Anti-Palin Astroturfers, You Just Got Dominated

Astroturfing in American English is a neologism for formal publirelations campaigns in politics and advertising which seek to create the impression of being spontaneous “grassroots” behavior, hence the reference to the artificial grass, AstroTurf.”Wikipedia

Here’s the intro from Michelle (or you can skip this and read the full outline here):

A collaborative investigative effort by our friends at The Jawa Report to expose an apparently astroturfed, anti-Sarah Palin smear campaign seems to have caused late-night panic in Barack Obama-linked p.r. circles.


First, read this. Read the whole thing. Rusty Shackleford — with help from Jane of Armies of Liberation, Stable Hand, the Jawa team, Dan RiehlAce of Spades, and Patterico – traced a Palin-bashing YouTube video to a Democrat public relations firm, Winner and Associates, and one of its employees, Ethan S. Winner. They believe the voiceover for the ad — which spreads the lie that Sarah Palin belonged to a fringe third party, the Alaska Independence Party — was done by a professional whose voice they believe was also featured in several Obama ads and other spots produced by Obama top strategist and astroturfer extraordinaire David Axelrod’s firm. 

The Bottom Line from the Rusty’s investigation:

While not conclusive, evidence suggests a link to the Barack Obama campaign. Namely:

* Evidence suggests that a YouTube video with false claims about Palin was uploaded and promoted by members of a professional PR firm.

* The family that runs the PR firm has extensive ties to the Democratic Party, the netroots, and are staunch Obama supporters.

* Evidence suggests that the firm engaged in a concerted effort to distribute the video in such a way that it would appear to have gone viral on its own. Yet this effort took place on company time.

* Evidence suggests that these distribution efforts included actions by at least one employee of the firm who is unconnected with the family running the company.

* The voice-over artist used in this supposedly amateur video is a professional.

* This same voice-over artist has worked extensively with David Axelrod’s firm, which has a history of engaging in phony grassroots efforts, otherwise known as “astroturfing.”

* David Axelrod is Barack Obama’s chief media strategist.

* The same voice-over artist has worked directly for the Barack Obama campaign.

This suggests that false rumors and outright lies about Sarah Palin and John McCain being spread on the internet are being orchestrated by political partisans and are not an organic grassroots phenomenon led by the left wing fringe.

Here’s the best part: IT’S A TRAP!!! Blogger Ace of Spades tipped the Obama campaign that a major story was about to drop about astroturfing:

Barack Obama and the DNC watch this blog. And I’ve put them on notice since this afternoon that a story about them was coming.

Within an hour of the story being posted, the videos began coming down. Within 90 minutes they were all down.

That’s a pretty fast response time. I didn’t mention Winner & Associates in my hints. So why would they be on notice?

I only mentioned Axelrod and Obama.

Fedpapers sums up the great ‘dissapearing’:

Ace warned about a major story breaking from Rusty, and even tipped people off to the approximate time it would be published. All they did was sit and wait for the expose. AJ’s right. They read it, realized they got caught, and immediately set about the task of covering their tracks. The problem is that people like Ace, Dan Riehl, andMichelle Malkin are night owls when it comes to major news. If this had been pure conjecture with no back up evidence, they would have shut their computers off and gone to bed. But the evidence Rusty provided was enough to prompt them to keep an eye on the YouTube accounts. At 12:42 AM Ace noted that “eswinner” logged into his YouTube accountBy 4:38 AM, all of the “winner” accounts were gone. Ace even noted that he didn’t mention Winner and Associates in his initial report of the scoop coming out. Obama campaign people were obviously watching to see which one of their stealth cronies was about to get exposed. Ace also notes that the KosKiddie who urged the scorched earth viral video astroturfing has been busy scrubbing the DailyKos diaries of his/her suggested strategy. Searching for it on the Kos site is futile because it’s gone. Um, note to the KosKiddie “geekesque” — you can delete the diary, but you can’t delete the cached page

New kind of politics, anyone?

Shocked and Stunned: Obvious Bigfoot Hoax turns out to be an obvious hoax


What?!? It was a bunch of bull-crap all along? Unbelievable…

So it really was a rubber suit.

