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Astroturfing on the public teat

From Hot Air:

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, will release a report today that claims that the Obama administration has created propaganda using federal funds to promote the agenda of Barack Obama and the Democrats. The charges would violate laws intended to separate politics from governance, which if substantiated would create a big problem for President Obama — assuming Congress wants to take this up as an issue.


Issa’s report looks at past propaganda from Republican and Democratic administrations, including those of Ronald Reagan, FDR, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, and concludes that the scope of Obama’s efforts far outstrip anything seen in modern administrations. He starts with the NEA controversy, which blew up last year and ended with Yosi Sargent’s resignation as NEA Communications Director. But Issa doesn’t stop there; he also specifies charges of propaganda from the Department of Justice:

In October 2008, the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) added Tracy Russo to direct the Department’s “new media efforts.” Russo, the Chief Blogger and Deputy Director of Online Communications for the John Edwards for President Campaign,58 was given the title “New Media Specialist.”59 Since October, Russo has served as the author of the Justice Department’s official blog.60

Shortly after Russo was hired, reports surfaced that indicated she was covertly attempting to shape public opinion by searching online for articles, blogs or other entries critical of the Administration and then anonymously, or through the use of a pseudonym, posting comments to those sites attacking the author or contents.61

The blogging and campaign communities refer to this propaganda tactic as “astroturfing.”62 Astroturfing is the action of using fake and anonymous postings on message boards and blogs to push a point of view or to create the appearance of grassroots support for a particular agenda.63


If the Democrats lose control of the House, Issa will hold the chair of the Oversight Committee and will have subpoena power. He then will also have the ability to ask for a formal GAO investigation of the White House’s activities in politicking rather than governing, and that will put a dent in Obama’s allegedly-illegal reach for his re-election campaign. It’s one of the ways that losing these midterms will mean difficult days ahead for this administration, which will be entirely self-inflicted.

Issa is a millionaire and a wingnut extraordinaire (he personally financed the recall of California’s last Democratic Governor, Gray Davis) but facts are facts.

I recall asking recently who was paying the salaries of Obama’s Troll Army these days. It looks like I may have my answer – we are.

Did Obamanation really expect the Congressional GOP to roll over and play dead? You’ll never hear “Impeachment is off the table” coming from the lips of a GOPer.

Yes, Hot Air is a wingnut blog. Do you think the Journolistas are gonna touch this story with a 10-foot pole?



48 Responses

  1. Don’t think of it as propaganda, MyIQ, think of it as a stimulus program for access bloggers.

  2. hahahahahahahahaha!

    It would be hilarious if something “simple” brought down BamBam.

    War Crimes? Feh.

    Torture? Feh.

    Civil Rights? Double Feh.

    I suspect Issa will be declared a slobbering racist in no time.

  3. Our Noble Peace Price President Obama will be keeping us in the WARS for possible another decade on both fronts and The New York Times posed the question of Yemen possibly being the third WAR? 😯 Peace president my foot!

    Gen. Patraeus Questions Afghan War Deadline http://tiny.cc/iwoh0


    Iraq’s Top Military Officer Wants US Troops for 10 More Yrs http://tiny.cc/en326

    • Those wars are our biggest exports . We ain’t going anywhere, we are exstanding our markets!

      • The WARS are costing us dearly, in human loss, funds and in the ill will they seem to be garnering due to the corruption that is still in place in both countries.

        Sadly the Status of women is on the decline in both countries and in Afghanistan the women are under such oppression that they are setting themselves on fire than continue to live under such oppressive circumstances.

        • We can’t bring the troops home. If we did, think how bad the unemployment stats would look! 😦

  4. who’s surprised ….look how the Dem party was hollowed out. It’s the Chicago way to soak up every dollar and outsource on another’s dime. I’d be shocked if they didn’t use fed money…call it Acorn on steroids! A natural progression of the cancer

  5. Oh wow…

    Digby decided to post about this.

    And naturally, poo-poos Issa for being clever enough to complain about things Bush did too.


    TOO BAD DIGBY!!!!!! Pelosi said impeachment is off the table!!!!!!!!!

    That’s what democrats get.

    • Digby is/was a Journolista.

