On December 19, 2010, Chicago Now blogger Steve Dale posted an article about Wayne Pacelle’s role in Michael Vick’s rehabilitation. It’s a controversial topic that’s ignites heated discussions, and CCF spokesperson David Martosko is always eager to fan the flames in order to discredit animal protection charities.
That day, Martosko published a press release announcing CCF’s purchase of a full-page ad in the NY Times. The ad attacks Pacelle’s work with Michael Vick. Not coincidentally, the following comment also appeared on Steve Dale’s blog:
The commenter, “SmallDogVet”, also criticizes the HSUS and ridicules the effectiveness of the successful End Dogfighting program:
This is a veterinarian criticizing HSUS… and because a small dog vet works with dogs every day, his opinion carries some weight, right?
Well, that’s a dangerous assumption. Maybe SmallDogVet isn’t a vet at all. Maybe SmallDogVet is secretly a bomb-sniffing Pomeranian recently back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.
Or maybe he’s just David Martosko defrauding the public by pretending that veterinarians support animal cruelty.
In our previous exposé, we demonstrated how the gregoire525 account was traced to a subscriber residing in the area around David Martosko’s home, and working in the area around David Martosko’s office.
If you click “SmallDogVet’s” name, it takes you to his profile page. And right there in the URL is the account name that user signed up with: gregoire525.
Now, we can’t say conclusively that David Martosko and CCF were behind this. It’s entirely possible that there’s another person out there who stalks opponents of CCF, promotes CCF’s agenda, fawns over Martosko’s posts, writes with Martosko’s cadence and mannerisms, lives within walking distance of Martosko’s house, works down the block from Martosko’s office, subscribes to the same internet service providers as Martosko, and whose user name reflects Martosko’s training (opera) and Martosko’s birthdate (5/25).
But I wouldn’t bet on it.
CCF — the dubious “nonprofit” behind the HumaneWatch smear campaign — seeks to deceive the public. They are, in fact, an industry-paid public relations firm defending unpopular, unsafe, and unethical corporate practices, but their entire existence is predicated on their ability to masquerade as a credible, public interest nonprofit.
Every op-ed piece, every letter to the editor, every press release CCF writes hides behind this mask. That’s nothing new.
But impersonating an animal care professional in order to push an anti-animal agenda goes far beyond CCF’s usual spin and distortions. It crosses the line into outright fraud.
It also calls into question the “grassroots support” that CCF claims. How many of the 200,000+ Facebook members they claim are genuine accounts? How many of the comments on CCF’s editorials are just sockpuppets mouthing David Martosko’s words? What percentage of CCF’s donations come from the American public, and what percentage comes from the corporations that have hired CCF to slander charities on their behalf?
In order to defend corporate cruelty to animals, CCF has to persuade Americans that public opinion is against animal welfare — even when CCF’s own polls prove that’s untrue. The poll commissioned by CCF revealed that 77% of Americans have a positive view of HSUS and their campaigns to stop animal cruelty.
CCF’s industry-paid opinion does not reflect the beliefs of the American public. And that’s why they resort to underhanded tactics like lies, deception… and apparently, impersonation.