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PR Firm Behind Al Gore YouTube Spoof? 777

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the new-intarweb-trolls dept.
mytrip writes to tell us ABC News is reporting that a supposed amateur video posted to YouTube.com may have actually been designed and posted by a Republican public relations firm called DCI. From the article: "Public relations firms have long used computer technology to create bogus grassroots campaigns, which are called 'Astroturf.' Now these firms are being hired to push illusions on the Internet to create the false impression of real people blogging, e-mailing and making films."
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PR Firm Behind Al Gore YouTube Spoof?

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  • The Linux Penguin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by keesh (202812) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @06:15PM (#15856508) Homepage
    Isn't that the Linux penguin? And isn't said penguin trademarked and copyrighted?
  • Makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thisnow1 (882441) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @06:17PM (#15856521)
    When I first saw the goofy cartoon, it seemed like no "real" person would've spent the time to make something so dumb. I really hope whoever threw it together got to fleece that PR firm in "production fees" for something so silly- then at least something good would come out of this.
  • Re:Disclosure? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 06, 2006 @06:36PM (#15856578)
    Drat. I can't tell if the parent post is a serious flame or a very subtle joke about astroturfing.
  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @06:40PM (#15856591) Journal
    The news report said that Exxon denied any knowledge. DCI, the PR firm, says it does not disclose the work it does for clients.

    I bet we could find out lots in discovery if both Exxon and DCI were to be sued for trademark and copyright infringement (you'd need discovery to make the linkage to Exxon).
  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918@@@gmail...com> on Sunday August 06, 2006 @06:46PM (#15856608)
    "Burn, baby, burn. That's a beautiful thing." -- Enron trader, on the California fires

    "Can you smell money?!?!?!" -- Jack Abramoff

    "People of YouTube, I am one of you, believe my message: Facts are boring, therefore Al Gore is lying, QED. Watch more cool videos, and ignore reality... Just keep filling those tanks!" --toutsmith

    I'm not saying Al Gore is completely correct, but at least I'm not hiding an agenda.
  • Re:The Linux Penguin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Null Nihils (965047) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @06:47PM (#15856609) Journal
    Yes, that's the Linux Penguin.

    I was intrigued to see that Roblimo has posted this video to YouTube, after he saw the astroturf video in the Slashdot submission bin:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y08z9QMe0o [youtube.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 06, 2006 @06:51PM (#15856628)
    ""Public relations firms have long used computer technology to create bogus grassroots campaigns, which are called 'Astroturf.' Now these firms are being hired to push illusions on the Internet to create the false impression of real people blogging, e-mailing and making films.""

    Can You Tell Which Photos Are Real? [popsci.com]
    Take these quizzes to see how well you can spot digital tampering
  • Why is this news? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DavidinAla (639952) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @06:56PM (#15856639)
    So what? What's the big deal if someone was paid to produce this? That's just a normal part of politics. I'm a libertarian, so I'm not crazy about Gore OR his GOP opponents, but both of the major parties have partisans who create such material. Leftist organizations such as MoveOn.org try to get people to create buzz about web sites or videos that push their point of view. What's so surprising (or wrong) about some right-wing organization or person doing the same? It's just another attempt to get an opposing point of view into public consciousness. The fact that it was done anonymously on YouTube makes is smarter.

    With that said, I think it's very poorly done. I'm not talking about the amateurish production values, but rather the weak (and unfunny) content. I'm a skeptic on global warming, but the piece just isn't effective in lampooning Gore.

    David
  • Re:The Linux Penguin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Baricom (763970) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @07:04PM (#15856664)
    Permission to use and/or modify this image is granted provided you acknowledge me lewing@isc.tamu.edu and The GIMP if someone asks.

    Source: http://www.isc.tamu.edu/~lewing/linux/ [tamu.edu]

    I don't have a YouTube account. Anybody want to ask toutsmith where the penguins come from?
  • CMD vs DCI? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by andphi (899406) <phillipsam@gma i l . c om> on Sunday August 06, 2006 @07:10PM (#15856678) Journal

    "They want it to look like this came from someone who really believes this, who is really critical of Al Gore and global warming," Farsetta said.

