Join 3,524 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


I reside in the area near where your paper is published
September 28, 2012 6:32 PM   Subscribe

When Rex Conte's letter to the editor -- "Why I am Voting for Mitt Romney" -- was featured in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and then reached top-tier status on Google News, several commenters pointed out that Rex had a similar letter published in the Chicago Sun-Times. Nothing too abnormal there, but in the Post-Dispatch letter he claimed his residence was "Chesterfield," outside of St. Louis, and in the Sun-Times letter, he claimed that his residence was "Oak Hills," outside of Chicago. So, "where does Rex live?" curious readers wanted to find out. An editor from the Post-Dispatch called Rex to find out and followed up with a note at the bottom of the letter: "Mr. Conte wrote a similar letter to the Chicago Sun-Times that said he lived in Oak Park, Ill. Comments and emails questioned how he could live in two places and whether he was a real person. I talked on the phone with Mr. Conte, who says he used to live in Chesterfield but not any more. So we've changed his hometown in this letter." So, we now know he doesn't live in Chesterfield any more but the editor doesn't go into whether he still lives in Oak Park now or if he just "used to live there." The Sun-Times hasn't added any notes to Conte's letter in their publication but critics on the web are claiming that the GOP is "planting fake Letters to Editors."

Conte's white lie wouldn't be so interesting if his letters hadn't so faithfully (and creatively) echoed one of the themes in Mitt Romney's 47% video, when Romney was talking about how to reach independent voters: "Those people that we have to get, they want to believe that they did the right thing, but he just wasn't up to the task. They love the phrase that 'he's over his head.'" In keeping with that line of reasoning, Conte presents himself as a corporate HR director (and former Obama supporter) who would give Obama a performace appraisal somewhere between "unsatisfactory to a performance improvement plan (PIP)," and invites other 53 percenters to join him in that assessment.
posted by Jagz-Mario (76 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is why editorial page editors are supposed to call to confirm every single letter to the editor before it is published.
posted by NedKoppel at 6:36 PM on September 28, 2012 [16 favorites]


What? The GOP is behaving dishonestly? NO SURELY NOT.
posted by elizardbits at 6:36 PM on September 28, 2012 [42 favorites]


I've seen a LOT of fake comments on Youtube from people claiming to be democrats who can't in good conscience in 2012 vote for the man they voted for in 2008, so they're voting for Romney. Anyone else notice this?
posted by Yowser at 6:37 PM on September 28, 2012 [14 favorites]


Media-owning corporate conservatives gaming the conservative media by pumping it full of lies from apparent Real People?

gasp
posted by DU at 6:38 PM on September 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Uh...I'm not a Republican apologist, but isn't this kind of burying the lede that someone at the paper spoke on the phone to Rex Conte? Surely even the Republican Party is not dumb enough to fake receiving a phone call as a non-existent person...
posted by threeants at 6:38 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Surely even the Republican Party is not dumb enough to fake receiving a phone call as a non-existent person...

...or the intrepid reporter might...ring your phone again?
posted by jaduncan at 6:42 PM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why must he be non-existent for this to be bad?
posted by DU at 6:42 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


...former Gov. Romney (when focused) has a very good business head on his shoulders.

Government is not a business. Pick the worst performing state in the United States, whatever it is. You can't fire it, lay it off or shuttle it off to another division or location. The President, and nation, are stuck with it.

It's not that a candidate's business sense doesn't matter, but it can not be their defining characteristic. Being President of the United States is not about cutting costs and increasing profits, rather it's about doing the most good for the most people with the limited resources available to you. Even if 47% of them recognize that you're a self absorbed twit who's never done a bit of hard work in your life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 PM on September 28, 2012 [125 favorites]


The real story? Too many people pushing false narratives versus too few journalists (or perhaps even human beings at all) vetting stories before they're given a supposed place of prominence and credibility.
posted by peacay at 6:45 PM on September 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Uh...I'm not a Republican apologist, but isn't this kind of burying the lede that someone at the paper spoke on the phone to Rex Conte?

So apparently the guy who called him is the Post-Dispatch's features copy-desk chief, the guy whose last actual reporting for the paper, in April, concerned the proper use of the apostrophe in year abbreviations.
posted by limeonaire at 6:47 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


a self absorbed twit who's never done a bit of hard work in your life.

