In recent years, liberals have begun to push back on and expose the myth that the media is liberal. Websites like Media Matters have done a wonderful job of exposing right wing bias in the corporate media. Likewise, we have had some success in exposing massive corporate funding of astroturf campaigns like the Tea Party, which is controlled by groups like Dick Armey’s Freedom Works and funded by oil industry billionaires, the Koch brothers. The media still tends to portray the Tea Party as a legitimate grass roots movement while ignoring the control exercised by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and corporate operatives who manipulate middle class Americans into supporting policies that are detrimental to their interests.
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, 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?
Here are some prominent recent examples of right wing/corporate attacks on Democrats from the “left” by alleged Liberals/Democrats/Green Party/Immigrant Rights Advocates:
1. Republican Runs Street People on Green Ticket - Unfortunately, Democrats may not have the corporate funding to bankroll a third party to run against Republicans from the right. Indeed, it is hard to imagine who would be to the right of folks like Rand Paul. Any more right, and they would be goose stepping in brown shirts.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Benjamin Pearcy, a candidate for statewide office in Arizona, lists his campaign office as a Starbucks. The small business he refers to in his campaign statement is him strumming his guitar on the street. The internal debate he is having in advance of his coming televised debate is whether he ought to gel his hair into his trademark faux Mohawk.
Mr. Pearcy, 20, is running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission, which oversees public utilities, railroad safety and securities regulation. Although Mr. Pearcy says he is taking his first run for public office seriously, the political establishment here views him as nothing more than a political dirty trick.
Mr. Pearcy and other drifters and homeless people were recruited onto the Green Party ballot by a Republican political operative who freely admits that their candidacies may siphon some support from the Democrats. Arizona’s Democratic Party has filed a formal complaint with local, state and federal prosecutors in an effort to have the candidates removed from the ballot, and the Green Party has urged its supporters to steer clear of the rogue candidates.
2. Rand Paul Staffer Reportedly Goes Undercover As A Liberal To Shake-Up Democratic Rival's Campaign – Where have we seen this before. An anonymous “liberal” saying that they are ambivalent about a Democratic candidate challenging a right wing extremist? Indeed, they may even threaten to stay home because the Democratic candidate simply is not liberal enough.
A staffer working for Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul's campaign was called out on Tuesday for reportedly pretending to be a progressive blogger in an allegedly stealth attempt to undermine the campaign of the Republican hopeful's Democratic challenger, Jack Conway.
According to the Daily Kos, a progressive blog and online community, Thomas Kubica, a paid intern for Team Paul, has on multiple occasions taken to the site to express his views on the contentious Senate fight under false pretenses.
Jed Lewison writes:
Paul campaign's front desk confirmed Kubica's status as a paid intern on Tuesday morning.
Kubica registered at Daily Kos under the pseudonym "Huey Long" and has repeatedly posed as a progressive Democrat who opposes Paul but does not believe Conway is worthy of support.
3. Univision Will Not Air Latinos for Reform Ad Telling Latinos Not To Vote - The Latinos for Reform sock puppet campaign struck me as particularly offensive, since a Hispanic Republican GOP operative was coordinating a campaign to suppress the Hispanic vote in the Harry Reid/Sharron Angle race.
Earlier today, ThinkProgress reported that Latinos for Reform — a Republican 527 group — purchased an $80,000 buy on Univision to air ads urging Nevada Latino voters not to vote. We urged Univision not to air the ads. The network, which heads the non-partisan Latino civic participation campaign, Ya Es Hora, has decided to do the right thing and not broadcast the ads. A Univision spokesperson told ThinkProgress:
Univision will not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting. It is also important to clarify that while Mr. Robert de Posada has on occasion provided political commentary on Univision, representing one of various points of views, he is not in any way affiliated with Univision. Univision prides itself on promoting civic engagement and our extensive national campaigns encourage Hispanics to vote.
Univision’s decision likely has something to do with the fact that Robert de Posada wants to tell their viewers that the best way for Latinos to exercise their political power in support of immigration reform is to stay at home this November — a message that runs counter to its own GOTV efforts. ThinkProgress did some digging into de Posada’s group, and here’s what we found.