    There's an interesting assumption here: that the people criticizing Al Gore believe what he has to say but don't want to admit it - that Big Oil, Big Business, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, etc. are lying when they say that they don't think "global warming" is happening. Or alternately, that only the "little people" can have valid opinions on the subject.,/p>

    How does that make sense? If I, as an average citizen, espouse the opinion "Al Gore is a boring, irrelevant blowhard", I am being honest, but once I do something like rise to the presidency of my company or amass more than a million dollars in personal net worth, suddenly a statement like "I think Al Gore is a boring, irrelevant blowhard" is disingenuous?

  • well... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spongman (182339) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @07:16PM (#15856698)
    Gore may well be a boring old fart, but these images [globalwarmingart.com] are pretty interesting...
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @07:20PM (#15856704) Homepage

    There are wierder online PR things. See the Megaphone Desktop Toolbar. [giyus.org] This is a piece of software designed to pump up pro-Israel responses in online polls and blogs. The toolbar pops up "alerts" when some central site sends them out. Nothing new there. But when it tells the user about a poll, the options are to vote their way, automatically, or not to vote at all. Site-specific scripts do the voting for you. Cute.

    It is supposedly distributed on behalf of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs [standwithus.com]. That's a new development - government sponsored adware. But that may be a fake endorsement. The "gyius.org" site itself has a "cloaked domain", and the "standwithus.org" site with the endorsement has phony domain registration info. There's no real contact info for either. There's an EULA with no real company name, and mention of a remote update capability. So this may be some clever scheme to get people to install adware/spyware.

    Somebody in the security business or the press really should chase this down. There's been an article in The Globe and Mail [theglobeandmail.com], but it's not about the technology.

  • by Junta (36770) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @07:25PM (#15856720)
    If we are playing the whole intellectual property game (which we conveniently like to do when someone we *don't* like pulls this stuff), did they:
    -Get the permission of DC to use the likeness of 'The Penguin' in making over Al Gore?
    -Get the permission of Marvel for using X-Men 3 imagery?

    So they managed to rip off the Linux logo, and both of the major comic publishers, they really wanted to piss geeks off...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 06, 2006 @07:25PM (#15856721)
    DCI also runs Tech Central Station [techcentralstation.com], a website frequently referred to by Slashdot and its readers [google.com]. DCI's client list includes AT&T, Intel, Microsoft, and many others [sourcewatch.org]. According to their own website [dcigroup.com], they specialize in "Corporate Grassroots Campaigns" and "Internet Communications and Mobilization". They helped the Swift Boat attacks [sourcewatch.org] on Kerry and now this astroturf attack on Gore. To TCS' credit its not like they hide who owns them [tcsdaily.com].

    The lesson is, be skeptical. Don't trust someone or somebody unless they give you a good reason to do so. Don't trust me - click the links above.
  • Never forget (Score:1, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @07:36PM (#15856752) Homepage Journal
    The man said Republican PR firm. I know it's easy to say "well, they all do it", but there are certain levels of ugliness to which only one side will go. Things like torture, secret prisons, domestic surveillance and war profiteering are generally not the products of Democrats. This video, as with the Swift Boat nonsense and other horrors, are very specifically Republican phenomena. It's worth remembering...
  • by Herschel Cohen (568) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @07:45PM (#15856778) Homepage Journal
    The ABC News item cited could not even be ranked as a tepid follow up to the print article that appeared a day earlier. Moreover, a great deal of interesting facts were left out of the linked version, e.g. there were Google ads directing viewers to view the animation that suddenly disappeared when the source of this video seemed to be disclosed. Furthermore, Google is not disclosing the source of the ads. One is strongly made to wonder about the possible tight relationship to parties more interested in propagandizing their views than simple reliance upon facts. Note this was all in the Wall Street Journal original piece but strikingly absent from the latter TV <i>News</i> exposition.

    The WSJ has some great writers, just skip the editorials and art reviews.
  • Thanks DCI! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AlXtreme (223728) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @07:57PM (#15856815) Homepage Journal
    Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I hadn't heard about An Inconvenient Truth [youtube.com] before. Thanks to DCI and the youtube trailer, I think this is one movie worth watching, if only due to Katrina and the massive heatwaves over the US and Europe this summer.
  • Re:{old,new} news (Score:2, Interesting)

    by foobsr (693224) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @08:08PM (#15856848) Homepage Journal
    Honestly admiring you that you have kept your optimism, and I am not cynical here.