Mitt Romney: A Human Who Built That, narrated by Leonard Nimoy, recounts the self-made businessman's rise from public housing and the Vietnam War, to his presidential self-reconstruction.

apologies for those who cannot watch this -- I looked for a YouTube version, but couldn't find one.
posted by hippybear at 6:54 PM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


...OK, so I do feel a little bad about throwing a fellow copy editor under the bus. That was kind of a cheap shot. Maybe he's done lots of seriously intrepid fact-checking in the intervening months that no one will ever know about. But man. His explanation on this is a little lacking, to be sure. "I talked on the phone with Mr. Conte, who says he used to live in Chesterfield but not any more. So we've changed his hometown in this letter." That's it? First, you could talk to anyone on the phone and they could claim to be anyone from anywhere. Second, it's "anymore," Mr. Copy Chief.
posted by limeonaire at 6:54 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, that's the last time I base my political decisions on opinions expressed in the Letters to the Editor printed in my local paper!!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:54 PM on September 28, 2012 [25 favorites]


Am I missing something of significance here? In this era of digital media and instant publication, letters to the editor and comments on media forums have absolutely no inherent validity. Unless you personally know the writer, it's pretty safe to assume there are good odds that the person posting the comment/writing the letter, isn't exactly who he/she says they are.

This isn't surprising.
posted by HuronBob at 6:57 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rex Conte seems to be a sock puppet. The only thing that comes up for his name, is other anti-Obama, anti-Emanuel letters to the editor in the Chicago Sun. There are 2 people in the country with that name; neither of which are in either of these two cities.

However, in the Chicago Bears organization there is a Chris Conte, and a Rex Ryan.

I'd bet folding money that "Rex Conte" the letter writer, is a completely fictitious human. And, ya know, I know I took journalism classes waaaaay back in the 90s, but if I could dig this up in under 5 minutes; I'm a little sad that the paper didn't even try.
posted by dejah420 at 7:00 PM on September 28, 2012 [33 favorites]


I wonder if odd stuff like this and the Joe Ricketts thing is the beginning of some strange after-effects we're going to see from Citizen's United (not that fake letters are a new thing, but it seems to be on a whole other scale). With virtually unlimited funds, the GOP can just throw money at the wall and see what sticks-- not actually a great idea when you're trying to push a specific message. And with so many super PACs, and so many 1%-ers donating money to push their own agenda and reasons for disliking Obama, any attempt at a coherent message gets lost amid shit like the aforementioned youtube spamming and rich loons creating their own racist ads. It's just not well thought out.
posted by sonmi at 7:02 PM on September 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, this is different than the "Why i refuse to vote for Obama" link I keep seeing on facebook?
posted by hopeless romantique at 7:07 PM on September 28, 2012


I'd bet folding money that "Rex Conte" the letter writer, is a completely fictitious human. And, ya know, I know I took journalism classes waaaaay back in the 90s, but if I could dig this up in under 5 minutes; I'm a little sad that the paper didn't even try.

Because who cares ? I mean. I know, it's a newspaper and it seems like some basic google skills should be mandatory to work there. But it's also a letter to the editor - which is the page that collects the writings of all the kooks and weirdos. I can't recall the last time I read one that was at all enlightening or useful.

It's the pre-youtube comments section. I'm not surprised that the newspaper expends little to no moderation - it's like skimming the scum off the top of a cesspool.

Besides, they're still running Jonah Goldberg and George Will, among others.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:07 PM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ohh, derp, those titles aren't actually alike at all.
posted by hopeless romantique at 7:07 PM on September 28, 2012


There's a word for this. It's "futility," because a million-trillion-billion letters to the editor won't save Mitt at this point.
posted by crunchland at 7:09 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


A couple of fact-checking tips for something like this in the future:

1. Look the guy up in the St. Louis County personal property tax database and real-estate database. Yeah, not everyone owns a car or a house, but it's a place to start.

