Disinformation is already a big problem, and here's a report of another one getting caught.
So when postings from an unknown writer on the site showed up praising Senator John McCain — one of the site's least-popular Republicans for his deviations from hard-core conservative orthodoxy — Erickson thought he smelled a rat.
Or maybe a sockpuppet, shill, or a troll — Web slang for bloggers who pretend to be grass-roots political commentators but instead are paid public relations agents.
The author of the pro-McCain articles on Redstate.com, Erickson determined after a Google search, was a Michigan political operative whose firm worked for McCain's political action committee.
"Campaigns and organizations promote their candidates and efforts, obviously," Markos Moulitsas , the founder of DailyKos.com , a prominent liberal blog, said in an e-mailed response. "If they do it openly, it's well accepted. If they use sock puppets ( create aliases to hide their identities), then it's a big deal."