Cut&Past-Medienpropaganda im US-Wahlkampf

--- Die Washington Post macht heute empört darauf aufmerksam, dass die vorgefertigte Propaganda der US-Wahlkampflager über eifrige Online-Mitstreiter die Leserbrief-Spalten von Tageszeitungen erreicht: Reader, beware! Some of America's newspapers have become unwitting conduits for campaign propaganda. Thanks to some nifty Internet technology, the campaigns of President Bush and John F. Kerry are making it easy for their supporters to pass off the campaigns' talking points as just another concerned citizen's opinion. Pro-Bush or pro-Kerry letters bearing identical language are flooding letters-to-the-editor columns. The Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., for example, ran a letter last month from a local reader that stated, "New-job figures and other recent economic data show that America's economy is strong and getting stronger, and that the president's jobs and growth plan is working." The exact same phrasing also appeared in letters printed in about 20 other daily newspapers, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Idaho Statesman and the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle. It wasn't a remarkable coincidence. The letters -- known as "AstroTurf" for their ersatz quality -- were generated by a special cut-and-paste form on Bush's campaign Web site. In addition to providing helpful, ready-to-plagiarize phrases about the president's economic policies, the site also offers faux-letter fodder about such topics as homeland security, the environment, health care and "compassion" ("The President's compassion agenda is touching lives across the globe. . . ."). Kerry's campaign has a similar feature that entreats his supporters to "write" letters as part of his campaign's "MediaCorps." Both campaigns offer tips, such as the Bush campaign's advice to "keep your letters brief and to the point."