2. Google key phrases in the letter or the letter-writer's name. That presumably would've turned up the first letter, whose existence probably should've precluded running the second one.
posted by limeonaire at 7:09 PM on September 28, 2012


I assume that all the members of the Yawn Brigade would have no trouble with MeFi abandoning unique usernames.
posted by DU at 7:15 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, now that it's been uncovered, the response is "So we've changed his hometown in this letter." That's it? No investigation of the ties between Rex Conte and the campaign, or the Republican party? No investigation to see if similar letters have appeared in every other media market? No investigation to see whether Rex Conte is an actual person and not a made up persona? No consideration of parsing the actual contents of the letter?

Thank god for the fourth estate, valiantly fighting to keep the populace informed and thereby ensuring the continued success of democracy!
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:19 PM on September 28, 2012 [25 favorites]


The Post-Dispatch letter is the only relevant hit I found in LexisNexis for the terms Rex, Conte, and Obama.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:27 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am like you. I voted for tea party right-wing Republicans in 2010, but I am deeply, deeply disappointed in them. I must now vote for Democrats.
posted by lathrop at 7:36 PM on September 28, 2012 [18 favorites]


So, this is different than the "Why i refuse to vote for Obama" link I keep seeing on facebook?

Yes, that's Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic. That's a whole other thing.
posted by scalefree at 7:38 PM on September 28, 2012


The 35 people that actually ended up reading these two letters must have been furious! Seriously--letters to the editors of regional newspapers have like 1/5 the reach of your average YouTube comment. It's sketchy and unethical, and if I worked at the paper I'd be inclined to investigate, but who cares?
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:44 PM on September 28, 2012


White lies? I agree with ceribus peribus: If you catch someone out in one lie in something like this, the automatic assumption should not be that everything else is truth. And if thirty seconds on Google are enough to raise even faint questions about the rest of it that the author is not willing to put to rest, then the whole thing should be pulled.

But the trouble is, that's not how Letters to the Editor work in newspapers, well, anywhere I've seen. They are the province of liars and crackpots, unfortunately. If you believed the Letters to the Editor, people in BMWs routinely use food stamps to buy champagne, welfare reform never happened, and business owners are having trouble now entirely because taxes are too high, not because of any silly thing like sales, and it's a well-known fact that gays and lesbians all die young and miserable. And that's assuming you're reading a paper that actually weeds out stuff like birther crap or how Hilary Clinton arranged for the murders of her lesbian lovers.

So... kinda hard to be surprised by more of the same.
posted by gracedissolved at 7:45 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rex: King
Conte: 1) A short story or novella 2) A medieval narrative. Also related to count.

So-the name refers to a fabrication about a "king"?
(Or yeah, they just took the name from two jocks who play for da Bears. )
posted by NorthernLite at 7:45 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if odd stuff like this and the Joe Ricketts thing is the beginning of some strange after-effects we're going to see from Citizen's United (not that fake letters are a new thing, but it seems to be on a whole other scale). With virtually unlimited funds, the GOP can just throw money at the wall and see what sticks-- not actually a great idea when you're trying to push a specific message. And with so many super PACs, and so many 1%-ers donating money to push their own agenda and reasons for disliking Obama, any attempt at a coherent message gets lost amid shit like the aforementioned youtube spamming and rich loons creating their own racist ads. It's just not well thought out.

This is a fucking fascinating argument.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:00 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's the "anyone but him" strategy.
posted by Talez at 8:13 PM on September 28, 2012


The simplest explanation is that this is a single actor and not some organized scheme from the professional GOP. For a national campaign, letters to the editor have such a tiny effect that it's hardly worth the staff time it would take to develop such a plot.

What campaigns of all levels will do is write a bunch of letters and get people in the local markets to sign them as their own. That's especially effective in the tiny rural weeklies that are desperate for locally-relevant copy to put between ads. The better campaigns have different letters for each person, but that's not always the case...
posted by the christopher hundreds at 8:17 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think I know where he got the idea for the alias: Rex Dart: Eskimo Spy (YouTube)
posted by LastOfHisKind at 8:22 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The simplest explanation is that this is a single actor and not some organized scheme from the professional GOP. For a national campaign, letters to the editor have such a tiny effect that it's hardly worth the staff time it would take to develop such a plot.

