October 14, 2011

Yes, Moveon.org really organizing OWS

I just had this letter forwarded to me from Moveon.org. You'll notice that the subject line is Join the #occupy event near you

From: Justin Ruben, MoveOn.org Civic Action
Sent: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 11:32 am
Subject: Join the #occupy event near you

Join an occupation solidarity event near you on Saturday and take part in a movement that's changing the nation.

Join an Event!

Dear MoveOn member,

Have you heard the incredible news?

Thanks to the unflinching commitment of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, and support from hundreds of thousands of people across the country, they won their fight this morning to continue the occupation of Zuccotti Park.1
Mayor Mike Bloomberg had threatened to evict the protesters on behalf of Brookfield Properties, the real estate conglomerate that owns Zuccotti Park. But in the face of massive public opposition, at the last minute, they backed down.
But New York isn't the only place protesters are under threat of eviction and intimidation. Protesters in Boston, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, and other cities have been arrested and harassed.2

This morning, we saw what happens when hundreds of thousands of us mobilize. So now, Occupy Wall Street is calling for a global day of action tomorrow against Wall Street greed, with events in more than 950 cities and 82 countries.3 This is the time to join an occupation solidarity action in your area to defend this peaceful protest movement and help it take root across the country.

Can you join an occupation solidarity action this Saturday?

Yes (click here to find the action nearest you)
No, but keep me updated

After the news hit that the Occupy Wall Street protesters would be effectively evicted from Zuccotti Park, the call went out across the country.

300,000 MoveOn members signed an emergency petition to Mayor Bloomberg in less than 24 hours, which was delivered to the park and City Hall last night. Tens of thousands of people in New York and across the country put in calls to the city, demanding that the protesters be allowed to stay.

And at 6 this morning, thousands of MoveOn members, union workers, community organizers, and other brave New Yorkers swelled the ranks of the protesters, standing with them shoulder-to-shoulder against their impending eviction.

Most incredible were the 99% protesters themselves. They stood their ground, in the best traditions of nonviolent resistance. And in an amazing show of organization and action, they undertook a full-scale cleaning of the park, taking away the false pretext of a "cleaning operation" under which Brookfield and the city were threatening to evict them.

Want to be part of the Occupy story in your area by joining the solidarity action near you this Saturday?

Yes (click here to find the action nearest you).
No, but keep me updated

Occupy Wall Street has shown us what's possible when a small and dedicated group of people standing up against the corporate takeover of our democracy are supported by a wider progressive community.

Whether you want to help form the core of committed protesters in your area or be part of the progressive community that stands with them, tomorrow is the time to join in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street:


Thanks for all you do.

–Justin, Amy, Eli, Elena, and the rest of the team
P.S. To make sure you're kept up-to-date on urgent Occupy actions like the one in New York this morning, click here to sign up for SMS alerts on Occupy Wall Street.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:45 PM | Comments |

October 25, 2010

TWITTERGATE - Democrats Hire Twitter-Thug

I personally witnessed some of this. At the time I wasn't sure what in the hell was going on. Finally, it makes sense.

Via NewZeal

Who is Neal Rauhauser? Neal Rauhauser goes under the name:

StrandedWind on Twitter. On 31 August, 2010, he set up a new account under the name WingnutWatch on Twitter. He has a total of an estimated 100 Twitter accounts that he uses for his special "lobbying".[More...]

Note: Language warning:

Related (from link at New Zeal Blog):
Desperate Dems Hire E-Thugs for 2010 Elections

By Stable Hand at 08:20 AM | Comments |

February 06, 2010

More "Ellie Light" On The Way?

My inbox:

I clicked on Can you write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper now?

I entered a standard zip code for Las Vegas for the heck of it.

This ain't over yet folks.

By Stable Hand at 01:29 PM | Comments |

January 27, 2010

Kos Kid Winston Steward Confesses to Ellie Light Astroturf Letters


A man who identified himself as Winston Steward, 51, of Frazier Park, Calif., says he made up the name "Ellie Light" to protect himself from criticism and possible physical attacks, and used fake addresses across the country to get local newspapers to publish his letters.

"I am Winston Steward and have been sending the letters from Ellie Light," he told The Plain Dealer in an e-mail late Tuesday, following a phone interview in which he said the same. "I hope this ends any confusion and sets the record straight."

Wow that Rusty sure has a nose for Astroturf eh?

In the interview he spins quite a tale, even disavowing his wife claiming they are divorced. They're not. But probably soon will be as she says

He said, however, that he and Brooks are no longer married, a point Brooks disputed.

"He's making up all kinds of garbage," she said. "We're not divorced. We're not separated. He just doesn't want anybody to trace him because he's afraid of the right-wing crazies up in Bakersfield."

She said she does not condone his use of a fake name.

Ha! She doesn't sound too impressed eh?

By Howie at 06:50 AM | Comments |

September 25, 2009

Big Government: More on Astroturfing at the NEA

I have another post up at Big Government about a professional astroturfer from Winner & Associates involvement in the NEA scandal. Go check it out.

PS-Also check out Patrick Courrielche's post over at Big Hollywood in which he asks if Buffy Wicks shouldn't be the next one under the bus? Which is kind of important here, since the NEA director claims that the whole scandal was Yosi Sargent's fault.

