Making a List, Checking it Twice

Even go-to conservatives think the latest conspiracy theory is nuts

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Today, the conservative-leaning National Legal and Policy Center claimed to have "uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites." Really? Actually, say those with no particular reason to love the Obama administration, no. Conservative bloggers are busy debunking this myth, not propagating it.

  • Seriously?  "I'm not sure that highlighting a public contract offer," Ed Morrissey of Hot Air began, "amounts to 'uncovering' a conspiracy, especially since their analysis turns out to be faulty." This data being collected, Morrissey wrote, is all data that the White House is required by law to keep.
Which brings us to the common-sense check on the rumor.  How much time and resources would it take to effectively monitor every entry on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and every blog in the blogosphere?  And to do that secretly, while archiving all of it?  The NSA would have to take that on full time, and even then … best of luck just keeping up with the archiving, let alone surveillance.
  • You're Safe to Overshare  Stephen Spruiell of the National Review agreed with the alarmists that "the language in the contract is a little vague," but stuck with Morrissey on the details. The data collected, he said, is limited to "content published by executive-branch officials on publicly-accessible sites like Facebook and MySpace," comments on those pages, and messages sent to those officials. His conclusion? "I think it's safe to go ahead and take the 'Which '80s Movie Character Are You?' quiz. Obama doesn't care."

For all the liberals still fuming over the "death panel" rumors: take note. Conservative bloggers do have a bogus line and they're drawing it right here.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.