Monday, November 06, 2006


I've gotten a couple of them this election season, you know, the prerecorded messages from candidates? I imagine I haven't gotten more because my only phone is my cell phone.

but today I read this -

Fighting RoboCalls. Expert advice. Multiple updates. (be forewarned, it's a Kos diary)

It's alleging that-

Desperate Republicans across the country are using robo-calls (automated dialing systems that play recorded messages) to harass voters. Your phone rings, there's a brief recorded intro that makes it appear the call is from a Democratic campaign or related group, and then a pause, and then a recorded message. If you hang up it calls you back six or seven times or more. The goal is to make people think they are being harassed by the Democrats, and piss them off enough to change their votes. It works well enough to potentially flip some close races.

It goes on and on about what to do if you get these calls and how to fight against the GOP who is obviously behind these repeated calls FROM DEMOCRAT campaigns and related groups. Nowhere does he offer PROOF that these calls are from any Republican group, but I guess that doesn't matter...after all it's ALL the Republicans fault!
(Click the '

The LJ I found this on also posted a link to the following article-
GOP Launches 'Robocall' Campaign Attack

Sounds bad, doesn't it? There go those evil Republicans again. Except that in the article the first person they quote about this new type of targeted campaigning says-

"As much as people complain about getting automated calls and saying they don't work, every politician is doing them," said Jerry Dorchuck, whose Pennsylvania-based Political Marketing International will make about 200,000 such phone calls each hour for mostly Democratic candidates. "Targeted calls play a key in very close races." Democrats ARE making these calls too? So...maybe the 'evil Republicans' aren't the ones "using robo-calls to harass voters". I wonder if the Kos diarist above will be taking the same steps against ANY robo-caller. Somehow I doubt it.

It is blantantly obvious to anyone willing or able to look beyond their political bias that BOTH parties are making use of this technology. From the article-

In Connecticut's hotly contested 4th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Rep. Christopher Shays and Democrat Diane Farrell both said they are victims of misleading and annoying robocall campaigns. Shays, a 10-term congressman, said he has survived more than 20 robocall campaigns, including one that tried to link his stance on stem-cell research to that of religious extremists.
It's not just Republicans. After Rep. Mark Foley resigned his seat amid the House page scandal, the progressive American Family Voices launched robocalls in 50 districts.

Now, I freely admit that I don't have enough knowledge to tell whether either side is violating the law in the way they conduct their robocalling. I'll leave that to the lawyers. As far as the repetitious nature of some of the calls go, I think it is much more likely to be a flaw in the programming software than one of malicious intent, and I believe that to be the case no matter which group is making the calls.

But read the title to the AP article again. If all you read was the title as you glanced through the paper, what would YOU think was going on? But no liberal bias going on here, of course not!

Now, personally, what do I think of prerecorded campaign calls? I put them in the same category as other 'computer voice' calls. If you don't care enough about me to get a real person to call, then I'm not going to stay on the line and listen to you.

UPDATE- Heh...even Peter David is tired of all the robocalls...from DEMOCRATS. And it seems the Dem talking points are out in force on this one...just look at his comments section!



At November 06, 2006 7:51 PM, Anonymous lisakaz said...

Saturday I came home to 6 on the machine, Sunday a couple and this morning 3 more. I'm wondering what Dems these Reps are calling 'cause all of the calls I got were from the Rep side. Wish I could say the same about the mailers, though. I picked up the mail Sunday and the 2 day total was in the neighborhood of 20 mailers and most of those for Dem candidates. 4 separate mailers from Jim Pederson alone. Weird.

At November 07, 2006 10:24 PM, Blogger Alicia said...

I agree; I didn't stay on the line to listen to the robocalls either (although I wondered if there might be useful information hidden in some of the messages!).

This piece read as a response to accusations that Republicans are calling as Democrats in order to annoy people into changing their votes, though, correct? You make a good case. I'd add that if anyone on either side was doing that, it strikes me as a foolish thing to do. Most voters would simply turn off their cell phones, delete the messages, and vote as they otherwise would have. That's a small effect for the price in reputation and consequences that anyone doing anything dishonest would pay.


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