While reading our favorite blogs and news sites, we've all bumped into commenters like this, from Heard on The Hill columnist Mary Ann Akers via Raw Story:
Liberal bloggers in New Hampshire busted an aide to Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) who was posing as a liberal blogger on such blogs as Blue Granite, NH-02 Progressive and others. Bass’ office admitted culpability to HOH and said the staffer would be “appropriately disciplined.”
The unnamed aide to Bass — who, like many others in his party, faces a tough re-election fight — was routinely trolling liberal New Hampshire political blogs calling himself “IndyNH” and more commonly IndieNH, pretending to be a progressive.
Finally, after noticing that lots of things he said just didn’t add up, a couple of the bloggers traced IndieNH’s IP address to the House of Representatives.
The poseur had raised suspicions among liberal bloggers after he pooh-poohed a recent poll showing Bass tied with Hodes and suggested that Democrats should not waste any more time or money on the Hodes race and instead should invest their resources in other races.
“I am going to look at the competitive race list to figure out where to send another mydd.com/netroots donation and maybe help out in other ways,” IndieNH posted. “Maybe CT or NY for me — they are at least close by. Anyone interested in pooling NH efforts for some of those races? Maybe we could even go help out for a few days in buses or something in November?”
After Clawson posted a notice on her site informing IndieNH that he (or she — Clawson wasn’t sure) had been rooted out as a GOP aide in Bass’ office, the postings ceased.
The aide’s job could cease, too. John Billings, a spokesman for Bass, acknowledged that “we have questioned the staff and found that a staffer in this office did indeed post to some blogs under the pseudonym ‘IndieNH.’
Mostly, trolls are an annoyance, a mere irritant; they are bored people possessed of too much free time and too little education as opposed to undercover operatives with nefarious intentions. But sometimes nefarious is exactly what their intentions are, and disinformation spread via blogs and comment threads can fly around the world and back in a few short hours, confusing or outright duping a significant number of readers. The thing is, I can almost always indentify a poseur by his ghastly spelling and grammar. With very few exceptions, real progressives tend to be inordinately well-spoken, erudite souls; wingnuts, on the other hand, harbor a profound disdain for book learnin', and it shows. If in doubt, it's fun to call a suspected troll to the mat on his sub-Kindergarten spelling or boneheaded abuse of the English language. Invariably, he'll say something to the effect of "lefties shuld worry more about there week argumints than good speling and grammer". Busted.
(I know, I'm going straight to Hell along with all the other elitist pedants.)