White House officials said [the backlash] had led them to engage the blogosphere in a concerted way for the first time, posting defenses on liberal and conservative sites.
One would think that if White House representatives had been engaging the blogosphere, I would have heard about it. I know that Hugh Hewitt interviewed Tony Snow, and I make a habit of never visiting RedState, but that's the only two possibilities I can think of. And, one would think that if they had outreached to "liberal" sites they would have posted about that; I doubt whether DailyKos has been allowing Karl Rove to post a diary there under his own name.
Note also that the White House has been "posting defenses", which might imply that they've been posting comments. Did they identify themselves as being with the Bush administration?
Or, did they (just as an example!) get a cheap-o dial-up account or use a proxy to disguise where their comments were coming from? That's certainly something worth looking into, especially if any laws were broken by doing so.
I note also the furious nature with which the David Leonhardt smear of Lou Dobbs spread around the internet (partial list of sites discussing it here). Call me paranoid, but to me it seemed a bit like a coordinated attack. I note also that according to technorati, the first major sites linking to it, in addition to mediabistro.com and the usual smear merchants like ThinkProgress and puffballs like andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com, were academics: poliblogger.com, brendan-nyhan.com, marginalrevolution.com, and economistsview.typepad.com, with the last three being open borders, "free" trade "economists". I note also that economist.com followed up with their own smear, as did the Columbia Journalism Review. There are also at least five dupe links to the same NYT article at digg.com, a fairly large number.
Obviously, this is all just speculation, but if the White House has been spreading propaganda on the federal government's dime, then perhaps someone should look into it. Especially if it's been covert.
UPDATE: Someone like Les Kinsolving should ask Tony Snow for a full list - including URLs - of the defenses they've posted. An enterprising citizen journalist could even file an FOIA request looking for a list of websites visited by White House staff filtered by blogs and forums and any information on dial-up accounts or proxies used.
UPDATE 2: Based on comments, we've got The Corner as another possibility and there are apparently White House posts at RedState (as if you could tell the difference). But, where are the liberal sites the NYT mentioned above?
Immigration2007a · Sat, 06/02/2007 - 12:55 · Importance: 4