When Is Enough Enough?

A few weeks ago, Bamos, a regular blogger at Daily Kos, posted an entry detailing a “social experiment” he’d conducted on Twitter. During the height of the ARRA legislation debate, when feelings were running strongest, he opened a Twitter account with the user name InTheStimulus.

His intention was to post a series of false “facts” about the stimulus bill and watch the reaction of the conservatives who were following him. His early tweets were fairly plausible but as time went on, they became increasingly outrageous. Judging from his post, his apparent motivation was to illustrate the stupidity of conservatives and he and the people who commented on the post were duly scornful and self-congratulatory. The story came to the attention of some Conservative tweeters and eventually to me, as I was one of the tweeps caught in the sting operation, as I detailed here.

Bamos’ blog post appeared to be the end of InTheStimulus; a search of Twitter returned an error. Bamos, however, was unwilling to drop his game. Rather than deleting the InTheStimulus account, he had simply deleted all the updates and changed his user name to TheAngryRighty. TheAngryRighty differed from InTheStimulus as there seemed to be no real attempt to deceive anyone. The updates were silly and TheAngryRighty was obviously a caricature created by someone with a fairly low opinion of conservatives’ capacity for rational thought.

Eventually TheAngryRighty stopped posting updates. That could and should have been the end of the story, but Bamos resurfaced. While his motive remained the same – to scam conservatives – his tactic was far less benign.

This time, rather than selecting an anonymous persona, Bamos chose to  impersonate GOP Representative Don Young of Alaska. At first, the updates were designed merely to portray Representative Young as a tech-ignorant buffoon but eventually an update was posted that started to generate some buzz.

Just received a memo from the White House: either I sign a loyalty oath to Obama, or "my life will be difficult". Insane. (I won’t!)

Reactions ranges from outrage over the request to dismay at the refusal to sign. In any event, it seemed like a prudent time to call foul. Quite aside from the fact that identity fraud is a crime, there’s no reason to think that Representative Young is anything other than a decent human being who’s chosen a life of public service. He deserves better.

As for Bamos, well, I guess he just doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone. Rather than learn something from his original experiment, he and his readers chose to cling to their prejudices, confident in their own superiority.

Enough, I say.


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7 responses to “When Is Enough Enough?

  1. Sorry conservatives, wake up. The welfare cheat and left wing class of tweeters will always try to bait us, just like in real life. Anybody willing to wait at a DMV style bureaucracy to get foodstamps or healthcare is clever enough to try to trick us into outrage, film it, and subject us to ridicule. Be Careful.

  2. Classic leftist garbage. He can’t clearly & logically present his case for what he believes outside of an echo chamber so he seeks to tear down those who would disagree through subterfuge.

  3. Kathy Genta

    Whoa, I guess I at least lashed out at him and was calling false on his produced statement from BO–thinking no one in their right mind would be sending a traceable threatening email to a Rep. Then I started thinking it was odd he didn’t reply and that he was shaming normal conserv. views but then after the Specter incident I thought who knows who else. Like you stated, the real Don Young’s reputation has been hurt plus could or should he sue for slander? I wonder if he would have a case from an internet social networking site since I for one was thinking this Rep from Alaska was an idiot. I went to bed with indeed a very low opinion of Don Young and humanity in general. Thanks for the info I will be more careful.

  4. I put this kind of Twitter fraud right up there with scam artists who trick you into downloading viruses, stealing personal info, etc. In fact, this is no different that the hucksterism of old–selling something you know isn’t the genuine article. (Look, a healing tonic in a bottle, labeled and sold as such–but it’s really sewer water).

    Unfortunately, the many benefits of social media comes with a downside–ability to hide your identity.

    What compounds the problem is the 2-edged sword of speed. Busy people like the quickness of twitter–get connected fast to articles, breaking news, etc. and connect quickly on topics with like-minded people.

    Many of us review people’s tweets before they “follow” or recommend them, to see where their heads are at (tweeting about their personal “stuff,” a relevant hobby, politics, etc. and deciding what appeals to us). That’s what you did and should have been enough to maintain the usual great quality of your tweets and info.

    But if someone has malicious intent, shame on them. No reflection on you.

    But this stands as more reason for the warning I usually give my college students when doing research: you cannot believe everything you read on the internet. Blogs, tweets and even seemingly news-oriented sites can be inaccurate, biased, or–in this case–downright scams.

    Thanks for the warning. Sorry you had to be at the forefront of exposing this.

  5. lynnmosher

    Sheesh! He needs to give it a rest! I found these and had to share them…

    * “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” Albert Einstein

    * “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

  6. juanita

    Dont they have anything better to do? I guess times are tough. I agree with the other replys as well. They really need to get a life! and are we such a threat that they have to resort to such measures? Can I e-mail you-as Ive found out a few things[my DM is not working on twitter] =]

  7. what a waste of time. it’s not enough that they have issues arguing logically, they need to play games to bolster their feelings. It just seems like we could have better lines of communication & better debates if there wasn’t so much subterfuge for the sake of a chuckle. meh I’m just rambling. In the end, a childish game with nothing really won in the end.

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