But that can't be the case, since Wicks works for the White House, not the NEA. And Bim Ayandele, who's participation I think is key since he's a paid PR guy who specializes in getting entertainers to lobby for health care reform, worked in the same office at the White House as Wicks up until a couple of months ago.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:09 AM | Comments |

September 23, 2009

Guy Who Specializes in "Leveraging" The Arts Community for Health Care Issues Coincidentally at NEA Conference Call (UPDATE: Also, Coincidentally, a "Pioneer of Guerilla Marketing")

The NEA apology from the White House is laughable, at best. Again, if this was just all a big misunderstanding then why was a representative from one of the country's largest political advertising firms involved? And pushing the health care agenda on company time?

I believe the following information might help explain Bim Ayandele's involvement. Not only did he help set up the Office of Public Engagement, but:

Before joining Winner & Associates, Mr. Ayandele served as the Director of Cures Now, a Los Angeles based non-profit organization leveraging a coalition of actors, directors, producers, musicians, and writers to promote the rapid, responsible and ethical advancement of science-related social issues, such as stem-cell research and diabetes awareness."
It seems Mr. Ayandele's expertise is in "leveraging" the entertainment industry to "promote" health care related issues.

But I'm sure the sudden interest by the "non-partisan" Rock the Vote in pushing President Obama's vision of health care is just a coincidence....

Thanks to someone in the comments.

UPDATE: Also just a coincidence:

Ayandele developed and implemented some of the pioneering guerilla marketing techniques that were instrumental in deciding the 2008 United States presidential campaign.
Nothing to see here folks. Move along.....

Thanks to Bim's newest buddy, Darth Odieus.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:23 PM | Comments |

September 22, 2009

If the White House Isn't Employing the World's Largest PR Firm to Use the NEA to Astroturf their Agenda ...(bumped)

... then why is Bim Ayandele, of Winner & Associates -- a subdivision of Publicis Groupe, one of the world's largest PR firms -- twittering this stuff during normal business hours? Dan Riehl passes on word that Ayandele likes to use the social networking tool twitter. A tool often used to help stories go viral.

This tweet from Bim Ayandele is from around 8:35 this AM.


But maybe Bim just got a late start this morning? Notice the time stamps. All of the links take you to either health care related or anti-Tea Party stories/blog posts.











Notice the date on the last one? August 11th. The day after the NEA conference call with "artists".

If this wasn't about politics, then why was a self-described (note to Bim I never said you "ran" a huge PR firm) "Senior Associate" for a subdivision of one of the world's largest PR firms involved in the call? A PR firm which specializes in "grassroots organization", "issues management" and "crisis communications"?

Bim isn't an artist. He's a political consultant.

And I'm pretty sure the White House is in "crisis mode" on health care right now. Who better than the professionals that handled Exxon's PR after the Valdez disaster to handle the health care PR debacle?

Why was he involved if not as an expert trying to get the artists to take the White House's message and make it appear to be a spontaneous "grassroots" effort?

Again, look at the date at that last twitter. I'll note that Bim has been twittering since July 28, 2008. Between his sign up date and a year later he only twittered 19 times. None of them political.

One year, no political tweets.

After the NEA conference call he's twittered 38 times. Almost all of them political tweets.

Are you telling me that Winner and Associates has not been hired -- either directly by David Axelrod in the White House or indirectly through a third party such as MoveOn.org -- to help orchestrate "grassroots support" for President Obama's policy agenda?

If that is the case, then this would be twice when Winner and Associates employees were using company time to push Obama for free. One has to wonder, what kind of business plan does Publicis Groupe have that it allows its employees to do the work of the left wing of the Democratic party all day long .... for free?

Here we have the quintessential grassroots viral tool -- twitter -- being used by a professional political consultant on company time; and who also was involved in the now controversial National Endowment for the Arts conference call and we're being asked to believe that the conference call wasn't designed to get artists to push Obama's agenda?


Just like we were asked by Ethan Winner to believe that the whole smear against Sarah Palin and the effort by Winner & Associate employees to try to get it to go viral was done on his own initiative -- even though we know it was done on company time?

Double puh-lease!!

It's amazing Winner & Associates makes any money at all.

Unless, of course, they were being paid to do all of this. In which case, one has to wonder whether any laws were broken?

UPDATE: Dan Riehl pointed out to me that Dana Loesch has already pointed out that after the conference call, other participants also became suddenly keen on tweeting for Obama.

The difference between the tweets by, say, Michael Skolnik and Bim Ayandele? Skolnik is an artist. Someone who, arguably, should have been in on a conference call on the arts.

Bim Ayandele works for a political consulting firm. If he wasn't there to help orchestrate a grassroots campaign -- in a paid capacity -- then why was he there?

UPDATE II: Wow, passing Obamacare is critical for the "arts community". It's almost as if the NEA is trying to get the "grassroots" to support the President's agenda...

Thanks to Drew M who has more on this "giant misunderstanding".

UPDATE III: But I'm sure this is all spontaneous "grassroots" stuff. No one is directing them. Especially no one in the White House....

UPDATE IV: Winner & Associates has a blog! And guess what one of their entries is about? How their firm can help you use twitter and other "Web 2.0" applications to manage crises. From the post:

However, as much as social media creates risks, Web 2.0 can also be a valuable tool for those who want to understand and potentially manage the actions, trends, and opinions that shape their reputations. As a borderless window to millions of minds around the world, Web 2.0 offers the opportunity to better understand global trends and opinions in the making – a knowledge which is critical to anticipating issues and/or crises and developing effective response strategies...

