Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Spoof robo-calls target Goldmark

Daily Kos blogger mcjoan had this diary last night detailing a robo-call dirty tricks campaign being waged against Democrat Peter Goldmark in WA-05. Mcjoan quotes a Goldmark press release--
The campaign of Democratic congressional challenger Peter Goldmark has been targeted over the weekend by an unknown harasser who is placing automated telephone calls purporting to be from the campaign office.

One of the calls was reportedly of an obscene nature. The Goldmark campaign has filed a police report and is turning over information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for further action.

Goldmark staff had ordered a single phone message to be delivered once to selected households in Eastern Washington on Friday evening between 6:49 p.m. and 7:17 p.m. Calls began coming in to the campaign office Saturday complaining about receiving the same message five or six times. One household reported receiving a call at 2 a.m. and another at 11:23 p.m....

"We are disappointed and disgusted," said Goldmark Campaign Manager Jeremiah Levine. "The sexually explicit harassment is an example of how sleaze in today's politics hurts regular folks. That's what Peter is running to change."
McJoan relays some more information--
The Goldmark campaign can of course prove that the calls didn't come from them--the company that delivered the legitimate Goldmark calls has the records for the calls they made and are willing to provide an affidavit.
A commenter pointed out other DailyKos diaries detailing similar smear campaigns in CA-04 and CA-50.

And so it begins in earnest. Republicans are so desperate to cling to power that they don't mind making the most obnoxious sorts of automated calls.

Robo-calls have traditionally been difficult to track down. Unethical firms will lie about their names on caller ID or simply not provide a number.

But technology is on our side. If you have an answering machine, caller ID and a computer, you can do some sleuthing and reporting of your own. If you're getting slammed with calls, let your machine answer them so you have a recording. If the message is outrageous enough, you can transcribe it and email it to campaign or local reporter. If you're handy with the computer, and have the right stuff, it's pretty easy to make an audio file such as an AIFF and ship it off to reporters. (I always ask permission before shipping large files. It's just common courtesy.)

You can also let us know.

One cool tool that can help you track down where calls are coming from is, a place where folks report annoying telemarketing and political calls by phone number and area code.

If area codes are reported, there is a handy tracking map. And I don't have to tell you about Google, right? Our readers know about that already.

If possible, the slime behind calls like this need to be exposed to the oxygen of publicity. Slime dies when exposed to fresh air.

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