Friday, November 2, 2012

The Economist reluctantly endorses President Obama

The Economist endorsed Barack Obama for President as the lesser of two evils. You can read it here. Thousands of comments followed, many from people frothing at the mouth over The Economist's temerity (not that many of them know words like that).

Then someone mentioned that many of the comments were so unhinged that they didn't seem to come from actual Economist readers.

I said:

re: comments coming from right wing trolls who are obviously not readers of this publication
I've seen the same thing around the Internet. Scientific American, America's most prestigious scientific publication for general readers, regularly has its comment threads filled with rants by people who deny evolution, global warming, scientific method, the ethics of the scientific community, identifying the Democratic Party as a Com-yew-nist front organization--you name it.

Same thing on's Science forums.

Same thing on the NY Times and washington Post.

In all cases there are blizzards of entries, always impassioned, always logically impaired, often grammatically impaired as well. Often in such volume they threaten to overwhelm the comment threads, making the threads useless for the purpose intended (exchange of ideas).

Rather like what happened at the Town Hall hearings over ObamaCare that Congressmen gave the summer before it was passed. Remember them? They'd pull tricks like spacing themselves throughout the hall, then jumping up, shouting a slogan, then sitting down; right after another would jump up, shout something, sit down. They'd repeat this so no one member of their group could be ejected--and so the town hall meeting couldn't be conducted successfully.

So how'd they show up at these meetings, organized like that? How do they show up on the comment threads of magazines and sites they obviously don't read?

This is the essence of AstroTurfing. These people aren't being paid to do this, but the folks that organize them and send them out on these, well, missions--ARE paid operatives, running right wing websites, often pretending to be just patriotic, Consitution-luvvin' citizens.

Not paid by the Republican National Committee, of course. Paid by their patrons.

I can't prove this but it fits the facts. It's sure obvious that these ranters aren't Economist readers.
What's ironic is that these commentors exemplify EXACTLY why the Economist ever so reluctantly has endorsed President Obama: because America's Republican Party has become too extreme, too unhinged, too obsessed with removing America's first black president (purely a coincidence, that, right?), to be entrusted with the White House.

Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and even their ostensible deity Ronald Reagan would be dismayed by what the GOP has morphed into.

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