Ultimately, organizations must actively ENGAGE with the millions of digital minds which aspire to discuss, debate and influence the decisions being made about the products they purchase, the services they use, the environments in which they live and the issues they care about....

Whether it is by blogging, tweeting, linking, or creating their own forums, organizations must be proactive online if they want to maintain control over their reputations. They must engage with online communities, be aware of participant concerns and, when appropriate, develop responses to those concerns. In the Web 2.0 global village – where people live and learn through uncensored dialogue and near instantaneous interactions – traditional external communications utilizing earned and paid media are no longer enough.

Managing issues and enhancing the reputations of our clients has been the highest priority of my firm, Winner & Associates, since its founding in 1975. Our global Advanced Reputation Management System gives our clients a competitive advantage in the constantly evolving world of Web 2.0.

So, Ayendale works for a firm that specializes in using social media to "manage issues and enhance reputations".

Issues like, say, health care? Reputations like, say, the President Obama's?

And doing it through unpaid media. This all seems like it's the very definition of "astroturfing" to me.

Thanks to Howie.

UPDATE V: Hmmm, BohicaTwentyTwo wonders if they were involved in the "No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick" Facebook scheme?


By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:23 PM | Comments |

September 21, 2009

Astroturfing the NEA: Winner & Associates in on the Scheme? (UPDATED)

Color me unsurprised to find out that an employee of Winner and Associates -- who you'll recall we revealed were behind the astroturfing campaign to discredit Sarah Palin -- was in on the National Endowment for the Arts phone call outlining how the Obama Administration would use that government organization to push its agenda.

From a list of those participating in the conference call:


After we uncovered the link between Winner and Associates, David Axelrod, and the smear campaign against Sarah Palin designed to look as though it was coming from the "grass roots" we begged -- literally begged! -- the MSM to look into whether the large campaign consulting firm was subcontracted by David Axelrod for work on the Obama campaign. As I noted at the time, I'm just a blogger and don't really have the resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation.

As Ace notes here, once Ethan Winner confessed that he was behind the video, the MSM concluded that there was nothing more to investigate. This despite the fact that I showed that at least two other Winner and Associate employees -- a subdivision of the largest advertising agency in the world -- participated in the astroturfing campaign during normal business hours.

Three employees, one of them the President of the subdivision and another a VP, claimed they were doing this on their own time -- which we showed could not have been the case -- and on their own dime. On their own dime? Maybe, but it still seems unlikely.

And now we have another Winner and Associates guy at the NEA conference call? He's also listed as one of the founders of Generation Obama.

Are you going to now tell me that his relationship with Generation Obama is purely on a volunteer basis? And that his involvement with what appears to be a move to make the NEA push Obama's agenda is being done pro-bono?

Winner and Associates: the largest PR firm in California, but all their major work is done for free!

Something. Doesn't. Add. Up.

More over at Ace's.



Smoking Gun?

We found out, when earlier this year, one of our Senior Associates, Bim Ayandele, was asked by the Obama Administration to help with the launch of the White House's Office of Public Engagement (OPE).
And who runs the White House Office of Public Engagement? Buffy Wicks, who set up the NEA phone call.

Thanks to Stable Hand.

UPDATE 9/22/2009: It looks like Bim Ayandele uses twitter. His tweets after the August 10th NEA conference seem to suggest that he's involved in an orchestrated astroturfing campaign.

Follow the link and take a close look at the time stamps. He's pushing Health Care and anti-Tea Party propaganda on company time during normal business hours.

Also not that none of his tweets prior to the conference call were political in nature. After the conference call nearly all of them are. Yet we are to believe that a paid political consultant with a firm that specializes in damage control and grassroots organizations just happened to be in on a non-partisan call for artists?

Artists who, after the call, "spontaneously" begin to support Obama's health care plans?

Give. Me. A. Break.

This has all the signs of astroturfing. Will post updates at link above.

PS-- Here's the original Ethan Winner produced video mashed with an official David Axelrod/Obama produced video.

UPDATE NEWBIE:Its the Cover-up

Update by Howie:

Hmmm right after I started following Bim's twitter feed. He took down his icon.

click for larger

Odie must have frightened him. He is kinda scary in a harmless comic book kind of way. I mean not as scary as Bim's thug icon but pretty scary.

Oh and Bim, its called the Google cache.

Update II: Awww, you put it back, there you go Bim......if you're going to be a thug, be a proud thug.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:47 PM | Comments |

August 26, 2009

And The Idiot Commenter Award Of The Day Goes To....

This guy:

Ted Kennedy accomplished more for the people of this country than have most of his detractors, including the "hate rhetoric" specialists on this thread, in their collective lifetimes.

On the Dead Kennedy post.


Mary Jo Kopechne says, "what he did to me is pretty much what he tried to do to the rest of the country.

By Vinnie at 06:28 PM | Comments |

April 15, 2009

Pelosi: Tea Party Protests Are Astroturfed

You need to back it up with proof Pelosi. Pathetic. Huffington Post, Daily Kos, etc. had this stupid story before it came out of the mouth of Pelosi. David Axelrod will be proud.

