UPDATE MAY 2016
|Koch Bros & Heritage Foundation Troll|
UPDATE MAY 2015
Ignorant, peevish, narrow-minded, misinformed, livid, intolerant, they are an army of everything that's wrong with America, denizens of a weird trickster God who speaks to them with words they don't completely understand, or tints their natural interior wrath with righteous anger conferred by snake-oil preachers or haughty cable charlatans either crass or crazed, or just slyly in it for the money, or all of the above.
This minority wouldn't matter much except they are whipped into a frenzy and 'played' by cynical manipulators like Frank Luntz, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck who, in turn, wouldn't have much impact without the billions of dollars spent to spread their fetid message from such right-wing corporatists as Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers.
But beneath the second-tier video fictions of James O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart, and the hollow-headed bleating of the various ozone-inhabiting creatures who will never be president like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, and even in the shadow of the disingenuous theocratic mushpile that is David Barton’s twisted view of our history, exists a well-funded Republican netherworld of PR propagandists and marketing hucksters busy dreaming up unethical new ways to undercut Obama and the Democrats.
One of these is Doug Goetzloe, an anti-tax right-wing talk show host and former Young Republican who heads up Advantage Consultants. Here is the copy from one of his ads advising his conservative clients to ‘flood the zone’ on progressive sites:
“Are you ready for a blog attack?
“Get ahead of your opponent with Professional Blog Warriors.
“Be prepared to ‘flood the zone’ with comments from professionals who are ready to put your talking points on the blogosphere 24/7.
“Whether it's defense or offense, Advantage Consultants has a dedicated team of experienced blog warriors ready to advance your candidate or campaign.
“Why wait for the attack? Launch your attack with a battery of blog and forum comments aimed at all media and blog sites in your district.
“Contact us today and let us show you the Advantage in professional blog warfare.”
-- See the Advantage Consultants ad at:
Then there’s Chip Griffin, head of the now defunct NetVocates that planted comments as Advantage Consultants does back in 2005, and still a Republican activist and PR man who was once associated with the far-right TownHall.com. Griffin is no doubt back on the scene as a sock-puppet master for the 2012 elections -- it’s what he does for a living.
A poster named TomCADem recently made these points at Democratic Underground:
“However, what is often ignored are right wing/corporate funded political operatives generating attacks on Democrats from the ‘left’ while giving Republicans a free pass. Of course, these operatives do not announce their intentions, but instead simply launch attacks on Democrats from the left while largely ignoring the far more extreme positions of Republicans or suggesting that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. However, occasionally, such operatives are caught engaging in these fraudulent acts.
“The question in 2012 with Republicans and corporate American intent on taking back the White House, killing unions, and privatizing Medicare, [is] how far will Republicans and corporate propaganda groups go in their efforts to organize sock puppet attacks on Democrats from the left in order to undermine support for Democrats among liberals?”
-- Posted in “‘Liberal’ Sock Puppets – Right Wing/Corporate Operatives Attacking Democrats From The ‘Left’,” April 26, 2011.
How far? The GOP is desperate to enact their anti-democratic corporate agenda as quickly as possible as they know the general public is catching onto them -- they will go as far as mountains of corporate money and a total lack of conscience or ethics will take them.
Some on the progressive side are already well aware that the GOP is, and has been at least since 2005, mounting a large and well-funded campaign to plant phony 'progressives sick of the Dems' comments on various liberal sites to split the vote. Their masters know the psychology well: a percentage of the population, no matter what their politics, is 'suggestible,' meaning if they read a string of comments excoriating ALL Democrats as frauds and liars, that will become their opinion, if nothing to the contrary is offered. These 'suggestibles' are not necessarily stupid, but they do readily conform to whatever opinion is dominant. That's why the GOP, through their paid operatives, flood progressive sites with so-called 'former Democrats' and 'angry progressives' who do nothing but harp on how horrible the Democrats and Obama are. It's insidious and underhanded, but look at who's doing it -- the party of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. All of them were elected on a promise of jobs and better times, only to use their office to reward the wealthy with tax cuts and lucrative contracts privatizing public services at the expense of middle-class families who work for a living.
At one time, some of the 'tells' of the right-wing ‘sock puppet’ troll was their use of terms such as 'DemoRATS' or ‘Demonrats’ for Democrats, and their repeatedly calling Obama 'Obummer,' 'Obomber' or 'Obomba.' But they've mostly changed that language as actual progressives began to notice those repeated constructions and the fetid and simpleminded opinions attached to them. Some current 'tells' are when they don't mention the GOP at all, or claim both parties are just as 'evil,' or try to shut down the conversation with insults, or push readers to vote for any third party, or say that they'd rather vote for a Republican than a Democrat, or make statements with no factual basis, or refer you to a right-wing website to ‘confirm’ their assertions.
Incidentally, there is no comparable effort by the left: if you try to post comments opposing the GOP or corporatists at right-wing sites, in most cases you will quickly be banned from posting there and your comments removed. They aren't about to let the other side play their game on them, even if we had the money to fund such slimy baloney and the inclination to do so.
Our only protection against such ersatz assaults is to use our heads and common sense: if someone is a little ‘too’ enraged at Obama and the Democrats, be suspicious, especially if they never talk about Republicans. Ask them a couple of polite intelligent questions on the comment thread’s topic; if they respond by condemning or insulting you for questioning them rather than engaging you, they’re likely a sock-puppet troll; it’s in their nature to consider any question or disagreement as tantamount to treason. Also, if they keep reposting basically the same idea in one comment thread, they’re probably a sock-puppet troll; they’ve been instructed by their masters that repetition works. And don’t be swayed if they accuse you of being a ‘shill’ or ‘troll’ for questioning them -- they are trained to do that.
Finally, always remember: you can pretend to be a progressive, but you can’t pretend to be smart, and these paid ‘blog warriors’ decidedly aren’t.
"The key point is that ever since the Reagan years, the Republican Party has been dominated by radicals - ideologues and/or apparatchiks who, at a fundamental level, do not accept anyone else’s right to govern."
-- Paul Krugman, "The Politics of Spite," NY Times, Oct. 5, 2009.
© 2011 RS Janes.