What campaigns of all levels will do is write a bunch of letters and get people in the local markets to sign them as their own. That's especially effective in the tiny rural weeklies that are desperate for locally-relevant copy to put between ads. The better campaigns have different letters for each person, but that's not always the case...


How does a campaign get people to sign? Just wanna learn about logistics. Thats main reason I posted this so dont hold back if you know about how things work.

For those unsurprised, the fact that this stuff isnt surprising doesn't make me less interested in this topic. It doesnt have to be a scandal to be interesting.
posted by Jagz-Mario at 8:36 PM on September 28, 2012


I always find it very interesting that the vast majority of MeFites are obviously Democrats - when I look at other US discussion platforms (forums etc.) there seems to be more of a mix. But then maybe I'm missing something 'cos I'm from the UK....
posted by Monkeymoo at 8:37 PM on September 28, 2012


He doesn't own any real property in Cook County, IL (home of Oak Park). I couldn't find personal property tax records for Cook County.

He was not involved in any of the cases indexed in Case.Net for Missouri (which doesn't by itself prove anything but if by chance he were listed there it would definitely prove his existence--and there's nothing). I couldn't find a similar court case search for IL.
posted by flug at 8:38 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


peacay: The real story? Too many people pushing false narratives versus too few journalists (or perhaps even human beings at all) vetting stories before they're given a supposed place of prominence and credibility.

Well, this election season is especially hard, what with the " self-imposed Michele Bachmann [fact-checking] quota in some of those debates," because "if the AP had gone back and vetted all her claims that looked dicey, the result would “overload” the debate story."


sonmi: I wonder if odd stuff like this and the Joe Ricketts thing is the beginning of some strange after-effects we're going to see from Citizen's United

Headline: GOP Super PAC: Obama Is a 'Metrosexual, Black Abe Lincoln'
Apparently, being a black, well-groomed version of one of America's most beloved presidents is a bad thing. And along with a lot of chickens and Reverend Jeremiah Wright--it's the skeleton of a conservative Super PAC's $10 million attack plan.

We're totally with you if all those sound a bit weird, but that's actually all in an advertisement commissioned by TD Ameritrade founder (and DNA Info founder and CEO) Joe Ricketts and obtained by The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg who published the story and portions of the storyboard online today.
Seriously, that's the worst smear campaign attempt ever. "Why, he dresses sharply, and cannot tell a lie! He'll be the worst president to have, for a second time!"
posted by filthy light thief at 8:42 PM on September 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


St. Louis resident here. The level of journalistic diligence is unsurprising given trends recently in newspapers. It's a sad state of affairs in the Pulitzer's hometown.
posted by DaddyNewt at 8:43 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree with the "see what sticks" theory. And sir Blatcher's fine comment.
posted by cashman at 8:45 PM on September 28, 2012


Monkeymoo: I always find it very interesting that the vast majority of MeFites are obviously Democrats - when I look at other US discussion platforms (forums etc.) there seems to be more of a mix.

I think political threads tend to be loudly monopolized by Democrats, making it harder/less comfortable for people who have other political views to speak up. When they do, there tends to be pile-ons. After enough time, the members have created their own slant to the site.


DaddyNewt: The level of journalistic diligence is unsurprising given trends recently in newspapers.

Accuracy doesn't sell papers, stories do.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:47 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Headline: GOP Super PAC: Obama Is a 'Metrosexual, Black Abe Lincoln'

But Abe was a Republican!
posted by kenko at 8:49 PM on September 28, 2012


Another bizarre micro-targeting thing the GOP did recently: mailers about Lyme disease in Virginia. Note that "improving synergy" is the solution.

Not to mention putting Romney and a dog on the same flyer isn't going to make the associations they want it to...
posted by sonmi at 8:50 PM on September 28, 2012


Let me second Yowsa's comment: This is garden-variety astroturf. I can't tell you how many letters to the editor I've read or calls to radio shows I've heard where the person claims to be a "lifelong Democrat" or voted for Obama in 2008, but then proceeds to parrot the GOP talking points of the day. The only slip-up here was using the same name in two different newspapers.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:55 PM on September 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Campaigns are now targeting their advertising based on a ton of specific, purchased information that neither the public nor journalists are privvy to. Check out Sasha Issenberg's dry but totally interesting book The Victoy Lab if you want to see just how granular it gets.

