PolySciFi Blog

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Astroturfing Campaign Finance Reform

I've long thought that McCain-Feingold was an abomination and a massive abridgement of the first ammendment (isn't protecting political speech even more important than protecting religious speech or Hustler?), that signing a bill that he said he didn't think was Constitutional that Bush was derelict in his duties as President (that whole thing about swearing to uphold the Constitution), and that the Supreme Court's approval of the law demonstrated the rank stupidity that inevitably comes when you take a non-textual/living Constitution view of the Constitution. (If you're keeping track at home, I was/am still pissed off at all three branches of government over McCain-Feingold.)

Well, now you can add one more source of annoyance. It was astro-turfed.

Via QandO and Instapundit, I learned of this NY Post article by Ryan Sager. In it Sager levels the following charges based on videotaped conversations with Sean Treglia.
1) There was no public groundswell for campaign finance reform.
2) The appearance of a groundswell was orchestrated by a group of 8 organizations (lead by Pew Charitable Trusts - "Serving the public interest" - Ha!) and pliant members of the liberal media like American Prospect and NPR (if you don't think NPR can be bought, check out this Kaus post)
3) This was further advanced by buying "independent" groups such as the Center for Public Integrity (I like Sager's descriptor of Orwellian names)

None of this is illegal, mind you.

I'm just very much annoyed at the 4th estate (make it 4 for 4) which saw fit to publish a large expose' on the Swifties connections to Bush based on a shared consultant (Spaeth), but couldn't be bothered to follow the money in something that was clearly intended to dramatically limit political speech in America.

Ryan Sager's blog - Miscellaneous Objections - has documentary transcripts and videos.

On a tangential note, I think what Sager did with this story is exactly what the media should be doing with blogs/online content - publish the story in print and provide documenting evidence/background info online for those who want to know more.

Hopefully others will pick up this strategy.

In the comments of QandO, shark suggests that it may be illegal due to the classification of Pew (and the other organizations) as charitable groups.


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