it was a description of Dumstrum's state both before and after consuming a Bud Light.

Gerrard787 said...

Gene and Lenny doesn't quite have the ring of Lenny and Squiggy, but it'll do.

Besides, the whole premise of this post is not even plausible. Any shopper on Amazon can quickly see ALL the reviews one person has left, and if they are spam, report them and they will be deleted.

Unanswered is why the left is always, and I mean always, paranoid?