The news that Osama bin Laden was killed by American military forces yesterday has provoked a torrent of conspiracy theories from the fringes. Alex Jones’ website claims that bin Laden’s body has been frozen for “nearly a decade” and that the announcement yesterday was a fake. Similarly, ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum highlighted how Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment website is now floating the idea that bin Laden was not actually killed and that the body “should be digitally scanned” then displayed for public inspection.
In the midst of such “deather” conspiracy theories, some conservative bloggers are conjuring fantasies about the spontaneous rally outside the White House last night. The rally, which drew several thousand as soon as President Obama ended his televised remarks, included a variety of Americans from all sides of the political spectrum (some attendees even brought political signs supporting President Bush). Several times during the night, attendees broke out in chants of “four more years” and “yes we can.” RightNetwork blogger Jim Hoft, however, thinks the the pro-Obama chants were part of an orchestrated effort by the “left” to manufacture support for the White House. Under the title “Astroturfed Crowd at White House Chants ‘4 More Years,'” Hoft writes that the jubilant crowd must have been “planned by the left”:
Just when you thought you’d seen everything… Leftists chanted “4 more years” and “Yes We Can” outside the White House after Osama Bin Laden’s death was announced last night. […] College kids in front of the White House are chanting “Yes We Can!” according to a beaming CNN reporter. Funny… They didn’t get this excited when Al-Zarqawi was killed?
Does anyone out there actually believe this was completely spontaneous and not planned by the left?
Astroturfing refers to the process by which corporate interests generate public support by funding front organizations and fake citizens groups. Eager to paint any Obama supporters as fake, Hoft throws the astroturf charge out without a shred of evidence. If there is something to prove that the White House leaked the bin Laden announcement early to its twenty-something political supporters so they could in turn show up and chant “four more years,” Hoft hasn’t produced it.
Hoft is a blogger for RightNetwork, a conservative media outlet funded by Comcast executive Ed Snider. While many fringe conspiracies are easy to ignore, Hoft’s writing is well-funded and plugged into the right-wing echo chamber. Already, the website FreeRepublic is echoing the charge that Democrats concocted the rally and the bin Laden announcement as part of Obama’s reelection strategy.