    CC.
  • by abb3w (696381) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @08:25PM (#15856882) Journal

    The non-comercial nature of this video, and the way in which the trademark is used is unlikely to create that sort of impression, so no trademark violation here.

    While IAmNotALawyer, I believe that if (as alleged) the video was produced as paid propoganda, even if the distribution was non-commercial it would then be hard to argue in court that the use was non-commercial.

    The image is also protected by copyright but the copyright owner says: "Permission to use and/or modify this image is granted provided you acknowledge me lewing@isc.tamu.edu and The GIMP if someone asks." The key bit here being "if someone asks".

    So (my puckish [boldoutlaw.com] side chortles), if one calls the firm rumored to have done the work [sourcewatch.org] and ask them if they used this image in the video, it would seem they must either admit to doing so (which they apparently are loathe to do), or deny it... violating the use license and (ergo) copyright. That could be a problem....

  • Re:CMD vs DCI? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by epiphani (254981) <epiphani&dal,net> on Sunday August 06, 2006 @08:32PM (#15856913)
    I have a challenge for you.

    Provide me with -ONE- peer reviewed article that says that global warming isnt taking place.

    Also - I've done some research on this - of the vocal "scientists" that argue against global warming, all but one that I've read about was or is on the payroll of big oil. That one scientist that isnt - argues against everything. He still argues that smoking doesnt cause cancer.
  • Re:Disclosure? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @08:41PM (#15856936)

    I totally agree with you, however it seems that making people feel responsible-guilty for the global warming is even cheaper that building nuclear power plants and it gives the opinion the illusion of having found a solution to the problem.

    Hey, let's buy a Hybrid car to make ourselves feel better about that problem and let's not even pay attention to the fact that in our country we use coal power plants as some countries use nothing but nuclear power plants and wind mills.

  • Re:Obvious? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by intnsred (199771) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @09:09PM (#15857006) Homepage
    I agree. The oil companies and right-wing have poured millions for many years into discrediting global warming and environmentalists in general. This has been profusely documented.

    What's surprising is if this can be linked directly to the Republican Party. After all, we know they worked many ways to undermine the last two national elections [gregpalast.com], but a direct link to dirty tricks like this would be hitting an all-new low. (As if cooking elections isn't low enough.)
  • Re:well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @09:28PM (#15857038) Homepage
    How many times does it have to be said? The fact that the earth is warming is not, by itself, without precedent. It's the *rate* at which the earth is warming that's so alarmingly unusual.
  • by meburke (736645) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @09:28PM (#15857040)
    The reason that this crap works is that most of the citizenry is unable to follow a valid argument, neither on an informal nor formal level. Informally, can you distinguish between the 83 Rhetorical Fallacies? (Read "Attacking Faulty Reasoning" by Damer, if it's not too much work. Did you notice the three Rhetorical Fallacies contained in my first sentence?) In his book, "Dumbing Us Down", John Taylor Gatto http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/ [johntaylorgatto.com] says that if you picked up a 5th grade book on Rhetoric or Arithmetic from the 1850's, some of the content is equivalent to what is now being withheld until college.

    And think about this: Al Gore's movie is built on the same premise; that people are too stupid and/or too lazy to follow rational argument. Another example would be Michael Moore's movie. While he claims that there are no "factual" discrepanciews in his movie, Moore's presentation of relying on out-of-context snippets and arrangements bypasses any rational thought, and promotes a whole movie of ad hominem argument. Moore could be the most successful propagandist since Hermann Goering.
  • by contrar1an (976880) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @09:44PM (#15857080)
    So, Al Gore makes a one-sided movie, pretending to be a documentary. His opponents make a spoof pretending to be a grass roots effort.

    Slasdot readers accept the first as "truth". The second one gets slashdot readers up in arms.

    What have we _really_ measured by this experiment?

