Monday, June 14, 2004

Internet Carpetbaggers: Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You

Kurt Nimmo of the Alternate Press Review and blogger Max Blumenthal are shedding light on the Republican hacks behind the NewsMax campaign to manufacture dissent and bully theatres out of showing Michael Moore's Iraq documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11.

Nimmo does some nice web sleuthing to discover that the real players behind the scam are Russo Marsh & Rogers, a GOP consulting firm.

The front men include a typical collection of republican disreputables, including Howard Kaloogian. Kaloogian's bio on the attack campaign website boasts that he not only launched the historic subversion of democracy to overturn the legal election of (Democratic) California Governor Gray Davis, but he also chaired Defend Reagan (sic), a campaign to bully CBS, vision and showdown into dropping their broadcast of the movie, "The regains." The GOP didn't think the account was flattering enough, so they decided that no one should get to see the film.

This is where the plot thickens.

Taking a cue from Kurt Nimmo, I did a whois search on the Defend Reagan website: another project of GOP consultants Russo, Marsh & Rogers. And guess what else they've worked on recently? The Gray Davis recall. (You can see the actual whois results here and here.)

Don't underestimate this crowd's ability to fool executives. The Defend Reagan campaign flooded the offices of CBS and their sponsors with drummed-up complaints until the movie broadcast was cancelled. And we all know what happened to California.

What can you do?

1. Scratch and Sniff
The campaign against Michael Moore is typical GOP ersatz grassroots activism: pay PR hacks to build a glitzy website, plug in freepers, and overturn freedom of speech and free market forces. When you encounter a GOP "grassroots" campaign, scratch the surface and see if it passes the smell test. And if your local media is not checking their facts and presents these stories at face value, write and fax and call and let them know what's going on.

2. Reverse Engineering

Move America Forward (sic)includes a list of contact information on their site for theatres that have committed or are considering carrying Moore's film.

These people are internet carpetbaggers and their antics constitute an orchestrated effort to subvert the first amendment by misrepresenting public opinion to manipulate the "free market" process they allege to love so dearly while they wrap themselves in the flag.

So...use their resources. I encourage everyone who cares about free speech and wants to see this film to use the list, supplied so handily by our friends in the right wing, to contact the theaters in support of Moore's film. You can find the list (along with some truly hyperbolic right wing rhetoric here.

(Yes, I've sent my email to all of them already.)

3. Vote with your wallet
Advance tickets for Fahrenheit 9/11 are already available! Circle June 25th on your calendar, grab your friends, and order your tickets now.

[Disclaimer: I do not know nor am I related to Michael Moore. I make no financial gain from the proceeds of his ticket sales. I do, however, strongly believe that if the Republicans can hijack taxpayers' dollars for a partisan campaign event under the thin pretext of a presidential funeral, that Michael Moore deserves a reasonable opportunity to distribute his film without political meddling.]