Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Six Degrees of Hypocrisy
Well, it’s been a fun week, hasn’t it? Yes, it has. But we’re not done yet, kids. Not by a long shot.
Melanie Morgan fights the War on Terror – Sock Puppet style!
I’m sure you’ve seen the YouTube video, which details a few of the nice things that KSFO’s talkshow hosts have been saying lately. But have you checked out the comments? I was wondering, a few days ago, who this Move America Forward character is. He’s doing quite a nice job of trolling the comments for the video, even if he does seem to miss the intent, with the standard boilerplate Wingnut Talking Points.
Well, I just grew curiouser and curiouser, (my friends call me Whiskers) so I started rummaging around again. This fella calls himself ‘Joe’ in his YouTube profile, so I thought I’d start with that.
For those of you who don’t know, Melanie Morgan’s little outfit, Move America Forward, was formed by Sal Russo, who’s now their Chief Strategist. He also runs a little PR firm known as Russo Marsh & Rogers. Wait – Russo Marsh & Rogers?
In the long run, the headline grabbing “Truth Tour” may prove to be significantly less important than RM&R’s contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government, which aims to promote the interests of the Kurds in Iraq.
“Our job” with the Kurds, said Wierzbicki, “is to do a public relations campaign that will essentially thank the American people for supporting the war in Iraq. We will also encourage Americans to visit and invest in the Kurdish region.”
You remember the Truth Tour, right? Melanie and all her conservative pals flew to Iraq to show us all how super swell it was going over there. Well, they flew to the Kurdistan region of Iraq, anyway. We’ll get to that in a moment.
But first this:
Move America Forward was established in May 2004 by political consultant Sal Russo, former Republican assemblyman Howard Kaloogian and Melanie Morgan, a talk show host at KSFO 560 AM, both of whom now serve as Move America Forward’s co-chairmen.
Wait a minute! Kaloogian? Truth Tour to Iraq? It’s all coming back to me now:
In April 2006 controversy erupted again when Kaloogian’s campaign website posted a picture on his website that he claimed depicted a peaceful Baghdad neighborhood, and the claims that the Iraq conflict was going well. Quickly, however, internet watchdogs correctly identified the picture as coming from Istanbul, Turkey, and the picture was removed. Kaloogian later said using the photo was “a stupid mistake”.
Yeah – so was signing up with that chowderhead Melanie Morgan. I told you we’d get to that Kuridstan trip. Oh, I forgot one thing.
SpinWatch reported on July 6, that the “Truth Tour” was also in part sponsored by “the newly created Office of Media Outreach, a taxpayer-funded publicity arm of the Department of Defense.”
Say wha? Anyhoo – guess who else works for Russo Marsh & Rogers. Go on – guess! Did you guess Joe Wierzbicki? If you did, you win a prize!
In the “comments section” of The Washington Note, Joe Wierzbicki identifies himself as working “with a firm hired by Move America Forward.” The fact is that Joe works for the firm that created ‘Move America Forward’. At least, that is my understanding of it.
Joe’s a Principal at RM&R and, evidently, quite the PR virtuoso. Now, whether Joe is also the YouTube’s ‘Move America Forward’ is difficult to say, at the moment. But it would be irresponsible not to speculate, right?
After all, RM&R has a vested interest in maintaining Melanie’s image. And ‘Move America Forward’ spends a lot of time and text trying to move the conversation away from Melanie and back to ‘liberals hate America and love terror!!’. Plus, they ‘send cookies and Gatorade to the troops’. Hell’s bells! That’s practically taking on a dirty fucking terrorist with your bare hands!
RM&R is also responsible for promoting several ‘pro-troop’ videos, some of which can be seen on the YouTube. I’ll leave it to you to find them. (It turns out that Saddam Hussein was some kind of bad man. Oh, if only the Evil Liberal Media had reported such revelations!)
So, until we find out for certain, all we can do is sit back and wonder if a Principal for MAF’s PR firm is spending his time playing sock puppet on the internets. Not bad work, if you can get it, I suppose.
Now, here’s how this ties into Spocko’s case. I’m sure that Melanie and the rest of the Morning Ghouls at Snuff Radio 560-AM are simply beside themselves that someone would take their copyrighted material and distribute it without consent. I mean, ABC lawyers couldn’t be wrong, could they? Heavens no!
But as I’m rummaging about for things, I came across this. Again, the Washington Note
March 24, 2005
TWN Scoop: ‘Move America Forward’ Allegedly Steals John Bolton Video
‘Move America Forward’ has allegedly stolen property belonging to Citizens For Global Solutions by posting on its website a video clip of John Bolton where in about three minutes, Bolton completely guts the very idea and notion of the United Nations.
The video clip is the sole property of Citizens for Global Solutions and comes from an event called the “Global Structures Convocation,” held on February 3, 1994 in New York. The video was recently found in the organization’s archives.
By March 16th, ‘Move America Forward’ had posted a slightly truncated version of the video on its own website and provided no attribution for the Bolton clip. I have confirmed that ‘Move America Forward’ neither sought permission from Citizens for Global Solutions to use the video clip nor was given such permission.
I guess the key word here is ‘attribution’. See, Spocko was more than happy to attribute all of KSFO’s audio clips to KSFO and the individuals who made the remarks. Evidently, that’s bad… very bad. If Spocko had simply posted the clips and asked for contributions, that would be OK. Wait a minute… whaaa?
Again, the Washington Note
Some argue that Move America Forward is using the Bolton video as a recruitment and fundraising device – and that the “fair use” principles of accessing copyrighted materials for discussion or critique are not being followed in this case.
I guess it’s OK, if you’re a thinly veiled organization of sock puppets for the Republican Party, but not if you’re an individual trying to spotlight offensive and unAmerican broadcasts, via Fair Use doctrine.
You and your lawyers have a lot of nerve, Morgan. Not much for souls, but a lot of nerve.
[Update] – I forgot one item. From Wiki
Observers and the press have noted that some pro-Bush activists in the MAF entourage were aggressively confrontational and verbally abusive, calling the anti-war protesters “communists”, saying they are “aiding and abetting the enemy”.
Huh… I thought Republicans were the Party of Civility. Sure, everyone knows they lie through their teeth, but aren’t they at least supposed to be Rockwellian good neighborly types? Guess not…
And how much it's worth.
And whether they've reported it as taxble income...