Saturday, January 25, 2003

Support Bush, Win a Mouse Pad - Support Bush, Win a Mouse Pad
John Pinckney of Muncie, Indiana, thinks President Bush is "demonstrating genuine leadership" in steering the nation's economy. So do Kyle Klink of Rochester, New York; Stephanie Johnson of Milton, Massachusetts; and Michael Snyder of Merced, California. In the past two weeks, they and three dozen others have published identical letters to media sites, including the Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune--with the help of some online political maneuvering.

The source of all these letters is GOP Team Leader, a site operated by the Republican National Committee. With a few mouse clicks, members of GOP Team Leader can log on to the site, forward messages to media outlets, and collect points they can later exchange for prizes. The strategy was unveiled in The Inquirer, a British technology site.

Advice to newspaper editors: for every letter to the editor you wish to publish, take one phrase from it and search for it on Google. I know of college professors who routinely do this to to detect plagarism. Update (1/27/03): Good discussion of this on slashdot here.

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