  • Re:Obvious? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by dammy (131759) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @10:13PM (#15857145)
    Why in the world would the "oil companies" give a rat's ass about "man made" global warming in the first place? Demand is not going to go down, supply is limited cuz the tree huggers won't let them drill in new areas, so they are going to make the huge profit regardless on what "scam of the year" folks are believing in.

    The only people scared they are going to LOSE money is those bellying up to the government teet for research on global warming. If the public finds out it's junk science made up to scare them into pushing for even more bigger government that will taxe them more, it's adios to that grant money.

    For me, I'm waiting on Honda's FCX based vehicle http://world.honda.com/news/2006/4060108FCX/ [honda.com]. Not because of the scam of "global warming", because I rather have my independence from big oil and those who think I should be put to death for being a Pagan. Yes, I know it's slow using solar to seperate water into hydrogen and Oxygen, but it's far better then Paying $3.25 @ Gallon with those people making a profit off my misery. And I get to screw the government out of taxes on fuel when I make my own.
  • by SEMW (967629) on Sunday August 06, 2006 @10:50PM (#15857240)
    I dislike arguing against a position unless I completely understand that point of view (Hell, if I don't completely understand a point of view, how do I know it's not correct?).

    So can one of the climate change skeptics around here tell me exactly which stage of the following logical chain it is you disagree with? Who knows, you might even convert me if your argument is convincing.

    One. It is fact that burning fossil fuels gives out carbon dioxide. The amount can be calculated from the amount of fossil fuels burned. This goes into the atmosphere, and since the rate at which the World's fauna is converting this back into Oxygen is reasonably static (or even decreasing, since we're cutting down vast amounts of the rainforest every year), the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will rise.

    Independant confirmation of this is given by...

    Alternative One. The fact that carbon dioxide levels are rising has been measured many times by laboratories around the globe (e.g. http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/8/88/Mauna_ Loa_Carbon_Dioxide.png [globalwarmingart.com] for one example). This rising is far above the usual cyclic fluctations due to ice age cycles (see http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/d/d3/Carbon _Dioxide_400kyr_Rev.png [globalwarmingart.com]).

    Two. It is fact that greater levels of carbon dioxide lead to greater trapping of the Sun's energy. This is settled science, and can be independantly confirmed by anyone with a cylinder of carbon dioxide, a temperature probe, and an inquiring mind.

    Three. Greater trapping of the Sun's energy will lead to a reasonably predictable rise in global average temperature. The calculation is not hard once you know the relevant specific heat capacities. Again, should the logical chain not be enough, there is independant confirmation of this from temperature stations around the globe, which fairly closely matches predictions made using the previous links in the chain (e.g. http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/f/f4/Instru mental_Temperature_Record.png [globalwarmingart.com]).

    Four. It is fact that water expands when heated. The calculation is, again, easily performed, and will lead to a rise in sea level, which will cover predictable parts of the world, especially affecting places like Bangladesh (where large areas of the country are less than one meter above sea level). The rise in temperature will also lead to the glaciers receding, and higher sea temperatures will also increase the number and severity of hurricanes. Ocean currents will also be affected, severely changing the climate in parts of the world which depend on them.

    Climate change sceptics are happy to look at the predictions of that last point and say that it's rubbish. But when I look at the points, I see a reasonably watertight chain of logic. So which point are you disputing?
  • by SEMW (967629) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:21AM (#15857438)
    >I for one find the whining about fossil fuel burning and climate change to be the same sort of sad, illogical drone as that emanating from Kansas on the topic of evolution.

    In this, I entirely agree with you. However, you seem to be a bit confused as to which way round the analogy works. In Kansas, all the scientists are united on one side (evolution) against those who have an external reason for disbelieving it (the Bible doesn't support it). With the climate change debate, all the scientists are united on one side (climate change exists) against those who have an external reason for disbelieving it (the oil companies will make less profit if people start to try and combat it).

    Don't believe me that all scientists are united on the side that it's climate change exists? You don't have to. Pick up ANY scientific journal -- Nature or Science are rather dense for non-scientists, so try New Scientist or Scientific American or any one of countless others. Attend scientific conferences. Go to lectures. Look at the graphs. Read the reports produced by any of the major scientific bodies, either US-based or international. Or the G8. Or the UN. They all say the same thing.