To begin with, the group’s 8872 form lists the same P.O. Box number as the one belonging to the Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann Foundation, an organization founded by the chairman of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), Roy F. Hoffmann. For those who don’t recall, SBVT was another 527 group formed during the 2004 elections aimed at opposing Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) presidential bid by distorting and misrepresenting his war record.
4. Mortgage Bailout Infuriates Tenants (And Steve Forbes) - Hey! Freedom Works can run an astroturf campaign on behalf of poor renters against elitist homeowners complete with a faux grass roots looking website! My goodness! It looks like that website was generated out of someone's rented studio apartment!
WASHINGTON -- AngryRenter.com looks a bit like a digital ransom note, with irregular fonts, exclamation points and big red arrows -- all emphasizing prudent renters' outrage over a proposed government bailout for irresponsible homeowners.
"It seems like America's renters may NEVER be able to afford a home," AngryRenter.com laments. The Web site urges like-minded tenants to let Congress feel their fury by signing an online petition. "We are millions of renters standing up for our rights!"
Angry they may be, but the people behind AngryRenter.com are certainly not renters. Though it purports to be a spontaneous uprising, AngryRenter.com is actually a product of an inside-the-Beltway conservative advocacy organization led by Dick Armey, the former House majority leader, and publishing magnate Steve Forbes, a fellow Republican. It's a fake grass-roots effort -- what politicos call an AstroTurf campaign -- that provides a window into the sleight-of-hand ways of Washington.
The housing crisis has sparked broad financial and economic distress. The House of Representatives responded last week by passing a bill that would provide up to $300 billion in federal insurance to help refinance troubled mortgages. President Bush has threatened to veto it, calling the measure a reward for speculators. On Thursday, key Senate Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement in principle on a compromise housing-rescue bill.
This week, officials from FreedomWorks, the organization behind the site, delivered to Senate leaders antibailout petitions signed by 44,500 people who clicked their agreement on AngryRenter.com, at least some of whom thought its grass was real.
5. 'Limbaugh Effect' Softens Blow For Hillary Clinton - Who can forget the PUMA John McCain supporters that was spread in the media and on Democratic blogs?
Approximately 25% of Clinton's voters in Mississippi were Republicans voting for a candidate they hate in order to try to undermine Barack Obama. Obama's 61-37 margin of victory in Mississippi would have been around 70-30 without Clinton's Republican voters, and Obama would have easily expanded his delegate win there from 19-14 to 24-9.
In the voting during January and February, Republicans were an average of 3.8% of the voters in the Democratic Primary, and they heavily supported Obama. But for the primaries in March, in Texas, Ohio, and Mississippi, Republicans have been 8% of the voters in the Democratic primary, and now they heavily support Hillary Clinton. This is definite proof of the "Limbaugh effect" coming through. Overall, 1.36% of the voters in the January and February primaries were Republicans who marked their ballot for Clinton; yet, 5.67% of the voters in the March primaries were Republicans voting for Clinton. Barack Obama's Republican numbers in the March primary showed only a modest increase, probably from moderate Republicans who shifted their support to Obama once John McCain's campaign was assured of victory.
In Ohio and Texas, 9% of the voters were Republicans, and they split almost evenly between Obama and Clinton. These votes, more than doubling the percentage of Republican voters in earlier primaries, gave Hillary Clinton a big advantage since Obama typically won more than twice as many voters as she did in previous primaries. In other words, about 3% of the voters in Ohio and Texas were Republicans newly voting for Hillary Clinton out of purely tactical reasons, to try to ruin the Democratic race.
6. Rep. Charles Bass (R) aide resigns for fake website postings - Here is another tactic, professing luke warm support for a Democratic candidate, but expressing "concern" about the prospect's poor prospects of winning.
A top aide resigned from U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass's office in Washington yesterday after admitting he posted misleading messages to political blogs using a government computer, Bass said.
Tad Furtado, Bass's policy director, posted messages under the screen names IndyNH and IndieNH professing support for Bass's Democratic opponent, Paul Hodes, but discounting his chances of winning in November.
Furtado's actions were exposed after two bloggers traced the postings to the House of Representatives's computer server and Bass's office investigated.
Bass said he had no knowledge of the postings before last week and that Furtado, who's worked for him for eight years in several jobs before becoming policy director, had violated office policy.
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