Anti-Obama text messages draw ire of unsuspecting recipients
Mike Madden, of the Washington City Paper, posted this message to Twitter, showing an anti-Obama text message he received on his phone.
Published Wednesday, October 31, 2012 9:16AM EDT
Anti-Obama text messages have flooded the phones of people in the Washington, D.C. area this week, making inflammatory claims about the U.S. president from behind the guise of an anonymous email account.
The unsolicited messages began arriving on mobile phones Tuesday night, touching on such divisive topics as abortion, healthcare and gay rights.
"Obama denies protection to babies who survive abortions. Obama is just wrong," read one of the messages, tweeted out by Mike DeBonis, a Washington Post reporter. What’s more, DeBonis said the message was actually sent to his 13-year-old daughter.
Another, posted to Twitter by Mike Madden, of Washington City Paper, read: "Re-electing Obama puts Medicare at risk."
And CNN's Jim Spellman tweeted that the presidential election campaigns had hit "a new low" after he received this message on his mobile phone: "ObamaCare: a $700 BIL gamble where Medicare recipients take the risk. Stop Obama!"
Lawyer Peter Saharko received a message that read: "Obama is using your tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood and abortion. Is that right?"
Many of the messages appeared to target journalists -- sent from mysterious email accounts email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org -- but didn't appear to specifically target either Democrat or Republican supporters.
In one case, a message urging the recipient to "stop Obama from forcing gay marriage on the states" was sent to a woman who is gay, eliciting an angry response.
A search of the domain names associated with each email, completed by CTVNews.ca through Whois.com, show all were registered on Feb. 15, 2012, though an owner is not listed for any address.
Sending unsolicited, automated text messages is illegal in the U.S., but according to some reports, the messages exploit a loophole. Even though they are read as text messages, they are sent as emails, which appears to be put them within the bounds of the law.
Recipients are even charged for the uninvited texts if they don't have a messaging plan, adding insult to injury for Obama supporters who end up paying to read anonymous, unsolicited attacks directed at their candidate of choice.
While some people on Twitter immediately blamed the campaign team of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, there is no evidence the messages are associated with him in any way.