Jawa is well aware of the term astroturf, see:

Hope, Change, & Lies: Orchestrated "Grassroots" Smear Campaigns & the People that Run Them

By Stable Hand at 05:56 PM | Comments |

February 22, 2009

B-Cast "Anatomy Of A Smear"

Update on: John Gibson Hoax Video Traced to ... MSM Reporter?(Updated)

This is rather long but worth listening. I do have to disagree when a comment was made that Huff and Puff wouldn't deliberately try to smear Gibson. Wrong, this was meant to go viral....think astroturfing.

By Stable Hand at 09:31 AM | Comments |

February 20, 2009

John Gibson Hoax Video Traced to ... MSM Reporter?(Updated)

Ray Robison does a little sleuthing and finds evidence (not proof) that the person behind the hoax video showing Fox News' John Gibson as a racist may be the work of a reporter for Baltimore TV station WBAL 11 named John Sanders.

Let me predict how this will play out.

First, the laughter on the Left that a blogger could ever find something like this out.

Next, the denials that this guy is behind it because, you know, the evidence just isn't compelling enough. Plus, a blogger!

Then, the admission of guilt by the dude to the bloggers.

Last, laughter from the Left at bloggers because what's the big deal it's not like he did anything illegal?

I think I've seen something like this played out before a time or two.

Update by Stable Hand: Breitbart has vid of B-Cast conversation with Sanders admitting he made it just for fun. He claims he had annotation on the video to indicate the Gibson audio had been altered. Mmmmm, sure.

Be sure to check out Breitbart, for related videos. Also, the B-Cast will have a vid up later with a look at this issue in depth. Johnny Dollar and Steve Krakauer from TV Newser are on the program. Neither can recall seeing any annotation on the earliest posting of the video.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:59 PM | Comments |

October 01, 2008

Surprise: MSM/Kos Indistinguishable on Palin Smears

I told you they wouldn't care that the Palin rape kit smear was empirically false.

Bob Owens has debunked this over and over again. But that doesn't matter, they read it on Kos so it must be true!

In a rare move Geraghty is demanding that The Globe print a retraction. I, for one, agree.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:11 AM | Comments |

September 30, 2008

Astroturfing Stage 1: McCain is Going to Die!

As I've noted before, the left's astroturfing campaign strategy involves a two-stage narrative. Quoting myself:

The second ingredient in the narrative paints Sarah Palin -- who would take McCain's vacated Presidential office -- as not ready for the job. Obama's campaign has called her experience & intelligence into question, but there is also a "grassroots" viral campaign of deception that claims Palin is on the political fringe and is a religious lunatic.

Just in the past week, since we first began following the astroturfing of Sarah Palin, rumors have circulated that Palin was a member of the John Birch Society and that she hates rape victims. Bored with the spreading the lie that Palin thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old and that she banned books, this week the netroots are claiming that she supports witch hunts. Not metaphorical witch hunts, actual witch hunts.

What was step 1? Raise questions about McCain's ability to serve out his term.

Remember, when the grassroots are being led by the elite it's not "astroturfing": it's community organizing.

Thanks to Ace.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:16 PM | Comments |

September 27, 2008

The Palin Smear Goes Viral:
"Viral attacks are where it's at in 2008!" -- Geekesque

Looks like Geekesque, Chuck and Ethan Winner, and whoever is paying them is going to have their way after all. The "Palin is a right wing secessionist" smear has gone viral. Seriously, this has got to be stopped. We need to find out who is behind this. Not some of the more recent amateurish copycat videos, but the original video and the subsequent astroturfing campaign.

This one is the worst of them all:
Palin's Secret Allegiance

They intentionally mislead the audience by using only partial quotes. Like the Ethan Winner video, they provide some radical quotes by party members. They then quote Palin addressing the Alaskan Independence Party as, "I share your party' vision..." in such a way as to make it sound like she agrees with those radical quotes.

But notice the dot dot dot [which you can actually see in the video above] meaning they're only quoting part of the sentence.

Actual quote: "I share your party's vision of upholding the Constitution of our great state."

If I was Andrew Sullivan, I'd say this was gobsmackingly vile.

Copycat of Winner video:
Sarah Palin Heartbeat Away Extended Version

Repostings of original Winner video:Sarah Palin A Heartbeat Away From The Presidency
Sarah Palin - A Heart Beat Away From Presidency

Below is the original video of Sarah Palin addressing the Alasakan Independence Party which she refers to as "competition". I thought you "Obama is a secret Muslim" people were delusional freaks -- but at least I believe that you sincerely believe your insanity.

No one can possibly believe that Sarah Palin secretly harbors the notion that Alaska should be its own country. That makes those responsible worse than mere paranoid delusionals: it makes them liars.

UPDATE: Treacher chimes in with this reminder that what Palin actually said in the video makes clear she disagrees with the party.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:28 PM | Comments |

September 26, 2008

No Publicis - Winner - Axelrod Connection

Okay I lied, it's Friday and I'm busy avoiding work as it is. So one more post.

Erick from Redstate sends this video along courtesy of -- I think -- Doug from Upland. When the story first broke he and others sent me links to a lot of different voiceover artists each claiming they knew who it was. My fellow Jawas were certain they knew [KNEW!!] who it was until the actress in question kindly wrote Merri back and said not me.

But after nearly a week of being away from it and now seeing the video he (or someone) made ...... I dunno, Doug might be on to something.

