Once again the tv faux news show, '60 Minutes' was turned off in our house Sunday night. I saw it coming. I was in the next room as the show came on. The upcoming stories were introduced. The husband voiced potential exploding head syndrome. I heard the reporter's name. Oh no. Lara Logan strikes again. As the story gets underway, the husband raises his voice and bellows, "Who the hell is Lara Logan?" I try to explain she is a faux reporter of British origin, utilized by CBS News to bash America and President Bush at every opportunity. Dan Rather in drag.
Her faux reporting has been catching the attention of the blogosphere. She has been outed as using, shall we say, dubious sources for her 'reports' concerning the military and operations during the war on terrorism.
Her latest hit piece concerned a story about a group called Appeal for Redress. She described them as "It's basically a grass roots movement amongst active duty, serving members of the U.S. military." She claimed "We were very careful to look thoroughly at the group, and to look into their military backgrounds, and to make sure that this wasn't people with something hidden in their past or some reason that wasn't the stated reason to be involved in this." That spoke volumes to the cynical side of my mind. If she is stressing her disclaimers so ardently, for her, then I knew it was another faux piece.
Many military bloggers took her story on after it aired. They did the research she claimed to have done. Their conclusions about the group were a little different than Lara's. Interesting.
The husband swore at the tv just into the report and changed the channel. He has absolutely no patience with being taken for a fool. I did a little research, too.
From the blog, Mudville Gazette, I learned of the term in public relations known as Astroturfing. From Wikipedia: In politics and advertising, the term describes formal public relations campaigns which seek to create the impression of being a spontaneous, grassroots behavior. Hence the reference to the "AstroTurf" (artificial grass) is a metaphor to indicate "fake grassroots" support. The goal of such campaign is to disguise the agenda of a political client as an independent public reacting to some political entity - a politician, political group, product, service, event. Astroturfers attempt to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both over ("outreach", "awareness", etc) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by anything from an individual pushing heir own personal agenda through to highly organized professional groups with financial backing from large corporations.
Which takes us directly to "Appeal for Redress" and their website. This alleged group of anti-war soldiers was pimped out by Fenton Communications, the public relations firm for MoveOn.org. Need I go further?
The President of an Indiana based non-profit, the Fourth Freedom Forum, who brags of raising more than $300,000 or Win Without War coalition, is the brains behind this Appeal for Redress publicity campaign.
Back in October, the New York Sun did a story about all this. Hundreds of newspapers covered the story of this campaign but the New York Sun was the only one to tackle who was behind it all. No surprise, the other outlets were complacent in swallowing it whole.
The group's self proclaimed front man is Jonathan Hutto. Hutto is quite the piece of work. He is in the Navy, based out of Norfolk. He enlisted in the Navy in January 2004, according to his words, after graduating from Howard University. He taught 5th grade and worked for a non-profit after graduation, then enlisted. The non-profit? Amnesty International. In 2002, Hutto is listed as the Membership Program coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic region. In 2001 Hutto spoke at an event billed as The Fight against Police Violence. A co-speaker was Glova Scott, member of the Socialist Workers Party. In 2003, as the U.S. went into Iraq, Hutto was involved with anti-war demonstrations. In 2004, he joins the Navy. On the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, he serves as a Mass Communications Specialist and Photographer. In the summer of 2006, he is recognized as the carrier's outstanding "Blue Jacket of the Quarter".
He is a native of Atlanta. He is a black American.
In September, 2006, Hutto published an article in a socialist newspaper claiming racism and discrimination suffered by his service in the Navy. In October 2006, Fenton Communications launches "Appeal for Redress" web site. Hutto is described only as a "Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., who set up the Web site month ago."
So, we have Socialist organizations in bed with public relations firms promoting faux grassroots organizations using the American military against the war effort. And don't forget CBS News and Lara Logan as willing participants.
If the military bloggers uncovered the front man's true history, why didn't CBS or Logan? Or, did they, and just don't care? Anything for a sensational story, no matter the consequence?
Who's Logan's mentor? Dan Rather?
You remember what happened to ole Dan, don't you?