Beware Of Anti-Gore Astroturf


(image by Jamie of IntoxiNation)

A remarkably dumb YouTube video is working its way through conservative circles, spoofing Al Gore, "An Inconvenient Truth," and global warming. It's pretty weak -- the video's basic pitch is that Gore's movie is boring and is intended to brainwash viewers. The Wall Street Journal noted that the video "has a home-made, humorous quality," though "humorous" is hardly the first word that comes to mind.

The video's maker is listed as "Toutsmith," but there's quite a bit more to it than that.

In an email exchange with The Wall Street Journal, Toutsmith didn't answer when asked who he was or why he made the video, which has just over 59,000 views on YouTube. However, computer routing information contained in an email sent from Toutsmith's Yahoo account indicate it didn't come from an amateur working out of his basement.

Instead, the email originated from a computer registered to DCI Group, a Washington, D.C., public relations and lobbying firm whose clients include oil company Exxon Mobil Corp.

A DCI Group spokesman declines to say whether or not DCI made the anti-Gore penguin video, or to explain why Toutsmith appeared to be sending email from DCI's computers.

Nancy Snow, a communications professor at California State University, Fullerton, called the video a lesson in "Propaganda 101."

One thing's for sure: Al Gore has the oil industry in such a panic, it's resorted to these rather pathetic stunts.

--Guest Post by Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report

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