The Curiouser Case of The Curiously Uncurious Case of Carly Fiorina's Protesters

Curious Protesters, Perhaps Performing Some Kind Of Curious Ritualistic Dance. Curiously..

Yesterday, FishbowlLA posted a blog entry titled “The Curious Case of Carly Fiorina’s Protesters” which had a whole bunch of photo evidence that the Fiorina campaign was recycling protesters at various rallies across California. I mean, they had like SIX WHOLE PHOTOS!! Emanations of penumbras of implications let fly over aforementioned voluminous evidence. Astroturfers? Plants? Are they paid? ARE THEY RUSSIAN SPIES!!!!? IT’S CURIOUS!!!!!!


What does it mean when all of your protest signs are on the same paper in the same handwriting with the same colored markers – donning the same slogans in different cities on allegedly different days? It means your spontaneous organic grassroots movement is totally on the same page! Solidarity!

Carly Fiorina’s Twitter account is proudly boasting about all these protests around California. “Protesters are gathering in Sacramento asking, ‘where are the jobs?!?!’”

We’ve figured out where one job is: it’s holding this thing the Twitter account calls a blimp and describes as “flying high above the Sacramento skies” when it’s actually a balloon held by a tall white kid.

Blimps. Twitter. White kids who are tall!! Well I had to fasten my seatbelt for this carnival ride. Same people, same faces, same WORDS, different days! Just as my hand was poised over the cell phone I was about to use to apply for a blimp job, something happened.

Apparently, quite the email exchange was taking place, as noted here. The very first email is the kicker.

Subject: In re: “The Curious Case of Carly Fiorina’s Protesters”

Tina —

On behalf of the Fiorina campaign, I wanted to touch base in reference to your post today on the FailedSenator protests.

The man you identified as a Fiorina aide in image one is neither a campaign staffer nor is he a repeat protester. In fact, there were no repeat protesters.

You have incorrectly dated image three, which occurred on the same day as image two (both pictures are from the same event). The “grow jobs not government” sign is not, per your description, a “repeat sign,” then, and instead just two different images of the same supporter holding the same sign on the same day. Further, the man identified in image two as a “repeat Fiorina staffer” is wearing entirely different clothes from the first supposed appearance of said “Fiorina staffer” on the same day, July 7, from two different protests in two different cities.

The protest signs you wrongly identified as astroturf material were created by campaign supporters at each protest location–Monterey, Fresno, San Diego and Sacramento–and used only for that protest.

All Best

James Richardson


OMG SAME GUY TWO DIFFERENT CITIES TWO DIFFER … oh wait. Same guy. Same city. Same day. Well … still. He was curiously in two completely different photos!! Or something.

So since this seriously undermined their entire point, as rather than one guy with the same sign in two different places on two different dates, it was just two pictures of the same dude at the same place at the same time, and therefore NOT a repeat sign, FishbowlLA had little choice but to, well, change the date on the second photo with nary a mention of the mixup in their curious article. How do they explain this?

Hi James!

Thanks for the note.

“Astroturf” is your word, not mine.

But I did goof on the date of that one pic. It was posted on July 7th. Good catch. Typo.

How do you explain the same paper size, marker color and identical slogans with some of the exact same handwriting? How about the curiously similar amount of people in different locations all having the idea to send you guys the pics to post on Twitter? This is pretty remarkable kismet, don’t you think? That’s a great story of 20 people around California all psychically connected in such a profound way. Is that the case?


Astroturf wasn’t their word. Ok. “We just said Bob might be employed by your company for money in exchange for doing work selling cars on your behalf. We never called him a car salesman. That’s your word, not ours.” Um. Good point?


“But I did goof on the date of that one pic. It was posted on July 7th. Good catch. Typo.”

Oops. Don’t you love really super amazingly convenient typos that create exactly the impression you are trying to give with your entire article? That’s the best.

But still though. Some people had signs with words that were the same, or colors that were the same, in different cities on different days, as per our 6 … err 5 photos. Wait the last two are the same people at the same event too. Ok, 4 photos. But like, three people said FAIL!! What are the odds of that? Nobody ever says fail! I mean, WHERE could they even GET that idea?? Oh right. The tons of advertising using that exact terminology specific to this race. But aside from that, what about the colors and shapes!?!?

Another Richardson reply:

Thanks for the quick response, Tina.

But for whatever reason, there is an obvious disconnect here. Of the six posted images, there is no instance of a supporter using a sign created for an old rally. Images two and three are of the same event and many of the same supporters; the same can be said for images five and six.

As for your theory about paper size and marker color, I would direct you to your local OfficeMax or Staples, where you’ll soon realize that white poster board and red and black markers in are great abundance. I would even hazard a guess that those products have their individual markets cornered.


I’m sorry Mr. Richardson, but do you somehow expect me to believe that “rectangular” is a perfectly common sign shape? Please.

Fishbowl responds:

I never said it was the same sign. The slogans are the same. “Epic fail?” The slogans are identical at different “rallies.” Identical slogans meaning the same exact words. Different signs. Exact same slogan.

I’ve been to protests. People get all creative with their signs. They’re all bedazzled and snazzy. Sometimes they’re clever. Sometimes they’re off message. Sometimes they don’t have the same “blimp” and look curiously like the same person in different clothes on now what you’re claiming is the same day. How many balloons did you guys have made anyway?

So is OfficeMax your explanation?

And the same exact handwriting in the pic just posted in Stockton as the one posted earlier in Sacramento, is that the magic of OfficeMax too?

Are you guys just going to come clean on this one? It’s a pretty goofy attempt to stage phony protest.


Exact. Same. Slogan. Well that’s pretty damning. That NEVER happens.

And what about the lack of snazz? Why won’t you address the lack of snazz!!!??? Those four pictures are snazz-free! They are sans snazz! I’d go so far as to say SNAZZ FAIL! This is important!!!!!

You know, the last paragraph says it all. “Are you guys just going to come clean on this one?” So … yeah we got nothing. Could you maybe be a sweetheart and just confess? Would be totes easier for us.


James sent them a final email, which he was kind enough to send to me as well.

Tina —

We’re constantly amazed by our supporters. They’re an energized, motivated and dynamic bunch–and for good reason, with a new Field poll showing today Carly in a statistical tie with Senator Boxer.

That our supporters would echo the campaign’s message speaks more to its effectiveness and truth than any orchestrated effort to stage “phony protests.” With a 52 percent unfavorable rating for Boxer among likely California voters, it’s no surprise then that people call the campaign headquarters daily asking about ways in which they can become involved in the effort to unseat the Golden State’s failed senator.


To stick with the failblogesque jargon: Boo. Yah.

I think the best summary I can come up with for the whole thing is: curiosity FAIL.


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