Misleading walk-away event should be vetted

November 8, 2019

I do not care to comment on the content of the Letter to the Editor from Oct. 4 titled “Alienated Democrats are walking away”  I read this assuming WalkAway was a group formed as an independent organization removed from both parties. 

I have since learned that the name on the contract with the city for rental of the convention center for the Nov. 17, 2 to 4 p.m. event is the Delaware Republican State Committee, signed by Committee Chair Jane Brady.  Not once in this lengthy letter is that disclosed. This is misleading at best.

I have done some research on WalkAway.  The group has been cited as an example of “Astroturfing” rather than a genuine grassroots movement.  According to Wikipedia, Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants. It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations credibility by withholding information about the source's financial connection. The implication behind the use of the term is that instead of a "true" or "natural" grassroots effort behind the activity in question, there is a "fake" or "artificial" appearance of support.  Stock photos have been taken from Shuttestock and used in WalkAway ads demonstrating support for the program, however Mr. Straka claims these ads do not originate from his group.

The letter is signed by a Hylton Phillips-Page of Rehoboth Beach.  I have Googled him and can’t come up with anything but the letter.  I also cannot locate anyone who knows him.  Please do your own research before signing on with a group like WalkAway.

Cindy Lovett
Rehoboth Beach

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