PROP MAIL – “Parenting” The Occupy Protestors.

A new email is circling from the Right, written by a woman who claims to be a parenting expert, but clearly knows very little about the economic situation in the country. In it, we see some of the patterns that makes PROP MAIL so successful.

Just as Right Wing Radio can, on its surface, be wonderfully entertaining until you realize what’s behind all the bombast, so too can these emails make a lot of sense, until you read them closely.

In this email, Marybeth Hicks decides to parent the Occupy Protestors because clearly their parents didn’t do this (though I might suggest that protesting inequality and fighting for rights for everyone shows good parenting, but I digress.)

* Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice – that everyone should be treated fairly – is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want.”

No matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they’re dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons . Is it fair? Stupid question.

* Nothing is “free.” Protesting with signs that seek “free” college degrees and “free” health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don’t operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers and “slow paths” to adulthood, and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.

While I’m pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens. Real people with real dollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.

* Your word is your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don’t require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It’s a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for – literally.

* A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York, while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn’t evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don’t dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high and you don’t seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.

* There are reasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gouged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn’t a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It’s not them. It’s you.

Let me start at the end, because one thing I have noticed is a common trait of all these PROP MAILS, is that there is a concrete fact that is not actually a fact. The fact might be at the beginning of the email or here it is the kicker that makes the whole email valid.

Recent reports suggest that the unemployment rate is closer to 9%.

The last report from the Department of Labor indicates that the unemployment rate in Connecticut for people with associate degrees increased to 9.7 percent versus 8.8 percent last year.

But more discouraging for the youth is the fact that unemployment among recent college graduates is shockingly high.

Estimates suggest that 1 in 3 recent graduates are unemployed. Complicating this statistic is the fact that many jobs the average graduate is finding advertised are administrative in nature, with responsibilities such as “scanning and faxing documents” or “keeping conference room shelves stocked.”

33% unemployment is a big difference from 4% and it’s probably a better number to use.

What’s also remarkable about these emails is that the often make great points for the Progressive Community. In this one the author goes on and on about how police officers aren’t free and trash hauling isn’t free and yes, that’s true. Which is why we all need to pay taxes to pay these people right? Crickets.

There is one thing about this email that is better than most. Unlike Matt Patterson, Marybeth Hicks does actually write for The Washington Times.


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Let’s Just Lie — Romney’s FIRST Ad Just Lies!

It’s going to be a looooong and nasty campaign season. Here is Mitt Romney’s very first ad, now running in New Hampshire:

19 seconds into the ad you hear Obama saying, “If we keep talking about the economy we will lose.”

So you’d think this Romney ad is using Obama’s words against him, right? But the clip is Obama quoting someone else. In the 2008 campaign Obama’s opponent John McCain said that, and Obama used McCain’s words against him. Romney’s ad quotes Obama, making it sound like Obama was the one who said it!!!

If the Romney campaign starts with a flat-out, bald-faced, “pants-on-fire” lie, where will it go next?

And the election is a year away.

Update: To illustrate the point, Think Progress uses “Romney’s own words,” the same way Romney used Obama’s:

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Let’s Just Lie — ‘Occupy Shooter’

The latest corporate/conservative media smear on the Occupy movement (but just the latest of a long list) is that the deranged person who shot at the White House is somehow “tied to” Occupy.

First, a few facts. Last Friday Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez fired several shots at the White House. According to reports, Ortega-Hernandez believed that Obama was “the devil” and “the anti-Christ” and that he “will not stop until it’s done.” More recently a video has shown up in the news in which he says, “It’s not just a coincidence that I look like Jesus. I am the modern-day Jesus Christ that you all have been waiting for.”

It was reported on Wednesday that investigators had determined that Ortega-Hernandez had “no connection” with the Occupy movement.

In trying to determine why he recently traveled to the nation’s capital from the western part of the country, investigators searched the Occupy D.C. campground near the White House but have found no connection between him and the Occupy protesters, according to three law enforcement officials familiar with the case.