    >The inability for the reader to understand the science means that magical forces must be at play.

    The ability of someone to igonore all debate, evidence, and logic in favour of mechanically asserting that they are right certainly exists, but is more psycological than magical.

    The simple fact is the sun is a variable star. The earth has been both hotter and colder than it is currently, all without the intervention of man.

    True, it's called the ice ages (incidentally, it's not yet considered settled that the cause of them is the variability of the sun). However, the problem is that the current changes are far above the usual cyclic fluctations due to ice age cycles (see http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/d/d3/Carbon _Dioxide_400kyr_Rev.png [globalwarmingart.com]). Ice age CO2 fluctuations are historically between 180 and 270 ppmv; it is now 385. As you'd have known if you'd read my original post and at least attempted to answer it, which you clearly haven't.

    Lets remember that you get what you pay for. Pay for a bunch of yes men academics to produce papers saying what you want isn't the same as real science.

    Who on Earth is paying scientists to produce evidence showing that climate change exists? No-one stands to benefit in the least. Are these strange people paying the entire, vast scientific community around the world? Is this some sort of global consipracy?

    Don't be ridiculous. The academic papers are being produced by scientists trying to bring the issue into the wider understanding. If you want an example of people paying to produce material on a side of the issue, I suggest you consult TFA.

    The one thing you still seemingly refuse to do is answer my original post. In case you can't find it, it's still at http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=193278&cid=158 57240 [slashdot.org]
  • by mrraven (129238) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:39AM (#15857474)
    ...shove it where the sun don't shine

    And I call bullshit on the fundamental premise of your post, there is a difference between "owning" (which is really just existing) your body and the very basic housing you need to survive and "property" which can be unlimited in it's extent while other people suffer in great misery. Native Americans for example "owned" their own bodies, tools, and houses with no idea whatsoever of the abstraction of a possible infinite accumulation of property.

    Economists in my opinion are the rationalizers of the great evil of 10 percent of the U.S. population owning as much as the bottom 40% of the poorest people in the world. Paying people less than a dollar an hour while your have billions as Phil Knight who owns Nike does is evil.

    http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/10/2KZ5.html [forbes.com]

    No Phil is not 10,000 times more "productive" than one of his workers in Vietnam who works in stifling hot conditions for 12 hour shifts with few bathroom breaks so she can go back to a tiny shack and a plate of beans and rice.

    As far as I'm concerned by providing the intellectual version of spin in fancy charts and statistical analysis that are based on on fundamentally flawed premises economists serve much the same function in society as Nazi propagandists like Goebbels did, i.e. putting a happy face on misery and destruction. And what are some of these false premises?

    1. Economics is predicated on the idea of infinite expansion and in fact it's necessary for the economy to function. Clearly this is a fallacy because infinite expansion is not possible on a finite planet. Why is infinite expansion part of economics, because banks when they give out loans by creating a loan account in essence create money out of nothing, and that newly created money must be paid back by expanded production or the whole pyramid scheme of bank financing collapses because banks loan out more money than they have in savings and checking accounts.

    2. Currency speculation can expand the money supply without actually creating more productive activity. This in turn leads to bubbles like the Asian financial crisis, the great depression, the dot com bust, and the current perilous housing market are just 4 examples of. Thus fundamental instability in capital financing again leads to great suffering throughout the world.

    3. Pure capitalism leads to monopolies which destroy the competition that Adam Smith's self organizing principles of economics are based on. Yet most supply side economic theory does nothing to reign in pernicious monopolies and their distorting effects on society. Do I really need to talk about Microsoft here on slashdot? Look up Bechtel, Haliburton, Shell in Nigeria, Coke in India, Union Carbide in Bhopal, Nike in Vietnam, and when you have read of the great suffering these companies have caused feel free to shove your charts and graphs up your ass.

    4. Pure capitalism has no easy way to quantify externalities and thus encourages pollution as long as the pollution doesn't directly damage the property owners own property.

    5. Closely related pure capitalism cannot distinguish destructive activity from non destructive activity except through the wild guess of "opportunity cost." Thus for example war by the U.S. and Israel is very profitable for Boeing the Carlyle group and their friends and guess what again causes great suffering in the world. And rebuilding the destroyed societies as vassals of U.S. multinationals is also a "gain" for the GDP.

