BUT WHO IS SPREADING IT?
|| By FITSNEWS || U.S. Senator Rand Paul is running for president … in fact, he announces his candidacy next week in Louisville, Kentucky. From there he travels to early voting Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina – including a big fundraiser in the Palmetto State the day after he announces.
As we write this, money is being collected. Speeches are being vetted.
He’s 100 percent in … and not only that, Paul is one of the few candidates in the race with (we believe) a path to victory. And one of the few candidates (we believe) to be worthy of real consideration.
Is he perfect? No. In fact we’ve blistered him in the past for being too cozy with the establishment at times. But when it comes down to the bread and butter issues that pro-freedom, pro-free market voters want to see addressed, Paul and fellow U.S. Senator Ted Cruz are head and shoulders above the rest of the “Republican” field.
In fact it’s not even close …
Anyway … why are we writing a story about Rand Paul being “in?” Doesn’t everybody already know that?
Yes … well … sort of.
You have to remember, though, we write from a home base in South Carolina – a banana republic known for its thick drawls and thicker skulls. Down here things have a tendency to get, um, “mixed up” pretty easily.
Wanna see what we mean? Check out this recent exchange between a presidential candidate and a South Carolina voter (one who actually used to be a school teacher, believe it or not).
Anyway, exploiting this confederacy of ding-battedness is a perpetual stream of misinformation – particularly political misinformation. It’s all geared toward the whole “you can fool some of the people some of the time” construct … and in South Carolina, the pool of fools is deeper than it is anywhere else in America.
Enter the “Rand Paul isn’t running” social media campaign … which has been blowing up our Facebook and Twitter feed for the past week. It’s also been blowing up our email and text message “matrixes,” which were flooded with messages from political activists (and a few elected officials) seeking clarification as to Paul’s 2016 status.
The buzz reached a level earlier this week where we felt compelled to reach out to Paul’s people … who confirmed his imminent presidential announcement was a “go.” In fact one Paul supporter told FITS the “Rand isn’t running” chatter was being deliberately ginned up by Cruz supporters.
“It’s a suppression effort,” the source said, referring to the campaign as a “weak and transparent bid to pick up commitments.”
In addition to definitively stating that Paul was not running, these posts often included links back to prior news stories in which Paul offered qualified statements regarding his political future.
One of these stories? A four-month old post by Politico reporter Katie Glueck in which Paul said he wouldn’t run for president – unless he thought he could win.
“It’s ingenious, really,” one digital operative familiar with such campaigns told FITS. “Anyone with half a brain who clicks on the article (will see) what he said – and (will see) when he said it. But the context they are given before they click – if they even click – is what sets the table. That and a lot of people just forward the false narrative around without bothering to click.”
Over the weekend, FITS had two prominent Upstate, South Carolina political activists contact us asking if Paul was running. The next day – March 31 – a pair of Upstate lawmakers reached out to us asking if the rumor was true.
The misinformation worked, in other words … at least to a limited degree.
Obviously Paul will announce next week – putting the matter to bed. But did the “Rand isn’t running” rumor cost him a local endorsement or two? Or cause a fundraiser to hold off on stroking a check? Or get certain activists lined up behind another candidate?
If so … it worked.