Opinions on *The Guardians* efforts to influence American politics

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Not sure how many are aware of The Guardian and it's efforts to influence American politics by having Brits send letters to citizens of Ohio. The Guardian is a liberal and widely circulated British publication. Click on the link for some American responses to The Guardian's efforts. To be honest – there's something very American about the responses provided at the linked site.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1329858,00.html
 

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  • #2
jcsd
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I think you should realize that the original article was more than a little tongue-in-cheek.
 
  • #3
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jcsd said:
I think you should realize that the original article was more than a little tongue-in-cheek.
No I didn't -- what makes you ssay that?
 
  • #4
jcsd
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Tigers2B1 said:
No I didn't -- what makes you ssay that?
'cos i read it.
 
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I see - nothing you read --- just the reading itself?
 
  • #6
russ_watters
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jcsd said:
I think you should realize that the original article was more than a little tongue-in-cheek.
The link isn't an article, its actual mail from residents of Ohio. I'm not seeing satire there either.
 
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Here are portions / partial quotes, from the original Guardian articles. Click the links for the context and the entire articles.

…At G2, that sounded like fighting talk. Where others might see delusions of grandeur, we saw an opportunity for public service - and so, on the following pages, we have assembled a handy set of tools that non-Americans can use to have a real chance of influencing the outcome of the vote. We've identified ways to give money to help your preferred candidate, even though direct campaign contributions from foreigners aren't allowed. There are ideas for making your voice heard in the influential local media outlets where it could really count. And at the core of it is a unique scheme to match individual Guardian readers to individual American voters, giving you the opportunity to write a personal letter, citizen to citizen, explaining why this election matters to you, and which issues you think ought to matter to the US electorate. It may even be a chance to persuade somebody to use their vote at all….


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1326033,00.html


The result of the American election in less than three weeks could have huge consequences for the whole world. Yet those of us outside the 50 states have had no say in it. Until now, that is.
In the spirit of the Declaration of Independence's pledge to show "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind", we have come up with a unique way for non-Americans to express your views on the policies and candidates in this election to some of the people best placed to decide its outcome. It's not quite a vote, but it's a chance to influence how a very important vote will be cast. Or, at the very least, make a new penpal.
It works like this. By typing your email address into the box on this page, you will receive the name and address of a voter in Clark County, Ohio. You may not have heard of it, but it's one of the most marginal areas in one of the most marginal states: at the last election, just 324 votes separated Democrats from Republicans. It's a place where a change of mind among just a few voters could make a real difference….


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1326033,00.html
 
  • #8
jcsd
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C'mon, you surely don't think it's 100% serious? Even the orgional Freedland column on which the campaign was based, though making a serious point was not being 100% serious in it's suggestions.
 
  • #9
jcsd
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russ_watters said:
The link isn't an article, its actual mail from residents of Ohio. I'm not seeing satire there either.
Yes they are giving out e-mail adresses, but if you think that this a serious attempt to influence the US electtion you are very much mistaken, it's fairly common for British newspapers to do campaign's like these. For example compare to the Mirror's (or at leatsv I think it was the Mirror) long campaign against the wrongful imprisonment of Deirdre Rashid. Deirdre Rashid was a character on a long-running UK soap opera.
 
  • #10
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Well it's pretty much beyond me to understand how someone concludes this is "tongue in cheek" after reading the articles. If you do somehow – so be it. It's your secret. I suppose it's best just to leave this as it is and allow the articles to speak for themselves -
 
  • #11
russ_watters
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jcsd said:
Yes they are giving out e-mail adresses, but if you think that this a serious attempt to influence the US electtion you are very much mistaken, it's fairly common for British newspapers to do campaign's like these. For example compare to the Mirror's (or at leatsv I think it was the Mirror) long campaign against the wrongful imprisonment of Deirdre Rashid. Deirdre Rashid was a character on a long-running UK soap opera.
Are you saying you don't think those are actual letters/emails from Ohio residents?
 
  • #12
jcsd
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russ_watters said:
Are you saying you don't think those are actual letters/emails from Ohio residents?
Most of them aren't (infact ntoice that the ones from Ohio are postive), they're from other peol in the US.


Of course they are, which isn't in itself signicacnt, to compare, the 'Free Deidre Rashid Campaign' had dedicated letter writing campaign's to bothe the Home secretary (who has the power to review crimnal prosecutions, though also not those of fictional characters) and the makers and the televison programme.