Anyhow, it may not make much sense to us, but some data somewhere must have convinced Romney this was a good idea.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:58 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This silly shit is why Romney is going broke and still losing.
posted by edgeways at 9:24 PM on September 28, 2012


If Romney were a good businessman, he'd have to fire himself for failure to perform. Not to be mentioned the immense cost savings in shutting down this foolish getting-elected enterprise.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I have read a Letter to the Editor in the last ten years I have completely forgotten the experience. I have not written one since the first time I posted to USENET in the early '90's. I am a little surprised they still exist.
posted by bukvich at 9:47 PM on September 28, 2012


some data somewhere must have convinced Romney this was a good idea.

If this is indeed a coordinated effort on the part of Romney's campaign or one or another of its various proxies, it is actually proof positive that they are NOT running a metrics-driven operation.

Neither the effect nor the stickiness of LTE's are worth even a minimal effort. They're pretty much good only for giving that one volunteer something to do so he stops emailing campaign leadership every five minutes.
posted by dersins at 10:35 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even if 47% of them recognize that you're a self absorbed twit who's never done a bit of hard work in your life.

[47 favorites+]


I wanted to favorite this comment, but I just had to leave it where it was.
posted by azpenguin at 10:48 PM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, this is different than the "Why i refuse to vote for Obama" link I keep seeing on facebook?

Yes, that's Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic. That's a whole other thing.


And please note a) he's advocating not voting for President at all, as opposed to voting for Romney
and b) he's absolutely right.

No sane person would look at the awful things Obama has done (Gitmo, drone war, prosecuting whistleblowers, etc etc etc etc etc) and think Romney wouldn't do the same or even worse. But as Mr. Friedersdorf, there comes a point where a moral person simply cannot associate himself with evil, even if it's lesser evil.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:52 PM on September 28, 2012


(Ok, so actually he's supporting Gary Johnson. But the main point is that both major party candidates are utterly unacceptable.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:53 PM on September 28, 2012


some data somewhere must have convinced Romney this was a good idea.

PR firms. Firms that defend Monsanto as an example. There is a reason such efforts are called Astroturf.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:58 PM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am a little surprised they still exist.

There's a significant part of the electorate {as distinguished from the population} that still reads the whole newspaper front to back as soon as it hits their porch and their coffee's ready. The thing is, these people vote. It may not be a great demographic if your business model is selling newspapers; it's just all you've got left. But it's a great demographic if you want people to walk out their front door and down to the neighborhood grammar school on election day.

How does a campaign get people to sign? Just wanna learn about logistics. Thats main reason I posted this so dont hold back if you know about how things work.

I checked a box to write a letter to the editor for Tammy Baldwin and Rob Zerban (who is Paul Ryan's opponent for his seat in Congress). Basically, they put together some topics and key phrases they want you to work into your letter, which you then need to print out and mail yourself (some papers accept e-mail, maybe almost all at this point). Nothing really fancy.

For the State Assembly campaign I was recently involved in (did not proceed past primary), a couple of us wrote letters and then we asked other supporters to sign them. I would have been concerned about the ethics once upon a time, but at this point I realize it just doesn't matter; it's how it's done. We did nix someone sending in a second letter (to beat a 30-day window enforced by the paper) under her dog's name, though -- we did find a human to sign it.
posted by dhartung at 12:02 AM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd imagine the only people reading LTEs these days are older folks, so demographically, it could be an attempt to reach the GOP base of old, angry white people. Except I can't imagine who in that group actually would respond to the "argument" being put forth here.

And not to completely excuse the Post-Dispatch's inadequate vetting and response, but the paper truly has been gutted since being sold to Lee Enterprises in 2005.

There had been some cutbacks in personnel before that, but since the sale, they've gone beyond trimming fat to seriously cutting editorial muscle and bone, and the paper and website are noticeably skimpier as a result. There still are some good people working there, but there simply aren't enough of them to adequately staff a big city daily, and the P-D's institutional memory and standards have been obliterated.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 12:08 AM on September 29, 2012


I once fooled a major right wing web community into believing I was a far right rabidly anti-choice elk-hunting medical doctor from Arkansas, for at least two weeks before some mod over there figured out my game. I was trying to stoke the Santorum fires over there last fall, and would still prefer we got to take down a Christian Taliban instead of a robotic venture capitalist Mormon, but whatever. So I will call it even.

