Kathy Shaidle

Organizing for America building army of talk radio ‘seminar callers’ (yawn)

Posted on January 18 2010 12:00 pm
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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Remember Organizing for America (OFA)? It used to be “Obama for America,” an offshoot of the Democratic National Committee that assembled a vast volunteer army of Obama supporters. But when the election was over and won, “Obama for America” went through a slight transformation:

Another factor that motivated the Obama administration to create OFA was the fact that after the new President had taken his oath of office, his White House was, by law, barred from using (for subsequent political purposes) the 13-million-name e-mail list of supporters it had compiled during the 2008 presidential race. Thus the administration established OFA within the structure of the Democratic Party, which was not bound by such restrictions; OFA is free to use the aforementioned list as it pleases. (…)

As one of its strategies for influencing public opinion, OFA seeks to exploit the power of the Internet as a networking and communication medium. Whereas previous U.S. presidents communicated with the American public chiefly by recording a weekly speech and then releasing it for radio stations to air on Saturday mornings, President Obama regularly disseminates his messages via popular websites…

OFA’s latest web-based project involves inundating talk radio shows with callers pushing Obamacare. Here’s part of the relevant page on the OFA site:

Each day, millions of Americans turn to talk radio as a trusted source of news and opinions on the big issues of the day.

Getting thousands of OFA supporters to call in to these shows in support of health reform and President Obama’s agenda will have a dramatic impact — and will help shape public opinion.

But we need you to make it happen…

OFA goes on to ask folks to sign up, get assigned a station in their area, and starting phoning in during talk shows, to push Obamacare talking points.

You can see a screenshot of the whole message at Atlas Shrugs.

The trouble with this strategy is: it won’t work.

Rush Limbaugh coined the word “seminar callers” to describe people like this, because leftists used to train would-be talk radio callers in special seminars. These trained callers learn to begin by saying, “I listen to your show all the time, and normally I agree with you/I’m a lifelong Republican/but…” then recite memorized liberal talking points. (Here’s an IndyMedia how-to.)

The tactic is perfect for leftists because it’s parasitical — and, sadly, it’s the closest thing they’ve ever had to liberal talk radio…

It’s just another form of astroturfing, and it stopped working years ago.

All big time talk radio shows have peerless call screeners who usually detect these frauds before they get on the air.  If these astroturfers do get through, a smart host can make them look pretty foolish, pretty fast.

Seminar calling is going the way of that other leftist tactic, the boycott. Boycotts don’t work anymore because a) leftists target companies that leftists don’t patronize anyway (like WalMart), b) older leftists have boycott fatigue, and younger ones only pay lip service to them, and c) boycotts can’t harm certain modern day businesses, like cable TV (as I’ve explained before.)

And I think OFA knows this. (If they don’t, then the good news is, the Democrats are dumber than we thought.)

This campaign, and their other internet efforts, are just a way to harvest email addresses, so they can tap the suckers for donations later on.

Nothing says “progressive” like that patented hybrid of idealism and cynicism.

(Thanks to Pamela Geller for noticing this OFA campaign.)

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