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Unity08 Asks its Followers to Commit Letter Fraud

When Unity08 started out in May of 2006, the lobbyist-run anti-lobbyist corporation with designs of electing its own president of the United States let citizens post messages containing whatever thoughts popped into their heads. Boy, was that a mistake! I mean, hoo boy, did the little people ever go off message. So first Unity08 shoved citizen contributions off the front page, then shoved them off its blog, and now shoved citizen discussion on its website into a cornerrelegates them to a tiny corner, through a series of intermediate links. Even there, it deletes messages that stray too far from the corporate line.

Minimizing actual citizen participation is one thing. But yesterday Unity08 took a further step. Now that it has quieted down its followers’ authentic voices sufficiently, Unity08 is sending out an e-mail asking them to speak up again, sort of:

For this week’s 10 Minute Tuesday, we ask that you write, type, or cut/paste the following letter to the editor of your local newspaper, radio station, television station, and other community periodicals.

Here’s the text of the letter:

— Letter begins here —

Dear Editor,

America will be in trouble if it doesn’t act quickly on the crucial issues before us — the economy, education, energy dependence, the environment, health care, immigration, terrorism, and more. I am a member of a movement called Unity08 that will bring our politics back to common ground and elect leadership to the White House that will actually lead.

Politics as we know it — politics as usual — is over. Unity08 will provide access to information, discussion, and decision-making tools that will change politics forever. And, just in time. 8 of every 10 Americans think Washington is so polarized that it is paralyzed. The 2008 election is a moment of truth.

Unity08’s new approach will:

1. Enable Americans to rank our most crucial issues.
2. Force the candidates to address those crucial issues.
3. In June, empower all Americans to choose a bipartisan ticket in a secure vote online.
4. In November, elect the Unity08 Ticket to our nation’s highest office.

Unity08 combines our oldest values and our newest technology to reactivate the American community. And then, America can be a proud country again, worthy of inspiring both our children and the world.

As a member of Unity08, I invite you to learn more about our movement at Unity08.com. Please feel free to direct any questions to me or to info@unity08.com.

For change,

— Letter ends here —

Don’t forget to personally sign your letters!

Yep, Unity08 is asking its followers to sign their names to a letter that speaks in the voice of a dedicated follower but which its followers didn’t actually write. That’s a fraudulent act also known in the circles of we little people as a “lie.” In the world of public relations, it’s known as “astroturf” for its false grass-roots pretense. If you went to school, you’d get punished for it under the name “plagiarism.”

In deploying the astroturf tactic, Unity08 not only demonstrates a disregard for honesty in its expression. It also reaffirms its distrust of the citizens it wishes to deploy. Rather than worry about them straying off the pre-approved message, Unity08 has chosen the path of fraudulent sameness. The result is Unity, all right. But is it the kind of Unity you really want?

4 comments to Unity08 Asks its Followers to Commit Letter Fraud

  • Joseph

    Jim,
    I enjoy reading Irregular Times, but I don’t understand why you are so negative about Unity08? Are you really set on electing whatever new clown the Democratic party gives us, which won’t be better than the old one?

    What’s better than having all of us, all citizens, able to go online and vote on what issues matter to us and then nominate a ticket for the Presidency? I’ve been signed up with Unity08 for awhile, and even if there are lobbyist crackpots running it, so what? As long as all of us go online and vote for a progressive ticket, then there will be a true progressive ticket on the ballot…right? Or am I missing something?

  • Mr. Cook, the initial paragraph that you pasted made it to your blog without the final sentence that was included in the actual email that was sent to members.

    It said, “Feel free to edit it to make it your own.”

    Bob Roth
    VP Online Marketing
    http://unity08.com

  • Jim

    No, actually, the final sentence was:

    I thank you for caring. This is your movement and your efforts are vital to its success.

    Thank you,

    Doug Bailey
    Co-founder

    It also said:

    By the way, most of your local media have web sites that allow you to quickly send your letters, but please do not hesitate to type or write them out and send them in the mail, if you prefer.

    But yes, that sentence was there, too.

    So really, what Unity08 said was,

    Go ahead, sign your name to a letter you didn’t write and claim authorship.

    Aaaaand, if you’d like to change some words around, that’s OK too.

    Does that make it better, Bob? That Unity08 is saying, “Please commit a misrepresentation to sell the movement. Add your own words too if you life”? Are you proud now?

    Aw, why am I even asking you questions, Bob? You promised to answer a question of mine months back and you never wrote back.

  • Jim

    I’m negative about Unity08 when I see negative things, “Joseph,” just like I’m negative about the Republicans when I see negative things, and just like I’m negative about the Democrats when I see negative things. If Unity08 stops doing negative things, “Joseph,” I’ll stop reporting their existence.

    Or do you just want a change in tone, “Joseph”? Like this?

    Hey kids, Unity08 set up a really swell new feature where you can send off a letter to the editor with YOUR NAME on it like YOU WROTE it and you don’t even have to actually write it! Wow! Isn’t America swell?

    Is that better? Is that more “positive”?

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