Justice writes "
Nothing ticks me off more than reading
a letter to the editor in the local papers that is a pre-written
propaganda piece churned out by some PR hack and presented by a local
as an original letter. I don't care if you are left, right, or a
believer in space aliens, if you can't use your own words, you don't
deserve space in a newspaper. I challenge anyone to find one instance
in the six years I have been writing this blog where I used any more
than a short phrase from any outside source. If you have to steal
someone else's words, you are admitting you are too stupid to make
I hope this letter will be in the next
To the Editor:
As I was reading
a letter in the August 5 Tri-Village News sent in by Jennifer LuPiba
(complaining about the president's health care initiative), I noticed
the letter had that slick PR wording of a professional flack. It took
me just a few seconds of Googling to find that same letter, word for
word, had been printed in the July 29, 2009 edition of the Peninsula
Clarion, a newspaper in Alaska. Unless “Jody Bauer” of Soldotna,
Alaska had a weird mental link that caused her to write the same
words in her letter to the editor, I think it is safe to assume the
they both were astroturfing the newspapers with a pre-written letter.
I took just a few more seconds to learn that Jennifer LuPiba
is the president of the a group called the Grandview Area Republican
Club (and from her twitter feed I saw her promotion of the Tea Party
recently held at the State House downtown). Really Jennifer – you
are the president of a Republican club and you can't even come up
with a letter in your own words?
I don't know if it is
against any rules to send these astroturf letters to the paper, but I
think it serves no good purpose. I can read pre-written letters on
any website where Tea Baggers continually spam the comment sections
with this copy and paste garbage.
It is dishonest to send a
letter to a local paper without giving proper credit to the original
author of the propaganda. I'm not shocked at all by Jenifer's
dishonesty – it seems to be a feature of the anti health care
crazies. They have been documented instances of these groups
disrupting health care town meetings with organized shouting and
booing. They don't want to have a discussion – they just want to
cause trouble and disruption of democratic meetings.
considered responding to the lies about health care printed in
Jennifer's letter, but I don't think it deserves any response. If you
can't use your own words in a letter to the editor, you don't earn a
(Later) With a little more Google juice I found the source of the letter, it is from a website called The Barack Obama Experiment, a website paid for by the Republican National Committee. Do some searching and you will find the same letter printed in newspapers all over the country.
(after running in the TVN) The Editors though that "Tea Baggers" was not appropriate and changed my words to "tea party protesters". This is why I have my own blog, I can call them Tea Baggers all day long. Hey anti heath care whackos, google tea bagger!
I had a short exchange with the editor by email during which he explained that they normally don't let the astroturf letters run in the paper, but they made a mistake and let the one from Jennifer get printed. I figured as much. I was going to include something in my letter blaming the TVN for making a mistake, but I knew better. Pro tip - don't include anything in your letters to the editor that criticizes the newspaper, they have thin skins.
(later) Yes Jennifer, I'm reading your tweets and saw your letter in the Dispatch. It doesn't seem to be an astroturf pre-written letter, so good for you. It is full of hogwash, the President has said his plan will be paid by taxes on those with income over $250K. You still lying, but it is not cut and paste lies (on first google). "