You'll notice that he doesn't mention the name of the Chicago area talent that he and some people at Free Republic think it belongs to. I won't either. I don't want her getting bombarded with hate mail, which is always the risk of naming somebody publicly involved in a scandal -- even if they were just hired help.

But some of you are intelligent enough to figure it out, so maybe you just want to email her and ask politely?

Also, remember that there may be legal considerations here. I know I've signed my fair share of non-disclosure agreements so she may not be able to legally reveal who hired her. But then again if this case has taught us anything it's that some people are sloppy and overlook tying up the loose ends. So, maybe there's no non-disclosure contract?

Also, keep this in mind: one of the things I learned while doing research for this was that the top voice over artists actually do most of their work from home studios and then simply e-mail their clients the finished product. So, it could be that the Chicago connection here is just incidental and that Winner really just liked the way she sounded from, well, I've no idea how you'd find the right voice. Maybe she does Moveon or Planned Parenthood ads, too? There could be other explanations.

Having said that, though, I really wish one more voice would be added for comparison. The one heard here at Axelrod's official website. Is it just me, or is it the same voice? And yes, Axelrod's AKP Media is in Chicago.

Also, Stable Hand has been trying to get one of us to link this all day so here it is:

Investigative reporter Ben Barrack is conducting a national talk show, encouraging all parties involved with both ads to provide the identity of their female voice-over talent and for Ethan Winner and others associated with the outright lies in the ad to issue a formal apology to Sarah Palin.
I don't know Ben Barrack or his work, but we appreciate the help.

Let's assume that Ethan is telling the truth and he was the sole force behind the ad. Even so, this is a major media scandal. The anti-Palin video is much worse than the anti-Hillary "Vote Different / Hillary 1984" ad made by Phil De Villis. That video sparked MSM interest [for instance, the New York Times] as to who made what amounted to a pretty mild attack on Hillary. When it was revealed that an employee of Blue State Digital with ties to the Obama campaign was behind it, De Villis he was forced to resign.

Has the world's 4th largest advertising firm, Publicis, demanded Ethan's resignation? [scoff]

MSM coverage of the Winner video has been limited to bloggers such as Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, and Amanda Carpenter bringing it up to them. Nothing else. Nada.

Attack Hillary: scandal.
Attack Palin: yawn.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:19 PM | Comments |

September 25, 2008

The French Connection to Palin Smears

What is an PR firm with an eyebrow-raising international affiliation doing producing an anti-Palin video?

And what is Publicis? By its own account, Publicis is the fourth-largest communications group in the world, having generated some €4.7 billion (or $6.9 billion) in revenue in 2007. With its distinctive postmodern headquarters on Paris’ Champs-Elysées just a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, Publicis also happens to be one of those highly politically-connected French firms that are so characteristic of the upper echelons of the French economy....

The obvious question, then, is for whom were Winner and his “associates” working? The most obvious answer is: the Obama campaign. Another and at least equally troubling possibility, however, is that they were working for one of Publicis’s high-powered European clients.

Read the rest. This is a politically connected firm. One guess on which side of the French political spectrum their connected to.

Just to reemphasize: it wasn't just Ethan Winner involved in the Palin smear, it was also his father who is President of the company he sold to Publicis several years ago, and at least one employee of the company. Yet Ethan claims sole responsibility for the video.

Also note while reading the article that Publicis has put Ethan Winner -- who works in their Los Angeles division -- over PR for the European Union.

Folks, I don't have any more time to dig into this, but if you do don't just focus on Winner & Associates, focus on Publicis and the dozens of media and PR companies they own.

PS-I didn't mean to imply that some foreigner paid for the campaign -- although that is John's emphasis, don't rule out the Europeans -- just that Publicis is the company to look at. They and their holdings in the US are major PR players here. W&A is just one of their assets, and the fact that they use W&A to run a EU PR campaign is evidence that they have no problems using whatever asset they think has the most strength for whatever cause they are engaged in.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:22 AM | Comments |

September 24, 2008

Winner & Associates Denies Axelrod Ties

Amanda Carpenter from TownHall e-mails a statement from Winner & Associates. Here it is:

September 24, 2008


It has been alleged by Fox News and a blogger that our firm may have “ties” to David Axelrod, the media advisor to the Obama campaign.

This allegation is completely false.

No member of the firm, including Ethan Winner, has a relationship with Axelrod, and no member of the firm has had any contact, direct or indirect, with Axelrod in at least 10 years.

Case closed?

Pssst: I was being ironical.

PS: Amanda will be on O'Reilly pretty quick talking about it.

UPDATE: Wow, what an arrogant dismissive ..... Hell, I don't even know if there's an Axelrod connection. That's why I'm asking the MSM to look into it. Because, you know, I'm just some dude with a keyboard.

They're the ones that can afford to sick "investigative journalists" on to the McCain campaign to find out what is really public record and that I could have done sitting on my ass.

What I do know is that Ethan isn't telling us all the facts. Maybe we're way off. Maybe Arianna Huffington herself paid Ethan to do it. I don't know. But now that Ethan is trying to get other people to buy airtime for the video? This doesn't pass the smell test.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 06:38 PM | Comments |

Holy Crap, a SECOND Winner Palin Smear Video? Michelle on Fox [UPDATE: Ad to be run on TV?]

I really don't have time for this, but it has to be said: mucho important.

