Never Underestimate Your Opponent’s Sincerity
Marc Ambinder on why astro-turfing should not serve as a basis for discrediting the underlying movements:
Sometimes, as in the case of health care, both sides Astroturf. What begats success? The Astroturfing? Or the underlying anxieties? I’ll posit that Astroturfing tends to fail when there is nothing to sustain it, and it has a better chance of succeeding when the opposition can’t figure out how to Astroturf their way into the same enthusiasm channel.
Ambinder goes on to provide some thoughts about why it is inappropriate for the media to take a firm position on the claims made by those movements that make a lot of sense to me:
But that question is categorically different than asking journalists to come down on the side of a policy option where the truth cannot be known until the experiments are run. Taking the truth seriously means, I think, being able to know when and where the truth can be discerned.
In the case of health care, it is impossible to discern whether conservative outrage over Obamacare is justified much as it is impossible to discern whether Obamacare will actually do what it claims to do: we won’t know its effects for a fact until something is actually implemented. Until then, we only have competing theories and expectations that may or may not be validated.