I promise this will be the last Baldr Odinson-related post for the forseeable future – kicking a dead horse while it is down is only entertaining for so long…
We already talked about Baldr Odinson’s childish reaction to people doing exactly as he requested, and how that reaction rather exposed the deeper, unethical, dishonorable motives behind his actions.
We already resurrected Baldr Odinson’s poll after he took the coward’s escape and shut it down once the numbers were decidedly going against him.
And we already briefly touched on Baldr Odinson’s dishonesty, but we are going to slaughter a few more pixels nailing down that particular character deficiency of his today.
There’s a name for what you pro-gunners are doing: it’s called “astroturfing”
What is supposedly a “flash mob” of grass-roots support from honest citizens is in actuality a swamping of supposed opinion polls by an organized faction. This is not democracy in action, or a representation of society at large. It is unethical (though not illegal) manipulation and sabotage of the democratic process. This little poll is simply a demonstration of this behavior which, when magnified to a larger and more serious polling process can irresponsibly sway public policy.
That is all good and well… except for the small problem that the pro-rights community’s reaction to his poll is definitionally not “astroturfing”.
The use of paid shills to create the impression of a popular movement, through means like letters to newspapers from soi-disant ‘concerned citizens’, paid opinion pieces, and the formation of grass-roots lobbying groups that are actually funded by a PR group (AstroTurf is fake grass; hence the term). See also sock puppet, tentacle.
I feel quite comfortable in categorically guranteeing you that no one was paid by anyone to vote in Baldr’s little poll, nor were they paid to vote in mine, and this entire lack of funding by some overarching, supposedly evil organization completely invalidates the poll response from being the product of “astroturfing”.
Moving on, we can look at SourceWatch’s definition of the concept:
Astroturf refers to apparently grassroots-based citizen groups or coalitions that are primarily conceived, created and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms.
Campaigns & Elections magazine defines astroturf as a “grassroots program that involves the instant manufacturing of public support for a point of view in which either uninformed activists are recruited or means of deception are used to recruit them.” Journalist William Greider has coined his own term to describe corporate grassroots organizing. He calls it “democracy for hire.”
Again, no money changed hands to convince people to vote at Baldr’s poll, so the “funding” requirement falls flat on its face. Likewise, no “corporations, industry trade associations, political interests, or public relation firms” were involved in organizing the response to his poll; rather, all of the links at all of the various web forums and weblogs were put there by concerned individuals. Finally, the people who were recruited to vote in his poll were hardly “uninformed”, given that the posts went up at some of the most popular and educational forums in existance on the pro-rights side of the fence, nor was “deception used to recruit them” – links were posted indicating that an anti-rights cultist was running a poll and asking for votes, which is an accurate, honest description of the situation.
Finally, we can look to the Chartered Institute of Public Relation’s definition of “astroturfing” (*.pdf warning) for more clarification, and perhaps a glimpse at Baldr’s tortured and specious “logic”:
Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations the following social media practices are no longer permitted:
‘Astroturfing’, the practice of falsely creating the impression of independent, popular support by means of orchestrated and disguised public relations activity. For example, in the context of social media, astroturfing techniques could include the creation of a dedicated blog, posting comments on others’ blogs or on message boards, submitting supposedly amateur videos to YouTube
Understand that this document is specifically and intentionally directed at “commercial practices”, not the behavior of private individuals. Given that the entire reaction to Baldr’s poll was organized and orchestrated by those private individuals, this definition is not wholly applicable, but it still fails in these particular circumstances – the “dedicated blogs” where links to Baldr’s poll were placed already existed before the poll, already frequently conversed on the topics of individual rights, and still continue to do so, and thus were not created for that purpose; and the comments posted at the already-pre-existing forums dedicated to individual rights were made by pre-existing readers and commenters who had already frequently conversed on firearm-related topics previously.
The above prohibition is designed to prevent the kinds of things like we saw with C.O. Arms’ publicity company, not to keep concerned, private citizens from enlisting the support of other concerned, private citizens.
Now that we have thoroughly debunked the fallacious charges of “astroturfing” leveled against the pro-rights community by Baldr Odinson, let us take a look, for a moment, at the concept of “grassroots” (arguably the antonym of “astrotufing”) courtesy of the intentionally-unlinked Wikipedia:
Grassroots movements organize and lobby through procedures including:
– hosting house meetings or parties
– having larger meetings—AGMs
– putting up posters
– talking with pedestrians on the street (often involving informational clipboards)
– gathering signatures for petitions
– mobilizing letter-writing, phone-calling, and emailing campaigns
– setting up information tables
– raising money from many small donors for political advertising or campaigns
– organizing large demonstrations
– asking individuals to submit opinions to media outlets and government officials
– holding get out the vote activities, which include the practices of reminding people to vote and transporting them to polling places.
– using online social networks to organize virtual communities
Seems to me those bolded sections exactly describe what transpired in relation to the polls.
So, why would Baldr Odinson lie in such an easily-disprovable and obvious fashion? Why would he use such an antagonistic term as “astroturfing” to describe a series of events that have absolutely nothing to do with the definition of the word? Why would he constantly prevaricate and avoid the question when taken to task over his handling of the poll? Why was he blatantly dishonest, dishonorable, and deceptive when it came to the original motivations of that poll?
Obviously, I do not have answers to those questions, but I do know one thing for certain: Baldr Odinson’s claims to the moral high ground and his constant “persecuted martyr” act are about as hollow and specious as the Brady Bunch’s allegations of a “silent majority” supporting “gun control”. That man would not know “ethical” behavior if he was clubbed across the head with it, and his actions have thoroughly proven that deficiency over the past few days.