Back in March, there was a bit of embarrasment on the part of John “whack-job” McCain. His MySpace page had featured a link to an image hosted by one of the very people he was slamming with his homophobic writeup rant. That person got wind of the fact that McCain was using the image, and he took his sweet revenge by swapping out the image for something much more interesting: an apparent 180 turn in McCain’s position on gay marriage.
The same thing happened to Max Blumenthal at Huffington Post a while back; the Family Research Council had a great time with that one, and they even link to a story on Wizbang! that points out why leaching is just plain dumb.
A similar story a while back had the link to an image embedded in an email to supporters of “Focus on the Family” or some other wingnut outfit (I just can’t find the link — I think it was Josh @ talkingpointsmemo or John @ americablog that had it). And unlike in the case of McCain (where the swapped image only stayed live for a couple of hours) once the email had been sent, there was little they could do to fix the matter — much egg on face. Quite apart from the faux pas of mooching off someone else’s bandwidth, it’s just not a good idea to link to an image on a site that you do not control — you never know when and how that image might suddenly be swapped out.
And all the good lefty bloggers laughed and were merry. But apparently, none of the lefty grassroots movements took note and learned the lesson, so today we saw moveon release an appeal on their website to their Nevada supporters. In it, they ask people to send Harry Reid a “bag of weak tea” to taunt him for his embarrasingly lame performance on the Iraq Supplemental. Amen to that, great idea, etc. However, Moveon then proceeds to suggest that if you can’t send him a bag of tea, you can send him a picture of one. And they link to this image on a 3rd party server. Now, the site, pun.org, is owned by one Josh Poulson, and he clearly is no friend of Moveon. His blogroll of libertarian and hardcore conservative sites includes the “Wingnut Supremes”: Atlas Shrugged, Michelle Malkin, and Ann Althouse, as well as the clearinghouse for all things ugly, Little Green Footballs. He is an instructor for the NRA and both he and his wife have blogged about the joys of concealed handguns, particularly in connection with the tragedy at Virginia Tech (“if only all those kids had been armed, many more people might have been killed saved…”)
I have no idea why Moveon thought pun.org was the right place to pick up an image for their “weak tea” campaign — there’s heaps of other options out there. At the very least, they should have been smart enough to copy the image and host it on moveon.org’s own servers — that way they would maintain control. As it is now, Josh is free to swap out the image of the tea bag with something more… interesting, and get himself a well-deserved giggle at the expense of the lame editors and web lackeys at Moveon.
I’m no fan of Moveon — I think they sold out, dropped the ball, and capitulated to mainstream, morally corrupt, wanna-be Republican Democrats long ago, but couldn’t they at least be professional about it when they do something worthwhile like rubbing Harry Reid’s face in his dismal failure, and not set themselves up for a PR disaster by leaching off some wingnut’s web site?
A great case in point from a guy who has an image on his server leached by a “free template” design firm that in turn makes money off his image selling templates to Myspace users… his revenge is sweet, and thus, we have come full circle.