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Unmasking of Fake Union Organizer Offers Glimpse of Conservative Sting Efforts

Want a peek into the dirty tricks of the right-wing activists who stitch together phony “exposés” and doctored videos like the one the late Andrew Brietbart used to attack former U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod? The so-called investigations then fed a firestorm of outrage among Fox News, the Drudge Report and right-wing lawmakers.   

Michael Powell offers “an anatomy of a political sting” that took place at an East Harlem community organizing group. It included an elaborate website and fake Facebook page with a detailed, but phony, biography.

 A “young, bearded and a bit scruffy” man who said his name was Melvin Howtig walked into the office wanting to know how to form a union at the environmental company where he worked.

After a few questions, he had one more, writes Powell in The New York Times. “If he formed a union, could his fellow workers join with the employer to shake down politicians for more money?"

At this point, Rhea Byer-Ettinger, an organizer for Manhattan Together, felt her internal baloney detector go on red alert. “Beep, beep, beep,” she said. “I said to him: ‘Well, that’s not how we work. Tell me, why are you asking me about that?’ ”

Click here for the full, fascinating and just a bit frightening story.

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