Been receiving nasty SMS political spam on your phone lately? You’re not alone.
The Huffington Post, Politico, and multiple members of the Twitteratti are all reporting receiving anti-Obama texts on their phones. The messages vary, but some of them include these lovely fictional smears:
“Re-electing Obama puts Medicare at risk.”
"Obama is using your tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood and abortion. Is that right?"
"Obama denies protection to babies who survive abortions. Obama is just wrong.”
"Stop Obama from forcing gay marriage on the states. Your vote is your voice."
“VP Biden mocks a fallen Navy Seal during memorial. Our military deserves better.”
All of these text messages appear to be coming from dozens of domains, including ObamaLiesEtt, InformedEtt, RepPacEtt, and GOPmessage.
Don’t bother looking these sites up on the Internet. Most of them don’t actually exist, and most of the domain name records are marked as anonymous. But not all of them.
According to GoDaddy, these domains belong to a Centreville, Virginia, company called ccAdvertising. According to its Web site, “ccAdvertising uses unique interactive techonology to conduct personalized telephone surveys and messages with great results and service.”
Talking Points Memo has a slightly different description of ccAdvertising, however:
“A Republican-tied robo-call firm, whose president once reportedly boasted of his company's ability to "deliver a voter suppression message" to unfriendly voters…”
According to a 2007 article in Mother Jones, ccAdvertising goes by a wide variety of names, including FreeEats, Advantage Research, Data Research, Election Research, FECads, Political Research, and Public Research. Its clients include the NRA, former Texas Congressman Tom DeLay, and the Family Research Council.
What is not yet clear is whether ccAdvertising is conducting this SMS smear campaign on its own volition or if it’s working for a client. I’ve sent emails and left messages with them; I’m still waiting for a response. If I hear from them (which I very much doubt) I’ll update this item.
UPDATE: DailyKos notes that these domains were registered by Jason Flanary, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Virginia's state senate and the chief operating officer of ccAdvertising. Apparently this is nothing new for Flanary; he was sued exactly a year ago for doing something similar in Virginia.
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