Online ads have popped up lately, telling readers that they can win a $150 Amex Gift Card for use at Hooters, if they complete a survey about other offers. One of those urges them to sign up for "free emails" from the Chamber of Commerce, which will explain "how to protect your family’s future and bring common sense solutions to the health-care debate." In other words, getting involved with the Chamber’s campaign against reform. These "incentivized ads" appear to be the favored new tactic of lobbying groups looking to generate the appearance of grassroots support for their positions.
This is of a piece with the astroturfing Blue Cross Blue Shield, AHIP, and the rest of the insurance industry is running, giving away fake "money" in popular online games like Mafia Wars and Farmville in exchange for sending anti-reform letters to Congress:
There’s a lot of real fury out there right now about health reform. A ton of it is coming from the left. The right-wing, a handful of whom ironically showed up at the Senate yesterday for a "die-in," has to pay people to support their messages and get involved with their campaigns.
This tactic is one only the insurance industry, run by Wall Street businessmen, could endorse: If you can’t get the people on your side for real, pay them to do it.
(also posted at the NOW! blog)
I’m proud to work for Health Care for America Now