The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Friday, July 31, 2009

John Kerry: Fraudulent Letters Advocate Delay

Well, we are used to anonymous people showing up in random comment threads who clearly know nothing about science that they didn't read in mass media who feel comfortable proclaiming themselves to be professors. It's practically an epidemic. You have to wonder what they think they are achieving by misrepresenting themselves.

"Oh, if I really *were* a scientist I *still* wouldn't believe this stuff, so I might as well pretend to be one..."?

But this is a new one. According to Senator John Kerry, via the Charlottesville (VA) Daily Progress:
[a] congressman’s office received at least six letters from two Charlottesville-based minority organizations voicing opposition to the measure.

The letters, as it turns out, were forgeries.

"They stole our name. They stole our logo. They created a position title and made up the name of someone to fill it. They forged a letter and sent it to our congressman without our authorization," said Tim Freilich, who sits on the executive committee of Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit network that tackles issues related to Charlottesville’s Hispanic community. "It’s this type of activity that undermines Americans’ faith in democracy."

The faked letter from Creciendo Juntos was signed by "Marisse K. Acevado, Asst Member Coordinator," an identity and position at Creciendo Juntos that do not exist.

The person who sent the letter has not been identified, but he or she was employed by a Washington lobbying firm

OK, really? What's the ethical argument here? "If I really *were* Hispanic I would still oppose Waxman, so it's OK to steal organizational letterhead and write to a congressman claiming to represent them"???

This isn't just a kid trolling the comment threads on the internet for earnest liberals to bother. This is a professional organization performing its duties to its client as they perceive them deliberately injecting noise into the governing process.

What do these people think they are achieving? How the hell do they sleep at night?

Is this for real? Here's a climate story for the mainstream media. Rake some muck, please.

8 comments:

David B. Benson said...

Otta be a law.

Michael Tobis said...

I think in this case there actually is one.

thingsbreak said...

This isn't just a kid trolling the comment threads on the internet for earnest liberals to bother. This is a professional organization performing its duties to its client as they perceive them deliberately injecting noise into the governing process.

What do these people think they are achieving?


You did read the part about this lobbying firm representing energy interests, right? Who knows how often this kind of stunt gets pulled and goes unnoticed. Among supposedly "undecided" votes on Waxman-Markey, the claim is that the phone calls were overwhelmingly from those opposed. If that's true (and of course that's an easy reason to vote against for any reason you like and claim that you were only doing your constituents' bidding), how many of those calls were from actual constituents and not from astroturfing efforts by energy/manufacturing groups?

The cost-benefit for these companies makes such disinformation a no-brainer, especially given the predisposition of a good half of the public to want to believe it in the first place.

How the hell do they sleep at night?

On high thread-count pillows would be my bet.

Rich Puchalsky said...

A good number of the trolls online are probably paid for astroturfers too. Why ignore new media? I don't think that people could be quite that stupid otherwise.

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

David B. Benson, Michael Tobis:

I say, find out who are responsible for this, sue all their pants off, and watch them scream persecution.

'But... but... as a law-abiding Democrat, I agree that forgery is totally wrong and totally illegal, but it won't be very nice to sue these people, because We Are Supposed To Reach Across The Aisle™!'

Yeah, right.

-- bi

King of the Road said...

Not really the mainstream media, but on my blog roll.

http://technozoic.blogspot.com/2009/08/coal-group-outraged-by-forgeries.html

Michael Tobis said...

Nice blog. I'm 'ascribing.

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

King of the Road:

The groups keep mouthing words about how "outraged" they are, but when it comes to concrete action to catch the guy(s) responsible... uh well...

-- bi