Sunday, September 30, 2012

As Election Day nears, the trolls are out in force

By Nathan Rothwell 

Several days ago I received a physical letter in the mail from a (possibly) crazy person. Perhaps my recent blog about responding to Obama Derangement Syndrome may have struck a chord with somebody?

A two page rant from an allegedly "speechless" author

A person by the name of “Darnell Wooster” (whose apparent address is nearby, but I won’t reveal publicly) sent me an unsolicited letter that appeared to be a printed copy of a chain email containing purported evidence of (then) Senator Barack Obama’s hatred for the American flag and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” in the form of quotes from an alleged appearance on “Meet the Press” in 2008.

Nothing was written by Mr. Wooster himself; rather, it was signed by someone named “Dale Lindsborg.” I have no idea who Darnell Wooster is, but a Google search for “Dale Lindsborg” quickly revealed an exact replica of the letter I’d just received. It was nice to have proof that this “transcript” of Obama’s remarks was indeed a hoax, but from the moment I opened the letter I could tell I was dealing with the work of a troll.

As you might have already gathered from the letters pictured above, a number of things stand out (formatting errors courtesy of “Dale” and/or “Darnell,” not me):

“From Sunday’s 07 Sept. 2008, 11:48:04 EST,   Televised “Meet the Press” the then Senator Obama      was asked about his stance on the American Flag.

You read that right: “Dale” timed Obama’s appearance on “Meet the Press” timed to the second. Which seems more likely --- a scenario in which the letter’s author performed the enormous amount of research to determine the exact second Obama was asked a question about the American flag in 2008? Or a scenario in which “Dale” simply made up that timestamp? Keep in mind, this author evidently enjoys alternating between normal text and giant, bold, improperly spaced letters for stylistic purposes.

“Obama continued:, “The National Anthem should be ‘swapped’ for something less pracochial and less bellicose. I like the song ‘I’d Like To Teach the World to Sing.’ If that were our anthem, then I might salute  it.   In my opinion, we should consider reinventing our National Anthem      as well as ‘redesign’ our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and   love.

Obama’s love for 1970s Coke jingles was never revealed on “Meet the Press,” nor was it even made up by the author of this letter. In fact, it was blatantly stolen from a 2007 satirical column by conservative humorist  John Semmens. Plagiarism awards you zero points, my friend.

WHAAAAT, is that???   Yes, you read it right. I, for one, am speechless!!!”
Dale Lindsborg ,     Washington Post

No, Dale, you’re not speechless. You took the time to put together this entire fake transcript, interjected your own commentary throughout, and signed it with intent to convince readers that you work for a major newspaper, which you obviously don’t (if you did, you would have known to italicize Washington Post, not underline it). That’s pretty much the opposite of being speechless.

So, to recap: this letter is a definite hoax, and “Dale Lindsborg” appears to be nothing more than an Internet myth. But what about Darnell? Is he an imaginary person created by one of my friends or readers to play a trick on me? Or is he the more serious kind of troll – the kind so easily tricked by obvious chicanery that he spent his own money to print out copies of this letter and mail them to people?

Other examples of such anti-Obama trolling have been occurring nationwide. I almost feel sorry for Republicans that they are forced to include these kinds of people as members of their base, until I remember how long they courted Donald Trump as a serious candidate for the presidency last year. It must be tough to rely on votes from the type of people who are so virulently anti-Obama, but willfully base that opposition on easily disprovable lies. If the GOP really wants to escape being labeled the party of racists, it needs to run as far away as it can from people who truly believe that the Obamas “have attended several flag burnings,” or anointed themselves “ our Country’s First black Family.”

Nevertheless, President Obama is still crushing the polls as Election Day is just on the horizon. And as that just doesn’t sit well with those clueless, possibly-racist trolls who hate Obama the most, expect them to join Darnell Wooster in coming out from the woodwork in full force. 


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