One of the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing, said the motive for the gunfire might have been simple anger: Ortega-Hernandez “hates the president, he hates Washington, he hates society,” the official said.

But one thing we know about the corporate/conservative media disinformation machine is they just lie.

Politico: An Occupy shooter?

Wall Street Journal: Networks Ignore Reports That White House Shooter May Have Spent Time at Occupy D.C.

FOX News: Man Linked to ‘Occupy’ Protest Charged With Attempted Assassination of Obama

FOX News: ‘Occupy’ Protestors Honor White House Shooter with Moment of Silence

Rush Limbaugh: Guy Who Shot at White House Lived in Occupy DC Camp

NRA Radio: NRA Radio Smears Occupy Movement With White House Shooting (Media Matters)

International Business Times: White House Shooting Suspect Linked to Occupy Rally?

Glenn Beck claimed the hooter was involved with the Occupy movement.

Human Events: Occupy DC Protester Shoots At White House With Assault Rifle

Brietbart: Could a Possible #OccupyWallStreet Connection Explain Lack of MSM’s White House Shooting Coverage?

Breitbart: >Predictable: New York Times Buries White House Shooter’s #Occupy Connection

RW Blogs:

White House Shooter & Occupy DC Protester Oscar Ortega-Hernandez Arrested in PA

Is Oscar Ortega, White House Shooting Suspect, Connected to Occupy DC?

Park Police: Suspect arrested in WH shooting might have spent time at Occupy DC protests

White House Shooter Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez OccupyDC participant?

And dozens of others. That’s how they do it: make shit up, spread it around. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

See also: Think Progress, Media Matters.

Posted in Let's Just Lie, Propaganda, Smears | Tagged | 1 Comment

Let’s Just Lie — ‘Americans are lazy’

Watch this Rick Perry ad that starts with a flat-out lie: The President thinks that what is wrong with America is that Americans are lazy.

David Weigel at Slate has the story in, No, President Obama Didn’t “Call Americans Lazy”,

The clip that begins the ad is taken completely out of context. It’s from a Q&A at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. The question, and the answer, were about the government’s role in making America a more attractive place to invest, not about the relative get-up-and-go of Americans.

QUESTION: I think one related question, looking at the world from the Chinese side, is what they would characterize as impediments to investment in the United States. And so that discussion I’m sure will be part of whatever dialogue you have. And so how are you thinking about that?

OBAMA: Well, this is an issue, generally. I think it’s important to remember that the United States is still the largest recipient of foreign investment in the world. And there are a lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity — our stability, our openness, our innovative free market culture.
But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America. And so one of things that my administration has done is set up something called SelectUSA that organizes all the government agencies to work with state and local governments where they’re seeking assistance from us, to go out there and make it easier for foreign investors to build a plant in the United States and put outstanding U.S. workers back to work in the United States of America.

Start getting used to this sort of thing. You’re going to see a lot of it.

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Prop Mail – The Flea Party

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so too is the nature of the people protesting you. A Tea Party email is going around today depicting the Tea Party as nothing more than a group of wonderful Americans who love their country who just feel gosh dog it that maybe we pay a bit more in taxes than we should.

On the other hand, there is what is now being described with great glee as “The Flea Party” – this is the branding being put forward about the Occupy Movement.

Let’s not forget that the Tea Party is the one who has the lovely bumper sticker with a noose and the line “Support Bush” and a number of other equally racist and pro-violence claims, “We Came Unarmed. This Time.”

We should also consider that Tea Party rallies are, compared to the current Occupy movement, few and far between and certainly don’t have hundreds or thousands of people camping out, in close quarters.

But this branding will work. We even see it in the coverage of the man who shot the automatic weapon at The White House; Fox News asking

Did White House Shooter Come From Occupy Movement?

This is the Right Wing Noise Machine World we live in. The people who carry the signs calling for concealed weapons, lynchings and telling people the President is a ‘nigga’, those are the patriots. The people who want health care for all Americans and want the banks to pay for their mistakes, well, they are anarchists.

Don’t be surprised if anarchists are not the new socialists, a favorite and wonderfully false claim on the Tea Partiers.

