Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is Ellie Light Rockin' The Vote?

I've been thinking about this "Ellie Light" letter-avalanche. I'm 100% certain I've seen a letter from in her in my local paper, but I can't prove it because their search engine never works... I'll keep trying.

Anyway, Patterico has been all over this, with lists of papers and a second possible name. He also says there's an issue withe the IP address, and it might be masked.

I have a theory. It seems to explain how this one (?) writer could get so many letters into so many papers, and may explain the IP masking...

Rock the Vote.

Back in September, I received this email from Thomas Bates, Rock the Vote:
(emphasis mine)

Dear friend,
Thanks for signing the pledge to help deliver health care reform in America.
I was recently talking to a Congressman about health care reform. I asked him to tell me the one thing young people could do to help persuade members of Congress to support reform. His answer: write letters to the editor.Every member of Congress reads the clips from the local paper and they take special notice of the letters to the editor.
We've made it super easy to write a letter to your local paper. We've got some suggested text and other information to help you out. Will you write a letter to the editor to your local paper today? As President Obama said in his speech to Congress last week:
Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to deliver on health care.
We are now closer as a nation than we have ever been in history to achieving comprehensive health reform. We need to keep the momentum and make our voices heard. Write a letter to the editor to continue that momentum.
Health care reform that works for young people must:
End discrimination for pre-exisiting conditions, stop insurance companies from dropping you if you get sick, and cap the amount of money insurance companies charge for co-pays, out-of-pocket expense, and deductibles;Let us stay on our parent's insurance until we are 26 and get affordable insurance with us if we change jobs or lose our jobs;Give us choices for policies that fit our lifestyle and our budgets in a health insurance exchange (with a public option) and provide assistance to those that still can't afford insurance.Cover preventative care and regular checkups at no cost to us. Help deliver reform with a letter to the editor. Let's make sure our elected officials - and our neighbors in the community - know that young people support reform.
Thank you for pledging to act in this "season for action."

Now... When you click on the links in the email, you're redirected to an automated letter-to-the-editor page. You input your zip code, and are given a list of papers local to you. I was given thirteen choices, and you can chose up to five papers. Next, you fill in your personal information, and the text of your letter. There's even a handy "talking points" section you can use. (Mine covered health care - but since the text box is blank, you could write anything.)

You get to the bottom, click "Send Message", and the papers you've chosen get your letter via email.

Is this the source of the letters?

I just don't know. I know it would explain one (?) writer being able to readily reach so many papers. I think it would explain the IP confusion. (I am an admitted technotard. If I'm wrong about this part, it's only because I really don't understand masking, etc.)

I could be completely off base here. I'll leave it to someone more tech-savvy to sort it out...
I'm just putting the possibility out there.

It sure seems possible...

UPDATE -- Apparently, a more likely connection is Organizing For America. Well, I was on the right track. OFA and Rock the Vote are arms of the same beast. Organizing for America hasn't solicited me to send letters, which is why I didn't think of them first.

UPDATE X2 -- So, digging deeper... Googling samples from the handy "Rock the Vote" letter-to-the-editor talking points, I've found nearly identical phraseology at Organizing for America.

Also I logged in to Organizing for America (remember Sun Tzu), and damned if I can find the letter-writing tool there. I've seen it linked, but I can't get to it from my login... Maybe I should upgrade to Secret Squirrel membership level. I don't know if they've taken it down, if I don't have proper clearance (heh), or if I'm just not looking in the right place.

By the way.... Did I mention that I signed up for "Rock the Vote" newsletters after seeing them signed onto a list of ACORN supporters? Not to say that ACORN is involved in the letter-bomb campaign, just another illustration that it's all arms of the same beast... I wonder how many union websites also offer their members a way to send letters to the editor?

1 comment:

Thats Right said...

100% OFA: