Earth to Obama…

[Note… Not sure what’s wrong here, but the last few sentences of this post aren’t appearing, and somehow the next post is screwed up too. No time to fix right now. Sorry about that. Suffice to say that the problem here is MoveOn and not the Obama campaign. Still, it’s Obama’s problem. – DS]

So I just got an email that goes like this:

Dear Doc,

Your friend _______ sent you the following video from CNNBC: “Obama’s Loss Traced To Doc Searls”

Watch it here.

The first time I saw one of these was when a likely Obama voter pointed it out to me. They were royally pissed, confused and offended.

I’m technically savvy enough to know that this is a fill-in-the-blank video, generated by a robotic process. But less technical voters might not know that. This same person told me it looked like somebody had invaded their personal records somehow. It felt like an invasion of privacy, even though the source of the video was actually a friend — as it was for me. Worse for Obama, it made this person want to vote for McCain.

After showing the video, “CNNBC” says,

Doc, It’s Your Turn To Customize This Video For Your Friends

Don’t let any of your friends be that one missing vote on Election Day. Enter their names and email addresses below to send them each a personalized version of this video with their name in it.

And don’t worry—after your friends watch their videos, we won’t email them again. And we’ll never sell or distribute your email address or your friends’ email addresses.

I’m not worried about that. I’m worried it’ll backfire on the Obama campaign.

I don’t know what the connection is between “cnnbc” and the Obama campaign, if any. (Somebody at one campaign office just told me there is none.) But it’s in the interest of the campaign to discourage it.

Update: I just ran whois on, and got this:

Political Action
PO Box 9218
Berkeley, California 94709
United States

Small print at the bottom of the page to which that URL redirects (the one where you put the names off all your friends in boxes) says this:

Paid for by Political Action, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Co-sponsored by TrueMajority PAC. Political Action is a federal political committee which primarily helps members elect candidates who reflect our values through a variety of activities aimed at influencing the outcome of the next election.

So, Earth to MoveOn — and to Wes Boyd in particular, because I know him, or did way back when — You’re not doing Barack Obama any favors here. Worse, you’re indulging in a particularly icky and fake-y form of “activism” here: a kind that insults the very people you’re trying to influence. There may be transparency here, but you have to look around the opacities to find it.

My bad: shoulda done that in the first place.

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4 Responses to Earth to Obama…

  1. Doc Searls says:

    Yah, I saw that too, John.

    That one is positive, though. And fun. This MoveOn one is just icky.

    Hell, maybe it works for some. But is it worth it?

  2. lurkerfan says:

    “This MoveOn one is just icky.” Agreed.

    I receive MoveOn memes and sometimes participate in their petitions if I agree, but I’ve not seen this one. Although MoveOn endorsed Obama early on, Obama was smart not to become too closely tied in with them.

  3. TIm says:

    Hated it myself, especially the old lady with the foul mouth, but this one is much better Doc:

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