Final thought: ironically the Occupy Movement and the Tea Party share one very important trait, deep anger and uncertainty and resentment of where the country is. Both groups are saying enough is enough, it’s time to make changes. The two groups have far more in common than we might think.



Posted in Prop Mail | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Prop Mail – General Electric Moving Jobs To China?

This is a quick post about one of our new themes here at Smoking Politics, and that’s the use of email, usually slanted or down right false, as a communication target for the right.

Here is a perfect example – and consider that an email like this can reach literally hundreds of thousands of people in just hours.

The email implies that General Electric is closing an plant in the Midwest and moving the jobs to China. But what they are really doing as nicely debunked by Snopes is opening a facility in China that will result in no job losses in the United States.

But that’s not what you would get by getting this in your inbox.

“General Electric Moving Jobs To China.”

The whole email and the facts are here, courtesy of Snopes.

There are two other pieces of interesting messaging in here. First, the focus on Jeffrey Immelt, who is a life-long Republican and whose appointment by Obama drew criticism from the Left.

Second there is a very interesting anger at GE not paying U.S. taxes. In a right wing prop email, to have this as a criticism of Obama is fascinating, because, of course, both parties have contributed to the disgrace of corporations not paying U.S. taxes, it does not stretch credibility to say this is primarily a by-product of Republican priorities.




Posted in Prop Mail | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Bachman, Rove, Palin And The Right’s Increasingly Distant Relationship With Reality.

Steve Benen and Greg Sargent have written some pretty sharp and strong posts about Karl Rove’s Crossroads group and the ads they have been running, one of which is so blatantly false that it’s been taken off the air.

From Steve’s article, here is the low-down on the ‘claim’ of that ad that ran against Jon Tester.

In it, Tester is accused of supporting an Environmental Protection Agency rule — a rule that was never in fact proposed — to regulate farm dust. But the vote that the ad cites actually had nothing to do with dust or the EPA; it was a procedural vote on a measure aimed at cracking down on China for manipulating currency.

The poster child for the lack of fact-based politicking this cycle of course has been Michelle Bachmann who keeps saying things that are blatantly false and then really doesn’t bat an eye when corrected and just keeps going.

Steve and Greg’s articles detail the claims far better than I could, but I wanted to step back and look at how this clearly showcases the marketing strategy Dave and I have been writing about for five years. And how, with the downfall of traditional media, it’s getting worse and worse.

Imagine for a moment you were going to advertise a product, you were in charge of creating an advertising campaign for a car. Now, your car was slower, more expensive and used more gas than any other car. You’d kind of start wondering how to advertise this car right? Not if you are Karl Rove.

You know that you can claim this car is the ‘fastest in its class’ and maybe you would. And no one calls you on it. No one says ‘that is false.’ Sure people grumble and moan so feeling a bit emboldened, next year when the new model comes out, it’s “fastest in its class” and it’s “less than any competitor.” Now a simple fact check would show this to be false but you know, no one checks the facts.

A few years later, you can only imagine the advertising for this car. It will improve your sex life, cost next to nothing and cure cancer on the side.

The Right are becoming gluttons of disinformation and false claims. They are living high on the hog because after the success of the Swift Boat Veterans which compared to the Tester ad above seems like fact-based reporting, at least John Kerry was actually in Vietnam, the far right is going farther and farther afield from the facts.

Remember Sarah Palin’s false claim about Paul Revere?

The one that:

Even Chris Wallace cannot help laughing at this preposterous grifter. But creepier still is the fact that her cult followers responded to this perfectly predictable gaffe by trying to edit the Wikipedia entry on Revere to align it with Palin’s ramblings about his “warning the British” that … oh, let’s not even bother.

Check out this surreal Wiki page in which the cultists are trying to insist that Revere did indeed warn the British, and use Palin’s own quote as a source!

So now, this is the ultimate example of facts not matter. Caught saying something that is absolutely factually wrong, and clearly caught, well, then instead of admitting you are wrong, let’s change the fact.

Voter Emptor.


Posted in Marketing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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