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Here Come the Phony Baloney Slate Mailers!

twig's picture

slate mailer

If the rest of the country is anything like California, we are all up to our eyeballs in "slate mailers," those glossy or heavy paper voter "guides." They're coming from various organizations with explanations of why they recommend voting one way or another on various ballot measures. Many of them are legitimate, but -- as you've no doubt noticed -- some of them are not.

Example: I just received a "Vote Democratic!" mailer from what appears to be the Democratic Party, with big pictures of Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy on the front. It recommends voting for D candidates from President on down. But it also says vote "no" on the GMO food labeling bill and the language explaining why is straight out of the anti-labeling TV spots Monsanto & Co have been funding. It also recommends voting "yes" on an awful car insurance proposition written by one of insurance companies (Mercury).

It took about 60 seconds of reading the fine print to realize that the "Vote Democratic!" mailer is crap. But it's interesting crap, because, like all good lies, it combines truthiness with blatant misinformation. It's easy to see how someone who can't or won't read tiny, 8-point type could be misled and figure the Ds think it's okay to eat GMOs and buy overpriced car insurance.

These mailers have been around for a long time, but they seem to be getting more sophisticated. Or maybe I'm getting less sophisticated. Either way, they're something to watch out for.

If you are confused about measures on the California ballot, the Courage Campaign provides a list of progressive-ish groups and their positions. And Calitics is another good source, which is where I found this video. (btw, Prop 37, which would be nation's first law requiring GMO foods be labeled is struggling to maintain a lead, as corporations fight it with well-financed lies. Your vote may not matter that much for national offices, but here's a case where every vote is needed.)

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