      Her membership in that now-defunct listserve coincides with her loss of credibility over the past few years (even though we just learned of her membership her credibility has been in free-fall for a while)

  6. Talk about wasted tax dollars – Obama is down to a 42% approval rating – an historic low!

  7. I wonder what Russo’s salary is…and what kind of favors she may have done for the Obama campaign either while employed by the Edwards campaign or after that campaign ended to be rewarded with this position. She would have had access to some, um, er, interesting info.

  8. Hairy Reed:

    All summer long, Reid’s small army of young, eager staffers has bombarded Nevada voters with unflattering, sometimes distorted allegations about Angle. They have scoured old newspapers, government transcripts and video archives for anything she has said or done that might be turned against her. In television and radio ads, Reid’s aides have tried to create and then exploit perceptions that Angle is a dangerous reactionary.

    It has not been especially difficult work. Angle, a “tea party” favorite, has said many controversial things in her years as a politician. A conservative who is deeply skeptical of government, she called for a phaseout of Social Security and proposed eliminating the departments of Education and Energy. Most recently, Reid claims to have uncovered information that links Angle to an obscure political movement called Christian Reconstructionism, which holds that government should rule according to biblical law.

    “What this material shows is who Sharron Angle really is and what makes her tick,” Reid spokesman Jon Summers said.

    It might also be said that the material shows who Harry Reid really is: how much money and manpower the powerful incumbent has to throw around (his campaign has $9 million in cash on hand); how far he is willing to go to turn voters against Angle; and how, as a result of his efforts, the unpopular senator has revived his chances of reelection in a year when most voters say they don’t want him in the Senate anymore.

    Opposition research is standard operating procedure in modern politics. But for Reid, painting Angle as crazy has become an essential function of the campaign. The state’s soaring unemployment rate and his own lack of voter appeal have left him one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.

    He is gaffe-prone, as when he said recently that he didn’t know “how anyone of Hispanic origin could be a Republican.” And in an anti-incumbent year, Reid has chosen not to run on his credentials as one of Washington’s most powerful politicians. Instead, his campaign strategy has been to use his formidable resources to diminish his opponent rather than to promote himself.

    You would think the Senate Majority leader could run on something better than “The Republican candidate is worse!”

    • If the GOP had not been taken over by its crazy wing and become the Elephascist Party, this strategy would not stand a snowball’s chance in Hell.

      As things stand, it probably will work in some races.

      The only question is–will it work in enough of them to prevent a GOP takeover of, at least, the House?

    • The Nevada race is puke. And after all that money, and having a candidate that normally would not win under any circumstances, Harry is even with Angle. Only the Tea Party people will vote.

  9. I suppose using government funds to astroturf your critics is marginally better than, say, using the IRS to harass them. Obama 1, Nixon 0. Inspiring.

    • Yeah, but Nixon’s health plan was better – so the score is tied.

      • And not to be nitpicky, but with the insignificant extrajudicial killings thing, things are looking up in Whittier….

  10. Obama & astroturfing?


  11. Thanks for this, myiq-I was dying to post a link to the Hotair story..

  12. Did Obamanation really expect the Congressional GOP to roll over and play dead?

    Yes. 2008 was easy, except for Hillary and her supporters. They really did expect the GOP to roll over and play dead.

  13. Of course it’s hypocrisy from Isa to complain – W had entire departments and faux commercials paid from taxpayers money.
    That being said, Obama had the chance to reveal, punish this behavior. he instead chose to emulate it, raise to a new level – and he is obviously responsible for that.
    Anyway, now I got finally what a B0bot is babbling about

    These MUTHERFUCKING Media Pieces Of Fucking Garbage
    Had no problems whatsoever plastering pictures of Chimpy with a bulging codpiece and a plastic turkey. And they had no problem shoving these images down your throat until you spewed. But NOW…NOW they have problems with the legitimacy of White House images??? Oh, now, all of a sudden they get religion and have problems because they claim they can’t verfiy (sic) the authenticity??? Really?? Oh FUCKING REALLY? They are going to fucking play it like that, are they? Mutherfuckers. If I could, I swear, I would bludgeon the fucking corporate media to death with a spiked fucking club. Those fuckers. Those fucking fucker fuckers.
    link to the orange cheetos follows

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