I know it's juvenile, but it's fun to infiltrate crazyland and tweak their sensibilities and they do this all the time (in fact, i did it to avenge similar trolling on a left community site I favor).

Next time I will try being a blind deep sea diving multimillionaire former astronaut.

Actually I'm a far left rabidly pro-choice professor from New York, although the hunting part was true... Gotta write what you know to stay credible when undercover. Nothing says "one of us" more than slightly too much knowledge about guns.
posted by spitbull at 3:15 AM on September 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


A lot of my parent's friends in southern PA are of the "Obama ripped out the rose garden and put in a watermelon garden" variety of Republicans. My mom regards the whole thing as if their ideas are so stupid they don't even bear discussion, she pretty much just patronizes them.

I talk to these guys, and drink with them, when I go out there. I have a UWS liberal elite view of certain types of republicans.

The odd thing is I can get them to agree that any type of wealth redistribution is ok as long as I present it it capitalistic terms. I get these guys to agree that all college education should be free, just so we can compete with China. I get them to agree that the government should pay for health care, so companies don't have to. None of them like Romeny. We just need to present our ideas differently, that we are all in this together to kick China's ass.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:18 AM on September 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


both major party candidates are utterly unacceptable.

And until en mass the citizens who do vote start picking someone else - that will not change.

Imagine if the people who don't vote decided to go vote and wrote in "None of the above".
posted by rough ashlar at 5:27 AM on September 29, 2012


There is no Chicago Bear named "Rex Ryan", he's coach of the NY Jets. The "Rex" part likely came from "Sexy Rexy" Rex Grossman, whose gunslinging quarterback antics are indelibly seared into the brains of many a Chicago area resident.
posted by Challahtronix at 5:31 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a friend who has friends thatwork for a local oil and gas lobbying firm. Fake people write letters all the time.
posted by kenaldo at 5:54 AM on September 29, 2012


Headline: GOP Super PAC: Obama Is a 'Metrosexual, Black Abe Lincoln'...

Seriously, that's the worst smear campaign attempt ever. "Why, he dresses sharply, and cannot tell a lie! He'll be the worst president to have, for a second time!"


This newly uncovered documentary photograph reveals that George Washington, not Abraham Lincoln, famously could not tell a lie (that is, if Parson Weems is to be trusted).
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:40 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Monkeymoo: I always find it very interesting that the vast majority of MeFites are obviously Democrats - when I look at other US discussion platforms (forums etc.) there seems to be more of a mix. But then maybe I'm missing something 'cos I'm from the UK....

Many public US political forums are mud-slinging rabble-rousers, filled with drunken rants and jingoistic generalities fired in volleys. These are for spleen-venting without results, much like tequila-fueled happy hours.

I prefer to think of MeFites as individuals who want to get to the absolute truth in a statement or representation of facts. MeFi participants frequently take an assumption or misrepresentation and turn it on it's head in a few, deft lethal strokes; fact-checking weaponized. Democrats are not immune.

There are not a lot of Republican representations of facts that can make it through that grinder, and it must be demoralizing to watch one's premise, in which one is so emotionally invested, evaporate into mist when confronted with documented facts. Mefites are absolutely no fun at all in that regard.

Republicans instruct their constituents that "fact checking" is so out of fashion (insert eye roll, cluck tongue three times).

"Democrat" tends to be an all-encompassing term in America. We only have two viable parties, and they separate along some very eclectic lines of thought. There are myriad interests on both sides, many of which intersect easily. Some line must be drawn; we can't have a one person/one vote majority election.

One side deals primarily in sausage-making with smoke and mirrors and many, many loud explosions. The other side would like to make their own sausage with locally sourced pork/meat substitute and ingredients so they know what's in it.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 6:49 AM on September 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Increasingly, America's political division lies between the Democratic party and the anti-democratic party.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:54 AM on September 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nixon's dirty tricksters used poison pen letters, such as "the Canuck letter" that pushed Edmund Muskie out of the race, to win the 1972 presidential election. Certainly, I wouldn't put it past Nixon to have put a few fake letters to the editor in local papers.
posted by jonp72 at 7:38 AM on September 29, 2012


I always find it very interesting that the vast majority of MeFites are obviously Democrats - when I look at other US discussion platforms (forums etc.) there seems to be more of a mix. But then maybe I'm missing something 'cos I'm from the UK....