    So if your claim that I made a "typo" is based on some economic terminology I'll pass and use my own terms thanks.

    I also recommend you read "The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism"

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1887208038/002-02 04872-9747219?v=glance&n=283155 [amazon.com]

    Where a Stanford business school PHD takes down the fundamentally flawed assumptions in contemporary economic theory that underpins the globalist juggernaut.
  • Re:Obvious? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Serveert (102805) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:40AM (#15857476)
    "Political TV ads always have to say who paid for them. I don't see how a video posted to youtube would be any different."

    "The best PR goes unnoticed" is apt in this case. PR firms wouldnt survive if you knew who paid them.

    Read this [prwatch.org] for more information about how PR companies shape America.


    In fact, the most emotionally moving testimony on October 10 came from a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, known only by her first name of Nayirah. According to the Caucus, Nayirah's full name was being kept confidential to prevent Iraqi reprisals against her family in occupied Kuwait. Sobbing, she described what she had seen with her own eyes in a hospital in Kuwait City. Her written testimony was passed out in a media kit prepared by Citizens for a Free Kuwait. "I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital," Nayirah said. "While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die."83

    Three months passed between Nayirah's testimony and the start of the war. During those months, the story of babies torn from their incubators was repeated over and over again. President Bush told the story. It was recited as fact in Congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows, and at the UN Security Council. "Of all the accusations made against the dictator," MacArthur observed, "none had more impact on American public opinion than the one about Iraqi soldiers removing 312 babies from their incubators and leaving them to die on the cold hospital floors of Kuwait City."84

    At the Human Rights Caucus, however, Hill & Knowlton and Congressman Lantos had failed to reveal that Nayirah was a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family. Her father, in fact, was Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait's Ambassador to the US, who sat listening in the hearing room during her testimony. The Caucus also failed to reveal that H&K vice-president Lauri Fitz-Pegado had coached Nayirah in what even the Kuwaitis' own investigators later confirmed was false testimony.
  • Double whammy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aepervius (535155) on Monday August 07, 2006 @01:10AM (#15857524)
    Not only this is paid propaganda which, despite being uncovered by some media, will cast some shadow on al gore (first effect) but this will cast a shadow on any future internet grassroot movement (second effect). Call me paranoid but I have the feeling, seeing how the political flows and ebbs are in the USA right now, that this side effect may has well have been sought for... Think about it : eliminating or hindering grassroot campaign can only be a win for both party enabling them to canalise any politic debate toward what they wish (aka : all usual campaign talk directed toward the public) while diverting people from what they don't want to speak about (Irak, erosion of liberty, illegality of of certain governemental action etc....).
  • Re:Obvious? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2006 @03:06AM (#15857774)
    Just so you don't look stupid in future, here's an explanation of Astroturfing - posted by you (here): [slashdot.org]

    You're not an astroturfer if you tell people you work for the company.

    An "astroturfer" is an employee or executive who is paid by the company to pretend he's just an ordinary schmuck who just happens to be really, really impressed with the company or their products, creating the artificial impression of strong grassroots support, hence: astroturf (meaning, fake grass.)


    Just doing my bit to help you out - I can't stand seeing fellow republicans looks so fucking stupid.
  • Re:Why is this news? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WiFiBro (784621) on Monday August 07, 2006 @06:16AM (#15858007)
    There are valid reasons people look at it that way.

    Have a look at a climate summit and see the so-called grassroot organisations with the there-ain't-any-human-influence glossy folders, then do some research and find out that they are frontgroups of the oil industry.

    I'm more in the genetic world than in the climate scene, and in this world it is SO common that pro-GM sounds turn out to be astroturf. Recent example:

    + INDUSTRY FUNDED LOBBY GROUP IN CURITIBA
    Among the pro-biotech lobby groups active in Curitiba, Brazil, at the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety meeting and the Convention on Biological Diversity, was the Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI) - a pro-GM lobby which fielded over 40 representatives, mostly picked from the developing world and trained and scripted by PRRI, to promote identical goals to those of industry. Although PRRI poses as the voice of public sector researchers, its leading lights have close links to the biotech industry which is also among PRRI's financial backers, as is the US Grains Council, which represents the interests of US producers and exporters of GM crops.
    http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=6336 [gmwatch.org]
    http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=6356 [gmwatch.org]

    Or what about the staging of African 'independent' scientists in favour of GMO?

