Too bad for those moguls--bloggers with Google just leveled the playing field!
The blogs got the story first, and the first news article was Mike Magee's in The Inquirer. Running a Google search turns up 31 identical letters praising the latest Bush tax cuts in identical language. Every single one denounces Democrats' "class warfare rhetoric"; every single one praises Bush for "genuine leadership." Of course, that count misses newspapers whose letters to the editor don't appear online. Could this be one enthusiastic person sending out a lot of letters? If so, it's hard to see why that letter got signed with 31 different names.
Magee's article hints at a spam-generating engine run by the Republican National Committee. Yup, he got that in one. I invite you to try your own experiment. Go over and sign up as a potential "team leader," then check out the form email letter they want you to send. Well, dog my cats, it is identical to the letter bloggers have noticed turning up in papers from Boston to Galveston.*
The blog world caught on last month to a similar scam. Last month's mass-produced letter got into 34 online papers, according to ME Cowan. These letters identically celebrated Republican success in the 2002 elections by praising "the historic majorities achieved by President Bush and Republicans" and lamenting that Bush initiatives had been "stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate."
Shooting down well-financed-fakers is exactly the kind of stuff we all hoped the Internet would help us do. Woo hoo!
* p.s. Magee's latest article includes a screenshot of the HTML form that generates this letter.