John McCain has opted to enlist a group of foreign nationals to write positive letters to the editors to “get out a positive message” about John McCain and Sarah Palin. Phil Tuchman, a McCain campaign worker, tells his ghostwriting team that they can be whomever they choose to be when writing these letters. It matters not. Just write something positive about McCain and have several people send out similar letters to various editors around the country.
Salon reports this from one of those ghostwriters, Margriet Oostveen, who is Dutch.
“You can be whoever you want to be,” says an inviting Phil Tuchman. “You can be a beggar or a millionaire. A mom or a husband. Whatever. You decide!”
Today he is training six ghostwriters. What on earth is the appeal of McCain for the former Soviet bloc? Last time I was here, an exuberant Polish guy was phone banking next to me. Today, a Russian in yellow suspenders is shimmering at the same table, looking just like an actor who is famous in the Netherlands for star turns as a genius who suppresses his dark side with painstaking self-control.
The assignment is simple: We are going to write letters to the editor and we are allowed to make up whatever we want — as long as it adds to the campaign. After today we are supposed to use our free moments at home to create a flow of fictional fan mail for McCain. “Your letters,” says Phil Tuchman, “will be sent to our campaign offices in battle states. Ohio. Pennsylvania. Virginia. New Hampshire. There we’ll place them in local newspapers.”
Place them? I may be wrong, but I thought that in the USA only a newspaper’s editors decided that.
“We will show your letters to our supporters in those states,” explains Phil. “If they say: ‘Yeah, he/she is right!’ then we ask them to sign your letter. And then we send that letter to the local newspaper. That’s how we send dozens of letters at once.”
No newspaper can refuse a stream of articulate expressions of support, is the thought behind it. “This way, we will always get into some letters column.”
It is the day after Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican convention. Today, she is our main subject. The others are already enthusiastically hammering their keyboards. I am struggling with a tiny writer’s block. “Dear Editor …”
“That is why Senator John McCain could count on my vote from day one.”
“With Sarah Palin, I have even more reason to trust in victory. She represents my heart.”
“Sincerely …” I leave the dots for somebody else’s signature.
Phil bends over my computer screen and reads. This takes a while. I am expecting roars of laughter or to be kicked out. Then he says drily: “I like that. It appeals to the hearts of people. Can you write more letters?”
It worked when the Pentagon sent paid generals out en masse to the media to sell the war. It worked when Ronald Reagan enlisted a small group of people (three to be exact) to start a big-name organization (the George C. Marshall Institute) to counter all of the scientific complaints about his beloved Star Wars defense system…along with the other propaganda Reagan espoused. This is the basis for how Global Warming deniers operate today.
A small group of psudo-scientists get equal time against a mass of real scientists. Ironically, it was the Fairness Doctrine which allowed this to begin. The George C. Marshall Institute started with three members who were vocal, wrote letters to the editors en masse (just as McCain is doing) and threatened to sue, under the Fairness Doctrine, if their viewpoint was not heard. Then, one of these three “scientists” with an agenda, was given one-to-one airtime with a scientist who represented more than six thousand scientific voices (at that time, relating to Star Wars). We see the exact same thing playing out today in relation to Global Warming.
Since McCain has taken to lying about everything and anything, why not enlist a group of foreign nationals to a propaganda campaign of his very own.
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