Pop Quiz

by Nathan Hamm on 8/19/2004 · 3 comments

What is the difference between these two images?

astroturf-bush astroturf-kerry

Well, the one on the left requires that you only need to be able to click on a green arrow to write your letter. The one on the right? You’ve gotta know how to cut and paste. Because computer illiteracy knows no ideological bounds, that pretty much guarantees the specimen on the left to be more effective.

The image on the right is only accessible if one goes through a registration process. Here’s a direct link. Just so you know I’m not yanking your chain, check out the image. The one on the left is open to the world. While either way is probably fine, there are consequences for choosing the path on the left. Yes, the consequence is that Kos, Sean-Paul, and others declaring Astroturf!.

Sorry guys, but clicking the green arrow isn’t what makes it astroturf. Talking points are talking points no matter the ideology. Using money to make supporters into “activists” is astroturf. Scoffing at the other guy when your own guy does it is more than a little disingenuous.

[Note: Kos & SP both googled phrases from Bush. I did the same with Kerry and nothing came up. Either “This Week’s Assignment” (what is this, Fight Club?) just came out or Kerry’s astroturf mill doesn’t work.]


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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 3 comments }

Martey August 19, 2004 at 1:30 am

Is it also possible that Kerry supporters eschew copy-and-pasting in order to write their own letters which paraphrase the talking points instead of plagiarizing them?

Nathan August 19, 2004 at 7:35 am

Certainly a possibility, though I am leaning towards the Kerry thing being new. Laziness knows no political bounds.

Mark Hamm August 19, 2004 at 1:25 pm

Interesting. What a greaqt political tool. Kos’s discussion is interesting on how editors see this. It would be a good idea if these ‘creations’ carried a disclaimer in the paper.

Concerning registration on the Kerry site, the Bush site seems to make registration voluntary, but I wonder if it would work if you don’t register? Or more likely Rove can actually look at anyone that goes to the site, kind of like Gore’s system to identify people that buy his book (Simpson reference).

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