While watching the Fox News segment interviewing Michelle Malkin on the Ethan Winner Palin smear video I noticed that it wasn't the same video!

Spot the difference. Original Ethan Winner video:

Here's the video of Michelle on Fox this morning. The ad starts about 25 seconds in. They don't run it all, and they may have spliced part of the middle of the video to the beginning ("quotes from the founder") but there is a part of their version which differs significantly from the original. Spot it, if you can. It matters.

Did you notice the difference?

The video that Fox aired has the voiceover artist saying, ""Sarah Palin and her husband were strong supporters". But that's not what the original Ethan Winner video said. The original video says, "Sarah Palin and her husband were MEMBERS of this ....."

If any one finds the source for the new and improved video, let me know. I haven't digested exactly what this means yet, but it's fairly good evidence that someone at sometime (new post-outing video? or made side by side with and at same time original was made?) decided that the claim that Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party was just too big a lie to get away with.

Allah asks some questions here, but dude: if people claiming to be members of al Qaeda and who presume the freaking CIA are wired into their skullcaps make these same kinds of stupid mistakes, why not an Obama operative? It gives too much credit to people who, in the end, remain people.

Eg, see Watergate break in.

: Here's the video source. It's from the YouTube page of Say's Me TV which seems to run this blog and is associated with this service. Does this mean that they're trying to get this on TV? Yes, it does.

New York Times:

Saysme.tv offers a service over the Internet that streamlines the submission process for homemade television advertising and offers cheap slices of cable-TV time — perhaps as little as $6 for a 25-second spot, assuming you are O.K. with appearing on CNN Headline News sometime next week in parts of Charlotte, N.C., in the wee hours.
They claim that this is what they're doing:
Timing its debut to the highly polarized 2008 elections, SaysMe allows you to promote the people and causes you care about most in a brand new way. Now, instead of passively writing checks and wondering how the money will be spent, you can choose 30 second ads from our library and run them on TV with your name branded on the end as the sponsor.

For you creative types, we encourage you to make your own ads and let people who share your views sponsor them. You'll even get paid every time someone runs your ad on TV.

This is getting interesting....

So, if Ethan's story is to be believed, then he produced two separate Palin smear videos and will pay [future tense, his words] for the voiceover out of his own pockets?

And his second video -- which is still a smear against Palin but which does not contain the objective statement about her being a member of the group [objectively not true], but the subjective statement that she strongly supports the group [hey, she sent a video to them once, that's strong support, right?] -- is now out and he's trying to get people to pay for it to be run on TV?

The story from Ethan was hard to believe the first time I heard it. Now I'm dying to hear his explanation!

UPDATE: They seem to specialize in anti-Palin videos, but not exclusively. All the other videos? Amateurish.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:56 PM | Comments |

Anti-Palin Smears Connected to Axelrod/Obama?


Since we just got a mention on Fox News, I guess I'll come out of my hole and direct new readers to the report we did on how employees of a mega-PR firm are behind the smear and how there may be a connection to the Obama campaign.

Click here for the original report ---> Hope, Change, & Lies: Orchestrated "Grassroots" Smear Campaigns & the People that Run Them

Ethan Winner Responds: Claims He Produced Video
Obama Denies Behind Anti-Palin Video; Bloggers Solely Behind Accusations
Winner Worked with Axelrod in Past
How Much Money did Axelrod's PR Firm Get from Obama
How they Astroturfed Hillary Remembered
Second Winner Produced Palin Smear Video Appears

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the shout out! I didn't see it, but Kafir says she was great.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:26 PM | Comments |

Circle the Wagons!

Too bad that lunatic Olberman is muzzled. I'd love to hear some ranting from him. In the meantime, this is pretty funny: JayTea at Wizbang fisks a Media Matters report called "The Jawa Report Shoots and Misses" ("Just another day at the office for the can't-shoot-straight gang on the far side of the blogosphere."). bwahahaha. JayTea makes oh, a few good points, take a look.

A few more good points can be found at The Examiner. Its a complete analysis, and this is from the conclusion:

If like me, you suspect that this video was an Axelrod production, it leaves you with two reasonable theories. First, the ad was possibly produced by Axelrod before The New York Times retracted the claim carried in the video. Then Axelrod shelved it. At that point, Winner probably had the ad from Axelrod and was either told to sit on it and he disobeyed or told to release it as a viral video.

Take note of the Obama spokespeson's denial. He said we had nothing to do with this "YouTube video". Let's parse that statement. By characterzing the video as a "YouTube video" he can disassociate the general act of making the video from the act of uploading it to YouTube. In fact, this does not expliciately deny that Axelrod's company or another contractor produced the video for the Obama campaign. Too fine a point? Does what the meaning of "is" is ring any bells? (emphasis added-j)

Or, perhaps, as Ethan Winner claims, he was completely responsible from top to bottom for the ad. Of course, a sleazy ad like this would harm any professional PR firm's reputation. What would his motivation be to damage his own reputation?

That's a good question, especially when there is no disputing the claim that the lovely Sarah was not a member of AIP. Ethan admitted he knew the smear was already de-bunked in the comments at the Youtube vid he posted spreading the smear. And we could see that if he didn't yank the vid and close his account within minutes of Jawa's post.