    There are even trainings in astroturf:
    In Australia they actually train people to set up fake grassroot organisations.
    http://www.overlandexpress.org/183_wilson.html [overlandexpress.org]

    The organisation this whole topic started with, who seems to be behind the (really bad) video, organises fake grassroot stuff: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=DCI_Gro up [sourcewatch.org]
  • Re:Obvious? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by a_nonamiss (743253) on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:38AM (#15858271)
    I am making this comment as a politically netural statement of fact.

    LIBERAL != LEFT.

    In our current state of politics in the United States, traditionally classified liberals tend to lean towards leftist ideas, but for some reason we seem to think the two are synonymous. They are not.
  • by 955301 (209856) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:03AM (#15858343) Journal
    What do you think Public Relations is? One of the "fathers" of modern day public relations, Edward Bernays wrote a book. It's called.... Propoganda. And the entire context is how to help a company or politician spread their message or product.

    It's actually an interesting read: http://militant.org/files/propaganda.pdf [militant.org]. It will only take a couple of days and give you insight into where modern day techniques originated from. Adolf Hitler, the American bacon for breakfast campaign, a lot of things that are popular today are so as a result of this book and this man.

    The frontal assault doesn't work reliably on people any more - everyone who wants to be effective any more has to be somewhat manipulative.

  • Re:Obvious? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by packeteer (566398) <[moc.noisnemidbus] [ta] [reetekcap]> on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:52AM (#15858578)
    First of all you are mixing modern "liberal" phrases with a time in our country that jsut does nto add up. You analogy is not very good.

    Slavery was never a very good way of doing business. I wrote a paper in college breaking down the economics of slavery and let me tell you it was not that profitable. Depending on the era the slave was bought (import of new slaves was outlawed before slavery was abolished but smugglers still got them into the country) a young male slave would often cost from $40,000-50,000 in 2006 dollars.

    Over the course of their lifetime they would produce enough goods to make it worth their original expensive but there were complications. Slaves would run away, get sick, die early, or be injured. Also minor sabotage was very common such as slaves intentionally using their hand tools incorrectly in order to break them (one example is while they were turning soil if they found a rock with their hoe they might break their tool over the rock and claim it was just an accident). Very few people ever afforded to buy slaves with cash and almost 100% of slave owners were in debt due to the loans for buying slaves.

    So why did the south want slaves so much if it not only did not produce a good profit and also put them into debt? The answer is that the slave owners were building a way of life. They did not only care about their bottom line which is a business is run today. The slave owners were setting up and maintaining a society where the whites where at the top and even if they were not technically rich on paper they had a comfortable lifestyle living off the work of slaves. Even if someone was never able to pay off their debt they were trying to enter the plantation class which was actually a very small number of people. The poor whites defended the slave owners because it was the dream of many people to eventually become a plantation owner.
  • by Valdrax (32670) on Monday August 07, 2006 @10:37AM (#15858863)
    Even if someone was never able to pay off their debt they were trying to enter the plantation class which was actually a very small number of people. The poor whites defended the slave owners because it was the dream of many people to eventually become a plantation owner.

    Boy, take away the racism and slavery, and not that much has changed, has it? Think of all the people up in their ears in debt today, fired from well-paying jobs that were offshored and now working two minimum wage jobs that fiercely oppose progressive taxation and demand flat taxation or consumption taxes or demand an end to estate taxes that will put most of the burden on themselves.
  • Re:Obvious? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Valdrax (32670) on Monday August 07, 2006 @10:39AM (#15858878)
    Needless to say aside from his brilliance as a president in a time of war, his economic policiies were a such a disacster that we are still recovering from them today.

    Yes, we are certainly recovering from a time of prosperity and financial certainty and returning to the more natural state of depression and fear of crippling poverty that preceded his disasterous policies. Whew! Thank goodness!

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