Spot the political hack! : My New Favorite Game
I'm a masochist. I read the entire comment thread below this Washington Post article how Obama "really did" in his speech tonight. Having read through it, I found something odd...
There's a voice in the thread, that seems distinct to me: he likes to speak in all caps, he likes to bring up homosexuals, terrorists, and * tax-and-spend liberalism * (as opposed to not-tax but spend republicans? At least the tax-and-spend liberals don't remind me of an 18 year valley girl with her first credit card...).
The easiest way to spot him (its a him, trust me....) is to look for messages that reply in all caps. But he can be found in other comments.... supporting Obama in incredibly idiotic, and misspelled ways.
Anyways, what struck me was how much the voice contrasts with the rest of the comment thread. Most of the commenters, whether for or against Obama, don't read like manufactured "plain folk" styled messages written in internet-stoopid-speak to appeal to a theoretical only skims-comments internet-stoopid demograph.
Its what seems to be an intentional lowness from the commenter that struck me: like a bumbling NARC in one of Cheech and Chong's *lesser* movies trying to fit in. "I'll fit in if I misspell everything, and write in all caps!" says the NARC.
Anyways, am I paranoid? Are they just trolls? What's the difference between a troll, and a political consultant looking to manipulate the "social web"? If posting anonymously, wouldn't their methods be one and the same? The desired end would be driving the discussion off its original track, and into defending something that never needed to be defended, no?