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Failures

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
ama, barack obama, planted questions

Companies:
reddit



Reddit Sleuths In Action: Highlight How Obama Answered A 'Planted' Question [Update: Or Not?]

from the but-let's-talk-about-rampart dept

Update: There are some good points raised in the comments, showing that the woman in question has responded to the claims and insist that she wasn't a plant.

We were a bit disappointed in how President Obama handled his recent Reddit AMA, giving mostly canned politician's answers to a community that tends to expect a bit more human emotion. It was no Woody Harrelson debacle, but it did seem like a missed opportunity. And, now, some Redditors are suggesting that parts of it were actually stage. Some internet sleuthing pointed out that among the only 10 questions that Obama chose to answer (out of hundreds that were asked almost immediately) was one from someone who appears to have been planted by the administration. The evidence:
  • Profile created mere hours before minutes after the AMA was announced, and literally six seconds before asking a well written, paragraph long question (approximate typing speed assuming it was typed after creating the account? 1570 wpm)
  • Created a profile 5 minutes 39 seconds after the AMA going live, when servers were having a fit.
  • Asked question explicitly requesting ways to recruit the youth that Obama relied on last election (many of whom are disillusioned with him, for all the reasons she presents herself as being subject to)
  • Is literally only 1 of 10 questions answered.
  • asked by one hmlee who (according to some internet detective work):
    • has only one comment in her history, total
    • Posted a blog entry supporting Obama
    • lists herself as working/having worked as an intern at the Department of Justice

So, is it possible that she heard about it on her own, created an account, and typed up an eloquent question that is a PR man's wet dream all within less than 6 minutes? Yes, it's possible. It's just not particularly likely.

It isn't that surprising that the administration would plant questions, though it is a bit surprising that they thought they'd get away with such a blatantly obvious planting. Why not find a supporter who was an actual Redditor and have them ask the question? Either way, we've pointed out that the key to a good Reddit AMA tends to be showing off your human side. Responding to planted questions with politicians' answers doesn't seem to qualify.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2012 @ 11:01am

    People are really out of touch with politics in the 21st century if they are surprised or even care that planted questions exist. There's far less ethical things going on in politics these days!

    Politicians take money from lobbies and then make laws that favor these lobbies. It's legalized bribery.
    Politicians smear each other on unimportant points (such as 'bad' youth decisions; e.g. smoking pot) rather than focusing on the stuff that really matters.
    Politicians lie to the public, whether it is about the stuff they will do if elected, their past actions as elected officials or the actions of their rivals.
    Politicians and the government are not transparent enough. How can you actually vote when you don't know the truth? We might as well use a randomness generator to pick our officials.
    Politicians try to censor votes by targeting neighborhoods, towns and communities that are strongly in favor of rival politicians or parties. Canada recently had the Robocall Scandal where the conservatives made phone calls to known liberal households informing them that voting bureaus had been moved to another location (when it actually wasn't the case). Apparently the same has been going on in the USA for a while.
    And of course, since there's hardly any control on money in political elections, those with the most money will get more exposure regardless of how good their ideas are. Limiting the funding of a campaign? No can do.

    And yet you guys are making a big deal that out of 10 questions one might have been planted? And you're actually debating whether it was planted or not as if it's the biggest thing to worry about right now?
    Something tells me whether Romney or Obama gets elected in October, your country won't get better.

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