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Fake Astroturf at Think Progress

Yesterday the AFL-CIO organized demonstrations in a number of cities around the country. The idea was to associate public employees’ understandable desire to hang on to their high salaries and lavish perks with the civil rights movement. One of those rallies was in Washington, D.C. The AFL-CIO summed up their demonstration this way:

In Washington , D.C., more than 1,000 marched in solidarity with workers under attack in Wisconsin, Ohio and across the country.

That’s a pretty fair crowd estimate. But now let’s go to Think Progress, a subsidiary of the Center for American Progress, a billionaire-funded Obama administration front. Here is how Think Progress described the AFL-CIO’s demonstrations:

Though they don’t want you to know about it, the billionaire Koch brothers are bankrolling a massive campaign to roll back progressive achievements, and today, labor, civil rights, and climate activists turned out at dozens of rallies across the country to demonstrate against the Koch’s secretive influence in American politics and to stand up for labor and civil rights.

This bizarre account reflects Think Progress’s obsession with Koch Industries and its owners. But it has zero to do with the “dozens of rallies” that were organized by labor groups. The AFL-CIO’s own description of its demonstrations does not contain a single reference to the Koch brothers. Think Progress continues:

In Washington, D.C. today an estimated 2,000 protesters marched on Koch Industries’ Washington D.C. offices and attempted to give Charles and David Koch an invitation to come out and speak with the protesters.

The story’s headline is “2,000 Protesters March On Koch Industries’ D.C. Office.” These photographs accompany the Think Progress story:
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So Think Progress doubles the AFL-CIO’s crowd estimate, and says that the main object of all 2,000 protesters was to “march on Koch Industries’ D.C. office.” Just one problem: the photos that the web site used to illustrate its article do not depict Koch Industries’ office, nor do they show the small number of demonstrators that Think Progress actually turned out to participate in its Koch obsession. Those photos are of the main AFL-CIO demonstration, at another location.
Think Progress had a group of two or three hundred people who stopped off at the Koch office on their way to the main AFL-CIO demonstration. Here is the only photo I have seen that actually shows the TP crew outside Koch’s D.C. headquarters; click to enlarge:
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The TP gang was gone from Koch headquarters by 2:00 yesterday afternoon. The photos that TP put up on its web site under the pretense that they showed the Koch demonstration were shot an hour later, at 3:00, at the main AFL-CIO rally, according to Exif.
Why did Think Progress feel compelled to misrepresent the central purpose of the labor rally yesterday, and inflate the size of the anti-Koch crowd by a factor of eight or more? The outfit that owns that web site has decided, or has been paid to decide, to launch an all-out, obsessive attack on two of the very few rich Americans who support conservative causes, Charles and David Koch. The AFL-CIO has not joined in this far-left jihad. Why not? Maybe because Koch Enterprises is a great employer. A senior official of the United Steelworkers writes:

The Koch brothers own Georgia Pacific. It is an American consumer goods company that makes everyday products like facial tissue, napkins, paper towels, paper cups and the like. Their plants are great examples of American advanced manufacturing. Incidentally, GP makes most of its products here in America. The company’s workforce is highly unionized. In fact, 80 percent of its mills are under contract with one or more labor union. It is not inaccurate to say that these are among the best-paid manufacturing jobs in America.

It is easy to laugh at Think Progress and its inept “reporters.” Here, they doubled the size of the crowd; falsely claimed that the entire mob had descended on Koch’s D.C. headquarters, when only a small minority did; and misrepresented photos of the AFL-CIO’s rally as pictures of their own mini-protest against Koch. That kind of incompetence is laughable, but it can still be dangerous. Because the central purpose of the Center for American Progress and all of its octopus arms, including Think Progress, is to use falsehood to stir up hate. And hate has consequences. Check out the comments to the Think Progress article, and you will find this; click to enlarge:
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Death threats by liberals against conservatives have become a daily event. Here, the 11 “likes” are worth noting, as is the fact that this death threat has been on the Think Progress site for approximately 29 hours, and the site has had no problem with it at all.
Goofy liberals like those at Think Progress may be amusingly easy targets, but that doesn’t mean that the hate they are paid to stir up isn’t dangerous.

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