The Daily Mail reports: Judge Brett Kavanaugh is going into the Supreme Court confirmation process with a hail of rhetorical arrows zinging by him, including a phony letter-writing campaign aimed at unsuspecting American newspaper editors.
At least 21 papers were duped last week, including big-market brands like the Dallas Morning News and The Washington Times. They ran identical letters over a four-day period, each signed by a different person.
The effort is an example of public-relations ‘astroturfing,’ a technique meant to simulate genuine grassroots support for an idea or cause.
The form letter is one small piece of the message minefield erupting around Kavanaugh as he prepares for a brutal confirmation process that will end with scant support from Democrats.
It begins by declaring that ‘Brett Kavanaugh is the wrong choice to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. If he is confirmed to the Supreme Court, everything that we hold dear as a nation will be at stake.’
The Washington Times published this letter on Wednesday signed by a woman from Frederick, Maryland, the first of at least 21 instances of the same letter running in four days.
The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio printed the same letter on Friday, signed by a person claiming to be from the suburb of Westerville.
It warns that he could be a swing-vote on the high court ‘that takes away our rights’ and awards new levels of political influence to ‘mega-donors with extreme agendas.’
Three of the newspapers contacted Friday by DailyMail.com later removed the letters from their websites. Two, the Morning News and the Union Democrat of Sonora, California, publicly explained why.
Richard Lodge, editor of The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Massachusetts, said Friday after hearing from DailyMail.com that he called the apparent ‘signer’ of the letter his paper ran, and ‘[s]he said she didn’t send it.’ The woman recalled receiving a phone call from an anti-Kavanaugh activist asking her to sign an online petition against him days before the letter was sent in her name.
Lodge said it’s likely ‘that person or group used it to sign her name and send this astroturf letter to my paper.’
‘I got duped, which is embarrassing and frustrating,’ he added.
Large outlets that have run the letter since July 11 include The Washington Times (DC), the Boston Herald (MA), The Columbus Dispatch (OH), the Dallas Morning News (TX) and the San Antonio Express-News (TX). The Grand Junction Sentinel (CO) was a victim, along with The Wilmington News Journal (DE), the Coeur d’Alene Press (ID), The Forum (Fargo, ND) and the Beaumont Enterprise (TX) . Smaller newspapers that published the letter included the Santa Monica Daily Press (CA), The Union Democrat (Sonora, CA), the Daily News (Newburyport, MA), The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, MA), the Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, MA), The Times Herald-Record (Middletown, NY), the Daily Reflector (Greenville, NC), The Express Times (Easton, PA), the Republican Herald (Pottsville, PA), The Herald-Zeitung (Brownsville, TX) and the Martinsville Bulletin (VA).
Read more at The Daily Mail.