Last week, Unity08 sent out an e-mail to its followers. The corporation which says it will crush the power of lobbyists yet is actually led by lobbyists asked the members of its e-mail listserv “that you write, type, or cut/paste the following letter to the editor of your local newspaper.” Here’s the text of that letter Unity08 wrote itself, then asked its listserv subscribers to cut, paste and send to newspapers:
â€” Letter begins here â€”
America will be in trouble if it doesnâ€™t act quickly on the crucial issues before us â€” 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 â€” politics as usual â€” 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.
Unity08â€™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 nationâ€™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 email@example.com.
â€” Letter ends here â€”
Donâ€™t forget to personally sign your letters!
Yes indeed, “Don’t forget to personally sign your letters!” Unity08 explicitly encouraged its followers to take a letter they didn’t write, copy it, and send it newspapers with their personal signatures, claiming to have written it themselves. That’s plagiarism. That’s fraud. That’s lying. Some kinda ethics, huh?
Before the weekend, two people had followed Unity08′s advice, copied Unity08′s PR letter word for word, and sent it in with their name falsely claiming authorship. Over the weekend, eight more did the same:
- Daniel Vail of Park Hill sent the copied letter to the Muskogee Phoenix, where it was published with his name as author. But he wrote not one word of it.
- Roger L. Wever of Deming, NM sent the copied letter to The Deming Headlight, where it was published with his name as author. But he wrote not one word of it.
- James Brown of Colorado Springs sent the copied letter to The Denver Post, where it was published with his name as author. But he wrote not one word of it.
- Kathryn Little sent the copied letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where it was published with her name as author. The only part of the letter which was hers was one sentence, which she changed from Unity08′s original “The 2008 election is a moment of truth.” to “And many, including me, feel that the 2008 election should be a moment of truth.” Every other word of her letter was copied directly from Unity08′s PR release.
- Alex Soave of Fellesmere, FL sent the copied letter to the Treasure Coast Palm, where it was published with his name as author. But he wrote not one word of it.
- David Scharfan of Florham Park, NJ sent the copied letter to the Morris County Daily Record, where it was published with his name as author. But he wrote not one word of it.
- Doug Rosa of St. George, UT sent the copied letter to the St. George Spectrum, where it was published with his name as author. But he wrote not one word of it.
- Michael Capro of Wall, NJ sent the copied letter to the Asbury Park Press, where it was published with his name as author. But he wrote not one word of it.
The people running Unity08 are not stupid. They know that if they send letters to the editor of all these newspapers signed by themselves as executive officers of the Unity08 corporation, the newspapers will be less likely to publish the letters because they won’t be local and the readers of the paper will be less likely to believe the content of the letters because it will look self-serving. They need some useful dupes to lie for them and make it falsely appear as if a local everyday Jane or Joe thunk the whole thing up, sat down at the dining room table in a baseball cap, and wrote the thing him- or herself.
Congratulations to each of these citizens for cooperating with Unity08′s effort to turn America’s political discourse into a shepherding contest.