The excitement over a supposed Bigfoot body that built all last week, culminating Friday in a circus-like press conference in Palo Alto, Calif., collapsed like a wet soufflé over the weekend as an independent investigator found out it was all fake. owner Tom Biscardi paid an “undisclosed sum” to Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, the two Georgia men who say they found the body, for their frozen corpse and the privilege of trotting them out in front of TV cameras.

At the same time, Biscardi sent self-described “Sasquatch detective” Steve Kulls back to Georgia to check out the body.

Kulls, it’s safe to say, was severely disappointed.


I feel strongly obligated to link to this crucial post covering the bigfoot story.

Iran Missile Update – Complete Hoax!

The whole story is turing out to possibly be one huge crock of crap. And yet there are people who still think that we should talk with these abject liars… What’s the point? They will not negotiate in good faith. Plain and simple.



This in from Drudge:

Fri Jul 11 2008 15:18:02 ET

Many of Iran’s claims related to missile tests during “Great Prophet III” war games — appear to be smoke and mirrors!

The missiles tested DID NOT not have 2,000-kilometer range, the NEW YORK TIMES is planning to report on Saturday. 

Iran DID NOT launch a Shahab-3 missile, able to reach Israel.

It was an older missile that was out of production, newsroom sources tell DRUDGE. 

And a video showing what appeared to be many missiles being fired — is actually one missile, filmed from different angles! 

NYT’s Bill Broad is planning to quote military insiders. 



This shouldn’t be a surprise – but it makes you wonder – what every happened to investigative journalism? The fact that the free press in the world thinks anything from Iran is not propaganda…

Update: It’s official – the whole thing was a bunch of crap. Here’s the full official report. (excerpt below)

WASHINGTON – Iran’s missile test this week did not demonstrate any new capabilities, according to a U.S. official familiar with the intelligence, and the test may not have included one of the longer-range missiles Iran claims was among those launched.

Iranian officials claimed the tests Wednesday and Thursday demonstrated a new variant of the Shahab missile that had a range of 1,250 miles. Such a missile would put much of the Middle East in striking distance, including Israel — as close as 650 miles from Iran — as well as Turkey, Pakistan and the Arabian peninsula.

The tests drew immediate criticism from U.S. officials. In Eastern Europe during the launches, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the missile tests underscored the need for a U.S. missile shield in the region.

But an independent national security blog,, Thursday analyzed video footage of the launch posted by the Iranian government. It determined the missiles were identical to a version of the Shahab missile first demonstrated in Iran in 1998 that has a known range of 746 miles.

In a post called “Same old Boring Shahab 3,” it compared the diameter of the missile to its length and found it to be identical to the 1998 version.

Unless the Iranians built a larger missile with the same length to width ratio, dramatically improved the thrust of the rocket or decreased its internal structural mass, the missile could not achieve the range Iran claimed it did. Otherwise, it is the same knockoff of North Korea‘s Nodong-1, according to the blog.

If Mahmoud wants to sit down and chit chat with the President and other world leaders, perhaps he should start giving us some shard of evidence that he isn’t simply a blatant liar and propagandist. Otherwise – what’s the point?

Photoshop: Images of Iran’s Missile Launch [Updated]

UPDATE – Is the whole thing a hoax??

One of the images picked up (…or, did they do it?!?) by Western Media on Iran’s missile test today – clearly photoshopped:


Can you spot the fakery?

What fakery?

Oh…whoops. Sorry – here’s the real one:

Yeah – nice try Iran. This Blog made a great animated gif showing the copying…

Does our western media pick this up? Nope, a bunch of dudes sitting around on their computers sipping Mountain Dew… Gotta love that!

Also: Perhaps you missed this bone-fide classic from the AFP earlier this year:

Hit her house?

Hit her house?!?

Click the image above or go here: Two Bullets in the Hand, One Big Crock of Bull

ht [LGF]

UPDATE: Well, the Times figured it out this morning (9:33am, that’s about 12 hours at least after bloggers picked this up…)- but that wasn’t quick enough for all the other papers to run it front page:

Here’s the money quote from the NYT story: 

“Does Iran’s state media use Photoshop?” 

Hmmm…nah – they’re trustworthy

The NYTimes folks are blaming it on the AFP – the same jokes that ran the Magic Bullet Woman story above.

EPIC FAIL for big media, EPIC WIN for bloggers.

Here’s another great post on this at Snapped Shot.