Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

The guy who's got the best handle on the Bush campaign's strategy in the final stretch is the author of the NewDonkey website. It's back to the future, straight outta the 1980s, 'liberal, liberal, liberal!'

Before the afternoon slips away, I'm hoping to do a few posts about tonight's debate. But given that new strategy, the Kerry camp would do well to mine this end-of-August piece from the National Journal. You'll remember that the Bush campaign has been endlessly harping on the claim that the Journal judged Kerry the most liberal member of the Senate.

In this piece the Journal itself says in so many words that the stat is bogus and that the Republicans' use of it has been "sometimes misleading -- or just plain wrong."

As the Bush campaign's reputation for lying goes, it's not all that bad. But it's still worth noting.

I've already gotten a number <$Ad$>of emails, as I expected, about the Newsmax ad for Ann Coulter's new book down there to the left. It's not a mistake. The site hasn't been hacked. A year ago, when I started accepting ads I gave much thought to the policy I would maintain for them. And I decided, for many reasons, that I would not reject ads based on political content. (I restated the policy a few days ago in this post and discussed limits of taste and appropriateness that I do apply.) Distinguishing issues of taste and appropriateness from mere political disagreement is not always easy, especially when the opinions expressed are as hateful, ugly and -- more than either of those two -- just ridiculous as Coulter's are. But this is my policy. It is consistent with my understanding of what this site is and why it accepts paid advertising. And I'm sticking with it. Your comments are of course welcome.

Their own private Florida. News from the CBS affiliate in Las <$NoAd$>Vegas ...

Employees of a private voter registration company allege that hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters who may think they are registered will be rudely surprised on election day. The company claims hundreds of registration forms were thrown in the trash.

Anyone who has recently registered or re-registered to vote outside a mall or grocery store or even government building may be affected.

The I-Team has obtained information about an alleged widespread pattern of potential registration fraud aimed at democrats. Thee focus of the story is a private registration company called Voters Outreach of America, AKA America Votes.

The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the past few months, registering voters. It employed up to 300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former employees of the company say that Voters Outreach of America only wanted Republican registrations.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

And here's a careerbuilder.com listing for the same company looking for door-to-door canvassers. Paid for by the GOP. And here it seems that the same outfit was doing work for Nader in Arizona.

Do you live in a Sinclair media market? (Check here to find out.)

If so, watch tonight's evening newscast and write down a list of the advertisers (especially the local ones) who have commercials running during the broadcast.

Write up a list, as brief, clear and concise as possible, including the names of the advertisers and the time and date of the program you watched them on. Of course, include the name of the affiliate and the city too. Then send them in to us. Make the Subject heading "ADVERTS."

In the last few hours many readers have written in to say that they've called various Sinclair affiliates either to be referred to Sinclair corporate headquarters, shunted into voicemail, or hung up on.

Some affiliates have refused to identify the given station's sales manager.

Now, this site might be of help for identifying who's who at various stations. But let's be very clear: contacting a given affiliate's sales manager and telling them of your displeasure is very much of secondary importance.

Local Sinclair reps are suggesting that callers call their corporate HQ. But, believe me, don't waste your time.

The key is to identify their local advertisers and contact them. You can find information out here or, if you're in a Sinclair market, just watch the evening news show and mark down who the advertisers are. Then contact them directly -- and if possible, place a call. Or better yet, send an old-fashioned paper letter. Actually, scratch that, do both.

For good measure, it's great to tell the sales manager what you're doing. But if your message to the advertiser is successful they'll be taking the matter up with the sales manager directly. And he or she will definitely be taking their call.

A reader from <$NoAd$>the WSTR media market sends in the following ...

Just talked to Eric Lazar, sales manager at WSTR, who said he'd heard from only one or two other people regarding Sinclair's decision to broadcast the program. He was very courteous, but suggested I contact the corporate office before I began calling advertisers culled from tonight's 10 p.m. news broadcast. He suggested I start with William Butler, vice president of programming and promotions.

I just put in a second call to Lazar. The reader is correct: Lazar was quite courteous. I asked if he would confirm that LaRosa's and King's Automall were WSTR advertisers. He politely declined to discuss who their advertisers are and referred me on to corporate headquarters. But with respect to Mr. Lazar, calling corporate headquarters is exactly what Sinclair would like you to do. And calling their local advertisers -- where most of their revenue comes from -- is the last thing they want you doing.

A brief follow-up on contacting advertisers. I'm already getting reports from the field that many Sinclair advertisers are starting to communicate their concern to Sinclair. If you don't live anywhere near a Sinclair station then by all means make your concerns known to their national advertisers. But from knowledgable folks I talk to, I get the strong impression that the real point of vulnerability are the local advertisers. So if you live in or really anywhere near a Sinclair market that's definitely where to focus.

Just a note on how this can work.

The Sinclair boycott website lists two advertisers on WSTR, the Sinclair station in Cincinnati, Ohio. I know some folks haven't been able to access the site, but the two listed are King's Automall and LaRosa's, a pizzeria chain.

I called WSTR and the sales manager wasn't available. The woman I spoke to could not confirm that King's Automall and LaRosa's were advertising at this moment. But she did say that they were regular advertisers on the station.

I then called LaRosa's and King's Automall to ask if they were indeed presently advertising on WSTR. In both cases I was told the person in question was at lunch. So I wasn't able to get confirmation from the advertisers.

But you can see how this is done. As the reader earlier today noted, the key is to talk to the sales manager. Tell that person of your concerns and that you'll be contacting the advertisers individually to do the same.

Specificity is key.

And one other point about tactics and decency, which overlap in this case. Please don't be rude or hostile. Be firm. Make clear that you're serious. And make your feelings known. But remember that the advertiser in question probably didn't know anything about this until today or maybe yesterday. And the person you'll actually be talking to at the station, and even more so with the advertiser, is as likely as not to be a Kerry supporter. What Sinclair is doing is egregious. But if you start making calls you'll be talking to a lot of folks who don't even know what's going on with all this and certainly aren't directly responsible for it.

Finally, and again, there are good instructions for how to approach this in the reader letter posted here this morning. And here's the list of Sinclair's local stations.