I want to take a few moments to point out something that some readers of this blog may not be aware of.
There are people on the Internet who have a very interesting job: They get paid by large companies to sit in rooms all day (in shifts, so they have 24 hour coverage) and read blogs and news sites. Then, they go into the comments sections of those sites and try discredit or defuse anything that might be seen as negative to their employers. They always pretend to be ordinary people, and never admit that they are writing as paid advocates. They act as if they are regular folks, just responding honestly to what they've read.
But they aren't. These people are professionals, and they're known in the PR industry as "astroturfers" (because they pretend to be grass-roots, but they're fake), as "sock puppets" (that one kinda speaks for itself) and, most famously, as "trolls."
I was just reading the comments on the Chris Williams story -- the boy who has chosen to join the picket lines, and wrote a story and drew a picture about his experiences. A few people (most conspicuously, of course, an "anonymous") went to great lengths to heckle, demean, belittle and insult this kid.
They even questioned his existence, saying that he was a PR stunt made up by the WGA, or a "plant."
When the woman who met Chris, who sent in his story, responded in the comments section with an offer to prove he was real and not a plant, "anonymous" promptly said that he'd called the number she gave for verification and it was a strip joint.
Yeah, it's not a strip joint. The 7th grader isn't a plant. Sorry.
But that's what trolls are hired to do -- at all costs, turn attention away from anything their employers don't like (for example, a true story about a kid who walks the line with us.) Call people liars, insult little kids, whatever it takes to win. Keep people from paying attention to the actual issues.
And we've got a lot of trolls here. Kinda like we're infested with weevils, except that the weevils are making a hell of a good living off the strike. So actually, they're a little more like parasites.
Because we're a volunteer organization (we aren't paid for this, we're a collection of strike captains and other writers working together because we want to), we don't have the resources to battle the paid hecklers the AMPTP sends out into the blogosphere. So the trolls will continue to show up here, and continue to pretend to be people they aren't. They'll lie and insult and try to manipulate. Why? Because it's the only strategy the AMPTP has. The truth is not on the conglomerates' side.
A lot of people reading this post will already be aware of everything I've written about. But as you may remember, my yardstick will always be my 91-year-old Omie in Blanco, Texas, and she sure as hell had never heard of trolls. So for everyone wondering where all those shrill, angry people in the comments sections came from -- chances are they're hired guns, who lie for a living.