The San Diego County Taxpayers Association is pushing hard against Prop Z, a bond measure for the San Diego Unified School District, by spreading a meme that the district is paying $2,500 per iPad. I'm not going to get into whether this is actually a fair claim or not (you can go check out San Diego Free Press' analysis for that), but rather the shady way they're gaming social media.
Apparently, SDCTA's communications consultant Tony Manolatos realized that if you submit something to the press-release distribution site BusinessWire.com, a lot of news organizations will automatically pick it up and run it as filler. In one example today, CNBC ran the press release.
So, then SDCTA turned around and tweeted the link, attributing the organization's conclusion to CNBC:
And doesn't that just look super legitimate?
If you actually click the link, it still kind of looks like a CNBC story to the untrained reader's eye. You have to scroll to the bottom to see that the piece is attributed to Manolatos (an ex-reporter who should know better) and SDCTA.
I don't really know what to call this other than, maybe, CNBC washing? Whatever it is, it's a dirty, dirty trick.