NPR media reporter David Folkenflik writes in his forthcoming book Murdoch’s World that the network’s public relations staffers set up “sock puppet” accounts to fill comments sections of “negative or even neutral” blog posts in the mid-to-late ‘00s with “pro-Fox rants.”
The reporter says Fox employees set up wireless broadband connections that couldn’t be traced to back to the network to help cover their tracks, and one employee used an AOL dial-up connection.
The network distributed old laptop computers to use in the PR campaign, Folkenflik says.
Four former employees confirmed the practice, Folkenflik says, and he reports one employee used 20 aliases and another set up 100 sock puppet accounts.
“Even blogs with minor followings were reviewed to ensure no claim went unchecked,” Folkenflik writes.
It wasn’t clear whether the network still uses the tactics.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.