"Canned PR Material" Not Welcome

"Readers have a right to assume that what they read on the letters page is not canned public relations material," Boston Globe Editorial Page Editor Renee Loth said. Responding to unknowingly running GOP "astroturf" form letters, the Globe is instituting a new policy to "confirm original authorship on any letter that could be part of an organized campaign." Globe Ombudsman Christine Chinlund writes that while readers may find the fake grassroots letters-to-the-editor offensive, in political campaigning circles, there is bipartisan support. She writes that former Clinton press secretary and current Grassroots Enterprise CEO Michael McCurry's response to critics is: "Grow up and join the Internet Age." On his own site, McCurry writes, "I believe that the power of the Internet in this capacity has only begun to be tapped by public affairs pros. And that power is extraordinary."