August 4, 2009

Rachel Maddow reports on the "town halls gone wild" that industry backed astroturf groups like Americans for Prosperity are involved in disrupting.

Maddow: This is orchestrated outrage. There is a script for this stuff that was written before these events happened and that appears to be instructions to people to shut down these efforts at civic discourse. The web site Think Progress obtained a leaked memo from a group that calls itself Right Principles. The three page memo details how protesters should behave at town hall events.

Under the heading "Inside the Hall" it says:

You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep's presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep's statements early. If he blames Bush for something or offers other excuses -- call him on it, yell back and have someone else tallow-up with a shout-out. The goal is to rattle him.

When the formal Q&A session begins get all your hands up and keep them up.... The balance of the group should applaud when the question is asked, further putting the Rep on the defensive.

Who's giving these rent-a-mob instructions like this? Well that memo was written by a man named Bob MacGuffie. Bob McGuffie is associated with an organization called Freedom Works. Freedom Works is a Washington DC lobbying firm, run by former Republican Majority leader Dick Armey.

Corporate lobbyists are organizing far right hooligan tactics to disrupt civic meetings about health care reform. This is the organized use of intimidation as a political tool in the United States, and I don't mean intimidation euphemistically. I mean literal intimidation.

New York Congressman Tim Bishop who we showed you earlier. He ended up having to be escorted to his car by five police officers for his own safety after his town hall event was over.

And this type of harassment is not just reserved for elected officials.


This type of tactic, this type of intimidation is a deliberate choice. And it appears to be stoked and organized by corporate lobbyists. And it is not something that is happening in a vacuum.


This is well paid lobbyists doing this as a strategy. It's the same thing with the deathers. These scare your grandmother myths that the whole point of health care reform is secretly to kill old people. This patently, patently false rumor about health care reform as we talked about earlier on this show was started by a woman who sits on the board of directors of one of the nations biggest medical device companies.

Everybody says well politics ain't beanbags. Right. Obviously this is not beanbags. But this isn't hardball either, no offense to Chris. This just isn't even politics. This is orchestrated, mob mentality intimidation. This is called hooliganism.

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