By Jane at 09:55 AM | Comments |

September 23, 2008

Obama Denies Behind Anti-Palin Video; Bloggers Solely Behind Accusations

Marc Ambinder in the Atlantic:

For the record, here is what Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor has to say:

"This one ranks as one of the most outlandish conspiracy theories in a campaign that has had its share of them. Neither our campaign nor any of our consultants had any involvement with this YouTube video, and the McCain campaign should provide a shred of believable evidence before advancing false allegations and misleading voters yet another time."

For the record, I tried to get the McCain camp to help me find who was behind the video. They declined.

Seriously, I practically begged for help from all quarters and the only help that was offered was from other bloggers. Bloggers who I also asked to get in touch with McCain's people to see if they would help scour Obama's financial disclosures for payments to Publicis Groupe owned companies.

The response? Crickets.

The McCain campaign wasn't interested. Neither was the MSM. Just us, a pajama wearing Army of Davids. Sitting around with nothing better to do than muckrake. Replacing real social interaction with ephemeral digital connections.

I'm busy again today -- as I'm going to be for the next month, sorry, but the real job calls and I spent nearly a week full time working on the Winner story at the expense of my other commitments that will not longer wait -- but the best response to Ambinder's evaluation of the scandal is from Ray Robison here.

I'd especially note Ray's observation of a critique Ambinder makes and I've been hearing from the beginning: no one could be that stupid.

At first I heard it from those who I told about the connection between "eswinner" and Ethan Winner. You're wrong, Rusty, that can't be Winner. There has to be a better explanation. No one could be that stupid.

Wrong. People can be that stupid.

When I write my tell all book about the stupid mistakes made by "anonymous" terrorist supporters online and how they can be tracked down we can have a longer chat. That's classified. No, actually it's not classified. It's all open source. I just like to say it's classified. Not discussing my minor role in all of it just makes me feel less like Comic Book Guy, and more like James Bond.

Ambinder's argument is that the Obama camp couldn't be so stupid as to have anything to do with the video.

Um, wrong again. The assumption being that they were directly behind it. Maybe they weren't? Subcontracting out work always runs the risk of sloppiness.

Who would have thought that the man who forced North Vietnam to the Paris negotiating table and who opened China could have blown a simple break in? Secret war in Cambodia, yes; grand larceny, no?

The answer: he didn't blow the break in. His subcontracters did.

I'd again direct readers to read Ethan Winner's confession that he was behind the video. Read the carefully crafted wording of it.

Sure, the VP of a PR firm could have produced the video on his own, personally paid for the voice talent, got the agency to bill him, asked his multimillionaire President of a well known Democratically connected PR firm of a father to legitimize its false attacks, created multiple sock puppet accounts, and asked his buddies at the PR firm which specializes in "grassroots organization" to spread it around the internet claiming it was from "A Group of Concerned Citizens" --- on company time. It's possible.

It's also possible that I'll get a shot at that Angelina Jolie - Scarlett Johannson thing. This is American damnit, everything is possible!

It's also possible that we have a case of astroturfing, plain and simple. Which, by definition, is a paid political campaign run by parties unknown, who wish to remain unknown, and who wish the whole thing to appear as if it's bottom up and grassroots.

But, who knows? Our investigation was really about getting the MSM off their lazy asses and doing the real digging. But apparently investigative journalism has been reduced to calling a campaign and getting a statement.

I think that's how Woodward and Bernstein did it, right? They called the White House and said, "Hey, Nixon, did you do it? No. Okay. Case closed."

At least that's how I remember All the President's Men.

Man, that part when Bernstein was all like, "Gotta get my boxer shorts at K-Mart." Classic.

Now excuse me. I deserve a vacation. Unfortunately I won't be getting one. But I do need to take some time off of the blog to get some of my personal and business affairs in order. Ciao.

PS--I'll be on the radio tonight.

UPDATE: Ace--"I think they're lying."

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 06:10 PM | Comments |

September 22, 2008

Winner Worked with Axelrod in Past

Q: Who's media company did Charles Winner's Winner/Wagner & Mandabach work with to produce videos to help their clients pass Detroit's Proposal "E" pushing for casinos?



Call it a hunch, but I wonder if they've worked on power company related campaigns in the past, too????

UPDATE: As I've mentioned before, the internet hasn't been working reliably for me today (of all days!). I actually had Ray email me his post since I couldn't see it on the web. I now have checked the source material, and I've got to say that maybe this was a false alarm. I don't see the Winner connection.

UPDATE: Oh, that David Axelrod. I did a key word search on the page, and I must have typed in in wrong because.....

We had hired the political consulting firm of Winner/Wagner & Mandabach based upon their specialization in ballot measures, win record, and reputation for telling clients the truth [ed note: bwahahahaaaaaa!!]. Early in the year, we asked the firm to develop an in-depth poll to help determine if the campaign could be won and, if so, to develop a winning campaign strategy for us....

Despite these findings, Winner/Wagner & Mandabach partners Chuck Winner, Ethan Wagner, Paul Mandabach and Les Francis emerged from their in-house evaluation with a belief that Proposal E could be passed....

A major component of our strategy was to delay mounting a paid media effort until late in the campaign. This would avoid rousing the opposition into action and allow us time to secure the $5 to $10 million that our research indicated was needed to run a winning media campaign....

An ad featuring popular Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer was produced by the Mayor's media consultant, David Axelrod. It aired in the final days of the campaign, and asked Michigan voters to help Detroit reduce its dependence on state aid.

