Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Friday, May 28, 2010


After the very liberal paper - the Austin American Statesman - printed reader letters expressing opposition to the Austin city council's boycott of Arizona over SB 1070, it heard from Barack Obama's Organizing for America (OFA). OFA was going astroturf against the Statesman by encouraging all of its members to write to the paper. Why? Because there were no letters expressing support of the boycott and the Statesman and OFA saw it as a matter of unfairness that had to be righted.

I decided to write the Statesman to express my support for them, despite their very storied liberal bent. If the Community Organisms were going identify them as a target to be intimidated, they should be supported regardless of how ideological they are.

On May 28th, my letter appeared in the Statesman, strategically placed right above an editor's note that seemed to be an attempt to dismiss the offer:
As a radio talk show host and producer for "The Lynn Woolley Show," I would like to express solidarity with the American-Statesman with respect to the paper being the target of intimidation from Organizing for America. Stand strong and know that you did nothing wrong by publishing reader letters (May 19) in opposition to the recent City Council resolution calling for an Austin boycott of Arizona.

Ben Barrack


Editor's note: Organizing for America ( has borne no pressure on the American-Statesman, either directly or via letters that the organization might have encouraged. We have received a high volume of letters about Arizona's immigration law and the Austin City Council's resolution to stop doing business in Arizona, especially after we published 20 letters against the Austin boycott on May 19.

— Tom Widlowski, Letters editor
As with most of these newspaper guys, they're clever with how they word things, leaving much up to reader interpretation. If Widlowski is making the claim That OFA did not attempt to intimidate or pressure the Statesman, he's not being truthful (see image of OFA Austin flyer). If Widlowski is saying that OFA Austin attempted to organize an astroturf campaign that wasn't successful, he should have said that.

There were two emails I received in response to the letter above which I found interesting. The first serves as a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
From: Jeff
Subject: funny
Date: Friday, May 28, 2010, 9:55 AM

That was so funny how the Austin American-Statesman called you on your lie in today's Letters column. This is a great example of what we all know (but many refuse to admit) that right-wing talk show hosts do best: make stuff up!

Calling what I wrote a lie is easily refuted by looking at the OFA flyer. Then again, perhaps Jeff's view comes from a misleading editor's note.

My personal favorite came from Michael. Keep in mind what the Arizona boycott is supposedly about - racism and discrimination as you read it.
From: Michael
Subject: Hate radio
Date: Friday, May 28, 2010, 12:18 PM

Thanks for giving a name to just some of the hate radio right here in Central Texas. 9/11 happened on Bush and Chaney's watch...never forget!!

And just because you are a host and producer of some redneck talk show doesn't mean your words are truth for all!

Proud Native Texan senior,

Wouldn't you love to know what Michael thinks of the term "redneck" in light of the debate over the new Arizona law.

h/t to Hot Air for posting about the OFA Astroturf effort. That is how I became aware of it.

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