As a writer and editor, I found this story in today's Salon fascinating. Called I ghost-wrote letters to the editor for the McCain campaign, it chronicles the first-hand adventures of Margriet Oostveen while volunteering/infiltrating at the McCain campaign. It begins with:
"You can be whoever you want to be," says an inviting Phil Tuchman. "You can be a beggar or a millionaire. A mom or a husband. Whatever. You decide!"
Oostveen was asked to write fake letters to the editor that promoted the Republican ticket. "We are supposed to use our free moments at home to create a flow of fictional fan mail for McCain," she writes.
"Your letters," says Phil Tuchman, "will be sent to our campaign offices in battle states. Ohio. Pennsylvania. Virginia. New Hampshire. There we'll place them in local newspapers."
No newspaper can refuse a stream of articulate expressions of support, is the thought behind it. "This way, we will always get into some letters column."
Yep, fake letters from fake people. Guess they can't count on real Republicans actually writing in real ones?
And boy did Margriet deliver with some brilliantly crafted schlock and lies. She lied about her son (that she doesn't have) serving in the military (obvs also not true) and how she can't wait to, "…see his face glow with pride. Just like the day he told me he enlisted." She concluded with, "With Sarah Palin, I have even more reason to trust in victory. She represents my heart." Gack.
Of course, campaign dude loved it, and happily submitted her so-called patriotic lies to try to dupe unsuspecting swing-state voters. Real classy, Team McCain.
Something tells me the campaign didn't like reading her real writing over at Salon though…
Why in fact, they have responded. They said:
"She did not represent herself as a journalist to the people who work in the mid-Atlantic office."
Huh. So the only wrongdoing was that she wrote about their totally unethical, lame practices, not that they were committed? Brill. (Of note, she actually did tell them she would be reporting about her experiences, according to the link above).
Anyhuzzle, thought you'd enjoy that amusing story. In fact, I hoped you'd enjoy it so much that you, dear imaginary readers, might be motivated to get creative and write a letter to the editor of your own!
Here's what I propose: In the comments below, write us an imaginary letter to the editor. You can boast about your favorite band, your own band, the current financial meltdown, that cute guy you saw on the bus, whatever. You can be whoever you want to be. Just be creative, schlocky, and hyperbolic.
Best imaginary letter to the editor wins an imaginary t-shirt. And our t-shirts are cute.
Go forth and write!