Small-scale tyranny: Town hall meetings across America filled with paid actors asking scripted questions

Monday, May 16, 2016 by

Have you ever wondered how supposedly “ordinary American citizens” show up at the town hall meetings of political candidates for public office with such specific, if nerdy, policy-oriented questions, and wondered to yourself, “That’s a great question – how did that person come up with it?”

Well, the chances are good that that particular person didn’t come up with the question. In fact, it is increasingly likely that the question was provided to that person by someone’s campaign – either the candidate staging the town hall meeting or the campaign of a rival, if the question appeared to be an attempt to throw the candidate off-message.

As reported by Liberty Blitzkrieg, today’s high-profile political campaigns, which are covered breathlessly 24-7 by the legacy news media, employ paid actors to portray question-askers at political events with one of two specific goals in mind: To portray the candidate on stage in a good light or to try to make the candidate look weak or bad on a particular issue.

In addition, such actors are also part of what are euphemistically dubbed “rent-a-mobs,” in which people are paid to show up and “protest” something, giving it the feel of a legitimate and growing “movement.”

From a recent NBC News affiliate in California:

In Camarillo, citizens aren’t shy about expressing their opinions. But on a chilly Wednesday night in December, city officials say one man stood out. 

For nearly three minutes, Prince Jordan Tyson is on camera telling city leaders what he later admits, is a lie. 

In fact, Tyson, who is not from Camarillo, is a self described struggling actor from Beverly Hills and he now believes he was involved in a secretive new industry where actors are hired to try and sway public officials.

In this case, a construction project in Camarillo he says he was hired to criticize.

“It was scripted, they told me what to say,” Tyson told NBC4.

News organizations manipulate political events as well. As columnist and author Michelle Malkin noted in a January column, President Barack Obama is often a recipient of so-called “softball questions” at events that were coordinated by media.

She writes:

CNN will host a town hall with President Obama as part of his “final-year push to make gun control part of his legacy.” In addition to sitting down with liberal anchor Anderson Cooper, the network says Obama will “take questions from the audience.” 

Uh-oh. Get out your best pruning shears and trowels. In an age of micromanaged partisan stagecraft and left-wing media enablers, there is no such thing as a spontaneous question.

CNN has a long history of allowing political plants to flourish in its public forums.

Later that month, CNN managed to arrange softball questions for Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton. As reported by the Washington Examiner, as a two-hour town hall-style event features then-three Democratic candidates (Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley), the last question of the evening was for Clinton and it came from a young student identified as Brett Rosengren.

“I can see why they gave you this question,” he began, already implying that it was planted. “I just wanted to know which of our previous presidents has inspired you most and why.”

Clinton stammered for a bit of comic relief and then finally answers, “Abraham Lincoln.”


But many on social media caught the canned (and very easy) nature of the question and panned it, saying it sounded like it came from CNN.

In 2013 The Wall Street Journal reported that so-called drama at town halls are often based on scripts supplied to the players by activists:

Congressional town-hall meetings, a valued way for lawmakers to hear impromptu feedback from their constituents, are increasingly turning into a form of orchestrated theater—a platform for national political forces to advance their point of view.

Is it any wonder why the American people are revolting against the political class?



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