The comaprison does obscure one thing, in that this frivilous campaign does have a serious political message attatched to it.
 
  • #13
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From The Telegraph, a British publication, updating the status of The Guardian’s efforts -

…The readers' letters are being sent only to voters flagged as "undeclared" in the county's electoral roll, a public document the newspaper bought from local officials, then placed on the internet.

The Guardian says it chose Clark County not just because winning Ohio is vital to Mr Bush's hopes of victory, but because the rolls showed such a large number of undeclared voters - 54,000 not affiliated with either party.

But the newspaper misunderstood Ohio polling law, according to the county's elections supervisor, Linda Rosicka. Being "undeclared" on the roll means someone did not choose to vote in the last two party primaries, in which party candidates are chosen. "It doesn't have anything to do with being undecided," she said.

Many local Democrats expressed sympathy with the desire of British voters to have a say. That does not mean they are happy the letters are coming....

Across America, the Guardian project has sparked disdain from the Right, and dismay from Kerry campaigners. Coverage in the US media has stressed the risks of offending voters. Furious e-mails have reached the Guardian, such as this one from Texas, stating: "Real Americans aren't interested in your pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions."

In Clark County, Mr Harkins, the local Republican chairman, has no doubt that the Guardian has helped him - and Mr Bush.

He showed figures from Republican polls, indicating that only four per cent of the county's voters were still undecided last week.

"This is a very competitive county, where the undecided vote is very small. What the Guardian has done is firm up the Republican base. What a gift."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...aun21.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/10/21/ixhome.html
 
  • #14
kat
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"Real Americans aren't interested in your pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions."
ROFL


I honestly find the massive influence of Soro's on the presidential campaign to be more offensive and threatening then this.
 
  • #15
Gokul43201
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jcsd said:
Yes they are giving out e-mail adresses, but if you think that this a serious attempt to influence the US electtion you are very much mistaken
I watched on CNN, a reporter interviewing someone at the Guardian about this whole affair. The Guardian bloke seemed dead serious about it all. Either that, or I don't get British humor. :frown:
 
  • #16
Gokul43201 said:
I watched on CNN, a reporter interviewing someone at the Guardian about this whole affair. The Guardian bloke seemed dead serious about it all. Either that, or I don't get British humor. :frown:
Some people are probably taking it seriously, but most people think its a joke. If you were serious about influencing people's voting behaviour, this would not be the way to do it. In fact, such a condescending approach is much more likely to backfire i.e. encourage the recipient to vote for the opposite candidate. But there is a serious point, and that is that whoever the US votes for in this election WILL effect the world in a way that no other US election ever has. So in this sense the letter-writing could be taken at face value.
 
  • #17
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the number 42 said:
Some people are probably taking it seriously, but most people think its a joke...
Then the "most people" you refer to and claim exist are either brain dead or haven't read The Guardian articles themselves. Or better, have seen how bad a turn The Guardian's efforts to influence our elections have turn - and are now attempting to call it just a good humored prank. I suspect a little of the first two but most of three.

And oh yes ---I've YET to see anyone here point to ANYTHING in the article indicating that it is not serious in it's attempts to affect American elections. Simply because some here don't want it to be true - doesn't make it so.

Now I've ask before and I'll ask again. SHOW US where it is in The Guardian articles there is that elusive indication of just a good humored prank, jjust all a joke?
 
  • #18
Easy, Tiger :smile: When I say "most people" I refer to something about it on the telly (Newsnight). For all I know, its just me and a few other people who see it as a joke, and if you did a poll you might find that over 50% of the population in fact take it very seriously i.e. I am using the term 'most' loosely.

Its probably fair to say that The Guardian is a politically correct paper, and tends to take itself a bit too seriously. Therefore when they came up with this campaign a lot of people (though maybe not most) smile knowingly and shake their collective heads.

Put it another way, have you seen Spinal Tap? Like a lot of UK comedy at the moment it looks almost like a documentary - almost. There is just enough of the ridiculous in it so that after a few minutes you get the joke. The Office is a similar thing, but I don't know if you have seen that in the US yet. Now, the Guardian effort may have been done in earnest (I really don't know or care, and I haven't read the article and don't intend to) but that doesn't mean that it is unintentionally comic and a lot of people take it as such.

Why don't you write to The Guardian and ask them?
 

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