Thursday, June 17, 2021


Here's a HufPost story from the Obamacare Town Halls of 2009:

Congressman Steve Kagen, (D-Wisc.) found himself interrupted during a town hall meeting on health care on Thursday evening which, considering the boisterous protests going on at these events all week, wasn’t much of a surprise.

But towards the end of the Wisconsin Democrat’s health care forum something a bit peculiar happened. A woman who initially identified herself as “just a mom from a few blocks away” who was “not affiliated with a political party” was outed by a reporter as a GOP operative who worked for Kagen’s election opponent John Gard as well as the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the Republican National Committee.

Those Town Halls, it turned out, were thick with living astroturf from rightwing PACs and pressure groups who disguised their obstreperous operatives as Just Plain Joes and Janes so people would think their "No Affordable Health Care for Me!" message was genuine Vox Populi. 

Flash forward to the current "critical race theory" controversy, and surprise, conservatives are trying the same thing with the same kind of ringers, a number of whom have been ID'd in this excellent Matt Gertz and Tyler Monroe story at Media Matters:   

Fox has hosted Ian Prior at least 15 times to discuss various “critical race theory” stories, according to Media Matters’ database of weekday cable news guests. Fox hosts and anchors have given him various introductions including “Loudoun County parent”; a “father” who “has gone from concerned parent, like many of you, to legal activist”; and “a Loudoun County, Virginia, parent and founder of"...

What Fox personalities tend not to mention is Prior’s long career as a Republican political operative. He worked in top communications roles during the 2016 election cycle for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Karl Rove-fronted super PAC American Crossroads, and the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC that works to elect Republican senators which was founded by allies of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He then spent a year and a half as a top public affairs aide to Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions...

I especially enjoyed Carrie Lukas being identified as “a Virginia mom of five," a “VA mother,” etc. when I've been following her career as a rightwing nut for years

You may recall that some of us gave columnist Salena Zito a hard time back when she used to identify Republican operatives as simple salt-of-the-earth types with no political affiliation. Since then she seems to have stopped, which goes to show that even in the rough-and-tumble world of journalism there are limits. But in politics anything goes. I can't wait until John Barron steps to the mic

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