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Last month, President Obama held a conference call with a small group of liberal bloggers, asking them to keep pressure on Congress in the health care fight. Now those same bloggers are part of an orchestrated effort by the Democratic Party and the White House to portray protests against their health care legislation as, well, orchestrated.
“It is important just to keep the pressure on members of Congress because what happens is there is a default position of inertia here in Washington,” Obama instructed the bloggers last month. “And pushing against that, making sure that people feel that the desperation that ordinary families are feeling all across the country, every single day, when they are worrying about whether they can pay their premiums or not… People have to feel that in a visceral way. And you guys can help deliver that better than just about anybody.”
Obama later added, “I know the blogs are best at debunking myths that can slip through a lot of the traditional media outlets…And that is why you are going to play such an important role in our success in the weeks to come.”
Since then, support for legislation has cratered, and those bloggers who get their marching orders from the White House and DNC have become part of the effort to attack ordinary Americans expressing their beliefs about an issue of great importance.
John Amato of Crooks and Liars was on last month’s conference call with Obama. Yesterday, Amato asked, “How long will it take the traditional media to expose the corporations that are running this con and even mention the word ‘astrotufing’ in a serious way?” In the same post, he praised Robert Gibbs for accusing the protesters of being phony.
David Dayen of the blog D-Day was on the call. Yesterday, he wrote a post titled, “Top-Level Democrats Assault The Extremist Astroturfers.” It began, “The White House took the lead on this, publicly calling the teabagger disruptions an example of astroturfing and citing conservative industry-backed groups taking credit for activating the rioters. Now other elements of the Democratic Party are taking up the baton. Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer blasted the clown show today…”
Joan McCarter of Daily Kos was also on the call. Yesterday, she wrote of the protesters, “It’s kind of sad, isn’t it? They think they’re part of a real populist movement, but the freedom they’re fighting for is the freedom of corporations to make even more money off of them. It’s that cynicism of this astroturf campaign that’s particularly disturbing, because it’s not about the rights of citizens to freely express their dissent.”
So just to sum up, Obama enlists the aid of a small group of liberal bloggers in the health care fight, and then those same bloggers write posts echoing White House and DNC talking points — and in the very process of doing that, accuse their political opponents of astroturfing!