Hmmmmmmm. Again, the energy connection people. The energy connection.

Did I say it was a hunch?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:24 PM | Comments |

The Original Astroturfing: Change we can Fake


Thanks to Brian.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:25 PM | Comments |

Intercepted video shows Axelrod Call to Winner?

Axelrod Called Ethan Winner?

UPDATE: Riehl tells me he was paid will be paying for this as soon as he's billed.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:18 PM | Comments |

Palin Hates Rape Victims Lie Put to Rest

Bob Owens can find no evidence that Wasilla ever charged rape victims for their rape kits. None.

A lie so stupid, that David Axelrod Ethan Winner may personally hire Winona Ryder to appear in his "homemade" video: Sarah Palin, why do you hate rape victims?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 06:28 PM | Comments |

Ethan Winner Responds: Claims He Produced Video

Ethan Winner responds. Written like a VP in a public relations firm that specializes in crisis management and grassroots organization. I'll post the whole thing below.

He produced the video? He paid for the voice-over narration which he found through a talent agency? The voice-over artist has never done any work for the Obama campaign?

Uh, yeah, right.

He then goes on to sidestep the question of the lie he puts forth in the video: that Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party -- which she wasn't. That is empirical fact.

Instead, in his carefully crafted explanation of the video, he claims she once attended the party's convention and that her husband was a member. But that's not what the video claims. The video claims she was a member. That is a lie.

I take it back, this sounds more like the company lawyer, Justyn Winner, crafted the response. You don't defend the lie, instead you talk about everything but the lie. It might work to confuse juries Justyn, but come on dude!

Do I find his response hard to believe. Yes I do. I would especially note the carefully crafted future tense usage for when he will pay the voice over artist.

It's almost .... Clintonesque.

So, he produces the video. He pays for the video production -- out of his own pocket. He then posts it to YouTube using multiple phony identities.

Then he gets his friends at one of the largest PR firms in the world to post it on the internet, to suggest to others that they pass it on, and spend company time defending the outright lies in the video --- all for free?

And the multimillionaire who is President of the firm also spends his free time defending the lies on his "homemade" -- yet professionally voiced over -- video?

Hey Ethan, with that business savvy no wonder you were forced to rent out the family yacht! Maybe it's time to also get rid of those courtside seats.


Another question related to Ace's post: Why did Jared "stckyfngz" Liu-Klein have to check with counsel before he responded? Hmmmmm??

Riehl: Hey Ethan, do you have a sword?

UPDATE: You know what Treacher just said that this suddenly remindeds me of? Rielle Hunter

Yet again with the updates! UPDATE: Since the FEC report for September isn't due til next month, do you have to put a payment on the books if the company you paid gave the money back and said, "Hey, I'll cover this one"???? You know, like, my treat.

On to the propaganda piece statement:

Statement of Ethan Winner

The following is in response to questions I have received regarding the post on the Jawa Report website.

I produced and posted on the Internet the video entitled "Sarah Palin: A Heartbeat Away."

The idea for the video was mine. No one paid me to produce it. The only out-of-pocket cost will be the fee for the voice-over narrator, which I will pay personally when I receive an invoice. Contrary to the allegation in the Jawa Report, the voice-over artist has never done any work for the Obama campaign. I retained her through a talent agency based solely on the quality of her voice.

Neither the Obama campaign nor any independent political action committee has had a connection with the making and/or posting of this video. Just like the thousands of Americans who have posted videos on the Internet regarding the current Presidential campaign, I produced this video as an expression of my right to free speech, which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

I believe the American people have a right and a need to know information about candidates for political office and their views. I made this video because I think it is important for the public to be aware of the association between Sarah and Todd Palin and the Alaskan Independence Party. The New York Times has reported that the Alaskan Independence Party website describes the party as seeking, in the words of the party, "a range of solutions to the conflicts between federal and local authority," including "advocacy for state's rights, through a return to territorial status, all the way to complete independence and nationhood status for Alaska."

While a number of media outlets have said that reports that Sarah Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party may have been erroneous, her attendance at the party's 1994 convention, her video speech to the 2008 convention and her husband's membership in the Alaskan Independence Party have not been called into question.

Some people have asked why I have pulled the video from the Internet. The reason is simple. Following the posting of personal information about me by the Jawa Report, my family began to receive threatening and abusive phone calls and emails.

Please, do not harass Ethan or his family. I purposefully did not link to pictures he posted of his familly for that very purpose.

The Freepers think the talent is Vicki Kaywood a Chicago area voice artist. I don't know if they're right --- in fact, I've had dozens of people send me emails with a link to the person they think is the voice talent --- but it might be. Seems like the closest voice so far at least.

Thanks to AllahP for the link.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:55 PM | Comments |

How Much Money did Axelrod's PR Firm Get from Obama

Reader Cathy took a cursory look at Obama's expenditures and found that David Axelrod's AKP Message & Media was paid at least $1.4 million from the Obama campaign in 2008 thru August 31. And that's just what she found.

Those dates would not include the ad in question, which was posted Sep. 11th.

I wonder how you bill astrotrurfing. Is that itemized, hourly, or is it just a flat retainer?

UPDATE: Since the FEC report for September isn't due til next month, do you have to put a payment on the books if the company you paid gave the money back and said, "Hey, I'll cover this one"???? You know, like, my treat.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:29 PM | Comments |