What the heck?
According to a new report, prior to the 1996 election — via which Bill Clinton faced a dubious 2nd term — the Democratic Party hatched a plan to inundate conservative talk radio show with callers who were sneakily in fact left-wingers. The mission? To push Democrat talking points.
Evidence of the Talk Radio Initiative was discovered within documents at the Clinton Presidential Library, as noted by The Washington Free Beacon.
According to the article, the effort was launched in light of the tremendous GOP victory of the 1994 midterms — for the first time since 1954, Republicans ruled the House.
In an internal report from the time, the DNC laid it out:
Democrats have largely ignored talk radio, and only since the last election, have we paid attention to how we can win back the airwaves and the discussion. We have now put our frustration into action.
So their idea was to convert hardcore conservative radio listeners with liberal ideas?
Yep. From the Free Beacon:
[W]ith the blessing of the Clinton White House, launched the Talk Radio Initiative (TRI) ahead of the 1996 campaign. The program trained thousands of operatives to call in to radio shows, conduct surveillance of their contents, and secretly disseminate Democratic talking points while posing as ordinary listeners.
Michigan Democrats prepared a guide; here’s a sample:
Volunteers must be able to keep the project confidential so as not to create the image of a “Democratic conspiracy” to infiltrate Detroit area talk radio shows. Democratic performance in the 1996 elections will no doubt be affected by the success or failure of this initiative.
So how’d they do?:
Radio show hosts long suspected that someone was training so-called “seminar callers” to inundate their shows with sympathetic callers. Lars Larson, a host in the Pacific Northwest since the mid-1990s, recalled being on the receiving end of many such calls, but was not aware that many may have been trained by the DNC.
“You would get calls, an hour apart, from different people with different voices and different names, but they would talk the same lines. So close that you knew that this was not a coincidence,” Larson said. “It was the same language on the same subject and the same arguments.”
Great jobs, ya stealthy spies.
It’s a real shame — Wolverine State Dems spelled out how to evade capture:
If you are afraid that producers are beginning to recognize your name and are weary of allowing you on the air, use an alias. For example, be Carol today, Sue tomorrow, and Debbie on Friday!
According to the Free Beacon’s research, 23 states were involved in the mission, with 4,000 operatives on the ball.
The records also revealed that the Clinton administration consistently kept tabs on and coordinated with TRI, considering it a crucial pillar of the administration’s plan to neutralize conservative radio in preparation for the 1996 election.
As per the report, at the 1996 Democratic Convention, TRI set up three-hour training sessions for the agents.
Rush Limbaugh responded to news of the initiative Tuesday; check that out here.
So did the project ever officially end?
The DNC-published instructions advised a novel approach:
Sound dumb. Even though you may have indicated a difference of opinion with the host, appear to present an opportunity for him to demolish you with his “superior” intelligence.
Some might suspect the same instructions are still being doled out.
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