Did a social media hit squad derail the Buddy Roemer presidential campaign?This week I was disapp…

Did a social media hit squad derail the Buddy Roemer presidential campaign?

This week I was disappointed that +Buddy Roemer wasn't able to get the support he needed on Americans Elect to become an official candidate for President of the United States in all 50 states. I think his message that our political system has been corrupted by money is spot on, but even with TV coverage by Morning Joe and Dylan Ratigan, and with an Atlantic Monthly article by +Lawrence Lessig, he couldn't get the necessary support. I've been puzzling for months why he can't garner more support — he's a former governor, a 4-term Congressman, a successful traditional banker, and he was trained in economics at Harvard. He's got great qualifications.

But tonight I think I uncovered a bit of evidence that perhaps his online campaign was derailed by a social media hit squad operating somewhere, backed by someone. I have no idea where or who.

But I really don't think a single disgruntled supporter could post the same anti-Roemer message on 22,000 web pages by himself or herself.

It appears to me that someone has financed an effort to shut Roemer down.

I first saw this anti-Roemer rant as a comment on my own personal blog. I read it, followed all the links, and came away as strong a Roemer supporter as before. I didn't trust the credibility of the anti-Roemer content that his person pointed me to. I found a lot of pro-Roemer support elsewhere, from people who knew him while he was Governor and while he served in Congress.

So I emailed the commenter, and what do you know, the email bounced. The person was using a fake email address. This was months ago.

Tonight, randomly, I saw the same anti-Roemer content on another site from a person whose nickname was SayAmen. Out of curiousity, I googled a phrase from the quote followed by another word in it.

11,500 hits showed up. When I told Google to show me duplicates too, it showed 22,000 web pages that contained this exact same lengthy anti-Roemer rant.

Here is the link to the Google query: http://bit.ly/Lgf41u

That leads me to believe there has been a well-financed and coordinated effort from someone to destroy Roemer's reputation online.

And then I read this article about social media mercenaries who run fake campaigns to sell merchandise. Perhaps the same technique is used to undermine political opponents.

What do you think?

I welcome your thoughts about how this may have happened and how much damage 22,000 horrible comments about him may have done to his already underfunded and underexposed campaign.

#paulallenblog

from PaulAllenGplus’s Zipl.us Google+ Feed https://plus.google.com/117388252776312694644/posts/EDiTgqiQdss

2 Comments

  1. SMG

    Roemer’s volunteers and supporters were well aware of the existence of this “Say Amen” effort which was one of the aliases used by this “hit squad” that also included the online handles “Nobody Asked Me, But” and “Just Diogenes.” The usual M.O. was to post to blogs and media sites that did not require verification of a user’s email address. We recognized early on that this was a paid operative of some sort. The clever mixture of truth and falsehood in the posts made it clearly the handiwork of a professional. While we did make some attempt to counter the repetitive gibberish and poor internet behavior of these user IDs, every time we countered one, they would pop up yet again with the same or similar post on yet another site. And the time we spent debating them on one forum or another merely opened the door to additional arguments from them which required additional debunking.

    There were several different versions of the same anti-Roemer message that were posted in multiple places in the same fashion before they eventually settled upon this standardized one that was then blasted everywhere. One began “If you would like to learn more about Buddy Roemer…” Another began “Buddy Roemer talks against corruption and argues for transparency…” It was so bad that I actually observed non-supporters calling them to task for their spammy behavior. If you remove the term “dissatisfaction” from your search, there are over 25,000 posts containing your “best talker” quote.

    However, without a dedicated team to push back on all of it, the strategy the volunteers settled upon was to promote the campaign itself and its messages as much as possible and to only counter the most visible copies of these posts. But I personally didn’t realize that they were eventually being put on every blog, small newspaper and television station’s website across the nation the entire time. I had relied upon Google Alert to receive information about Roemer being posted online but these thousands of comment posts on marginally related topics hosted on more obscure websites never appeared in those notices. No doubt the unanswered posts everywhere painted a poor portrait of our candidate.

    Ultimately we will never know what damage these attacks did to Roemer’s campaign but the effort was clearly more pervasive than we even realized.

  2. TOM UFERT

    HI PAUL…TY FOR POSTING THIS INFO. I WAS AN LBJ INTERN FOR BUDDY AND RAN HIS GUBERNATORIAL YOUTH CAMPAIGN. I’VE KNOWN THE MAN SINCE I WAS 17 AND WENT TO SCHOOL W/HIS KIDS. THERE IS NO MORE HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY PUBLIC SERVANT IN THIS COUNTRY. NOW PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED, I’D ROLL FROM COAST TO COAST FOR THIS MAN.

    HAVING SAID ALL THAT, I KNEW SOMETHING WAS AMISS REGARDING HIS OPPONENTS. I WAS TRAINED BY SOME OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS OF AMERICA’S CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN MOVEMENT AND CAN TELL YOU THEY BELIEVE IN WINNING AT ALL COSTS!

    BUDDY’S MESSAGE IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS NATION NEEDS TO HEAR BUT HE COULDN’T GET HIS FOOT IN THE NATIONAL MEDIA’S DOOR. YOUR INFO CERTAINLY OFFERS SOME POSSIBLE ANSWERS AS TO WHY. IF WE COULD GET BUDDY IN ONE NATIONAL DEBATE, HIS FOLLOWING WOULD MULTIPLY ENORMOUSLY.

    RESPECTFULLY,
    TOM UFERT

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