Metafilter is just all about the blue and the green.
posted by jaduncan at 9:02 AM on September 29, 2012


I'm not sure MeFites are Democrats so much as they are the type of people who make decisions based on science, facts, and reality. Those are not the values of the right.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:07 AM on September 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think political threads tend to be loudly monopolized by Democrats

I doubt it. As one of those frequent political thread monopolizing voices I can vouch for the fact that I've never in my life belonged to the Democratic party, and in my earliest years past voting age, voted Republican as often if not more often than Democrat.

What's happened is that any kind of critical thought and serious discussion has been branded 'liberalism' in the US, and liberalism has been redefined as the sole provenance of the Democratic Party, though none of these recent cultural realities in America is in any way historical or factually based.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:48 AM on September 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure MeFites are Democrats so much as they are the type of people who make decisions based on science, facts, and reality. Those are not the values of the right.

Thing is, it doesn't have to be like this... there are people voting for Obama who consider themselves liberal, conservative, socialist, communist, libertarian. Because he might only align with their principles like 30% of the time, but these days the other side aligns with them negative-100% of the time.

In fact, living in the bluest of blue states, I may just vote for a third party... since, because of our lovely electoral college system, my vote in the presidential election literally does not count. But I am still down on my knees praying to Secular Jesus that Obama wins, because I live in reality and Jill Stein will not be the next president of the United States. It will be Center-Right Reasonable Guy or Smirking Sociopath.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:51 AM on September 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


A third party in the White House is pretty much a non-starter right now anyway. A lot of Greens I know have their sights set on local elections, which is the smarter move in the long run.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:23 AM on September 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


from the Romney thread

10 of The Wall Street Journal's editorial writers have not disclosed they also work as campaign advisors for Mitt Romney. remember that journalistic integrity pledge Rupert Murdoch made when he bought the WSJ? yeah.
posted by liza at 11:30 AM on September 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


We have been promised an eight page ballot, front and back in Florida for this election. How many people are even going to read the whole thing? I will. Will you? Of course you will. How many others? Even if you mark a straight DEM or REP ticket, there are fourteen other non-party elections that you failed to vote on. including state supreme court justices and circuit court judges.

Are you prepared to vote for real?
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:27 PM on September 29, 2012


Is Romney Manipulating His Social Media Numbers?
posted by granted at 9:22 PM on September 29, 2012


For fuck's sake, anyone who thinks this is just a Republican move is dead wrong. This is standard practice in a lot of areas, including lefty liberal nonprofit land. Everyone writes bullshit letters to the editor or letters to Congress, using old addresses or work addresses or what have you.

Going after this everyday phenomenon as a partisan thing for political capital is BS.
posted by corb at 9:46 PM on September 29, 2012


Astroturf letters to the editors are so standard on even the most mundane of township dogcatcher campaigns that I'm surprised there's outrage ginned up at all. (In fact, they are often the largest component of dead-tree press given to township dogcatcher.)

How they screwed up was having the same persona do it twice!
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 9:51 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


We have been promised an eight page ballot, front and back in Florida for this election...


Don't forget my favorite Florida elected office, the Mosquito Control Board. (Vote for the 3 that hate the little fuckers the most with the fiery blast of a thousand suns.)
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 9:54 PM on September 29, 2012


In other news: RNC Shocked That Firm Known For Voter Fraud Was Doing Voter Fraud For RNC
posted by homunculus at 1:10 AM on September 30, 2012


Another bizarre micro-targeting thing the GOP did recently: mailers about Lyme disease in Virginia. Note that "improving synergy" is the solution.

The Dangerous Conspiracy Theory Behind Mitt Romney’s Lyme Disease Mailers
posted by homunculus at 1:10 AM on September 30, 2012


« Older In 1890, the painter John Singer Sargent--best kno...  |  Dresses that hid Frida Kahlo's... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments