The Republican Noise Machine Enters Local Blogospheres
by Chris Bowers, Sun Aug 07, 2005 at 10:23:11 AM EDT
1. Recent Democratic Participation Within the Republican Noise Machine
Back in January, I spent a lot of time and effort here at MyDD writing about the Mercatus Center. Specifically, I wrote about it because I had discovered, much to my disgust, that it was a branch of the Republican Noise Machine. The reason this was a problem was that Tim Roemer, who was running for DNC Chair at the time, was actively encouraging all Democratic Congressional Chiefs of Staff to attend a retreat they were holding on Social Security. This was not a fruitless exercise on his part either, since the previous year thirty-four Democratic Congressional Chiefs of Staff had attended the Mercatus Center retreat. In other words, Democrats were actively participating within the same Message Machine that has led to the rise of the modern conservative movement. They were feeding, and being fed by, the same machine that works to defeat Democrats. We tried to stop them.
2. Conservative Dominance of Local Blogospheres
Last month, when discussing conservative dominance of local political blogospheres, I wrote the following:
In a state and region flush with progressive blogs, for local political news many progressive activists in the region turn to Politics PA. They do so because there is no progressive website focused on Pennsylvania Politics. Grassroots PA is rank conservative, and Keystone Politics is always trying to be more-moderate-than-thou. While I don't think anyone I know thought Politics PA was progressive, it did at least, as demonstrated above, engage in a local link exchange, and so local Democrats participated.
3. The Republican Noise Machine Enters Local Blogospheres
The first two sections of this piece may seem elliptical, but there is an important connection. Yesterday, I wrote an article entitled Politics PA Donkey Splat, concerning a ridiculous and fabricated article Politics PA had written about the candidate I am supporting (as an unpaid volunteer) for the Democratic nomination in PA-08: Ginny Schrader. In the comments, a new commenter, VeritasLux, provided readers with some eye-opening information on Politics PA:The site PoliticsPA.com is registered to the pseudonymous "Wally Edge"--along with PoliticsNJ.com. Hm-m-m, Wally Edge or is it Wedge Ally? Following the link two steps further, all of these politicsNJ/PA/NH, etc. sites apparently are the stepchildren of the Publius Institute, which is itself apparently a creation of the Claremont Institute--a conservative think tank in Claremont, CA. Since Claremont lists Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr. (of ES&S and voting machine fame) on its board of directors, and his wife, Roberta Green Ahmanson, on the same web page, it is logical to assume, as with many right-wing, Christian Reconstructionist groups, that Claremont is funded by the Ahmansons. (See: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/01/06/ahmanson)
It might be worth a few hundred emails to good friend "Wally" asking them why they are performing unsubstantiated and anonymous hatchet jobs on Democratic candidates--although given the shady connections, I'd say that Ginny and Chris should take Claremont's sleazy, little, anonymous bitch slap as a compliment. Email information for these two groups is listed below.
Here also is a piece from the Boston Phoenix about the role in the 2004 NH primary of PoliticsNH.com, the sister site to PoliticsPA. The article can be found at http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/talking_politics/documents/02685359.htm
At PoliticsNH.com <<Click on " Our Team, " and it brings you to the photos and brief bios of four staffers: managing editor James W. Pindell; senior editor Brian P. Murphy, a former staffer for George magazine; Jordan S. Lieberman, who is the president of the Publius Group, which owns the site along with several others, including PoliticsNJ, PoliticsVT, and PoliticsNY; and columnist Dante J. Scala, who is also an assistant professor of politics at Saint Anselm College.<p> A check through the Networks Solutions search site reveals that PoliticsNH is registered to NameSecure.com. Wally Edge is listed as the site's " administrative contact. " Edge did not return a call from the Phoenix. On the PoliticsNJ site, though, the " About Us " link says, " PoliticsNJ.com is operated by The Publius Group (ED. Note-an apparent front for The Claremont Institute) and our editor is Wally Edge, a pseudonym for the people who are working on this site. "
Last February, Roll Call columnist Stuart Rothenberg did a piece on anonymous political Web sites. When he called the Publius Group, Lieberman called him back but wouldn't provide additional details on who was backing the venture. Rather than identifying himself as the president of the Publius Group, as he's now listed on PoliticsNH.com, Lieberman told Rothenberg that he handled marketing for the company. Rothenberg's conclusion? " The potential for abuse with these sites is enormous. What would stop a candidate from setting up an anonymous political site and using it as a way to undercut or discredit an opponent? "
The answer is nothing. In the meantime, PoliticsNH generates buzz.>>
So, I'd say the Repugs are scared of Ginny and the netroots and are using their usual clandestine operations to try and neutralize the netroots long before the 2006 election. (BTW, their activities sound like a great basis for a blog that outs these manipulations and informs the mainstream media in real time.) Keep up the good work. OH-2 and the Hackett campaign obviously scared the hell out of them.
In light and truth,
Claremont Institute info (...):
and Bob Gransden
409 Washington Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(Pseudonym) Wally Edge
It couldn't be any more clear: PoliticsPA is funded by the Republican Noise Machine. Like the Mercatus Center, it is just another tentacle they use to twist the national discourse, and it has pulled in many unknowing progressives, including myself.
4. End Progressive Netroots Participation within the Republican Noise Machine.
The way they bashed Dean, praise insiders, and bashed Ginny and the local netroots: it all makes sense now. This is just another part of the massive conservative project to dominate the national political discourse. What Pennsylvania progressives need to do about this is to expose it as best they can, and stop participating in the site altogether. Within the netroots, we can do this as follows:
- If you have a blog, link to this article, and write about it.
- If you are linked on their blogroll, ask them to remove you.
- If you link Politics PA, remove that link now, and explain why.
- If you do not have a blog, send an email linking this story to progressive friends you know in Pennsylvania who read, or might read, Politics PA.
- If you live in Pennsylvania, send this article to your elected Democratic officials and candidates and urge them to immediately end all contact with Politics PA.
Enough is enough. No wonder conservatives dominate local blogospheres. It's time to pull the plug on Politics PA.
Update: Story updated to clarify Publius--Claremont connect, and to only refer to the Claremont Institute, rather than Claremont McKenna colleges in general. I'm always amazed at how many new people register here at MyDD just to post when I write something exposing the Republican Noise Machine, or questioning the wisdom of political insiders. I have no doubt that they will continue to appear and attempt to find some small nuance crack to try and slip through, but none of that matters. Im not accusing PoliticsPA or the Publius group of breaking any laws, Im just accusing them of being part of the Republican Noise Machine. If any progressive reads this and still participates with PoliticsPA or any other PoliticsState site, you are both nuts and self-defeating. Small cracks, maintained largely through the ravenous and baffling anonymity of the Publius Group, should not be even come close to lowering any of the several red flags that progressives should see in this picture.
Update 2: I also wish to note that I know at least a few of the writers on these sites are Democratic consultants, but I don't think that changes anything. Just as much as the Noise Machine implications, I think there is clearly an insider vs. outsider thing going on here. It's not like this would be the first time insiders in Pennsylvania politics have tried to slander and damage the career of one of my friends in the grassroots. Further, as we all know, not only do many Democratic insiders hate the netroots with a passion, they also don't seem to have a problem receiving cushy funding from the Noise Machine. Unreformed Democrats are still thriving in PA.