Coordinated effort or a random set of coincidences?
That's the question left after a student and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County sent a letter to the editor to Arbutus Patch extolling the virtues of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act as it relates to the health concerns of women.
Bruce Goldfarb, the local editor for Arbutus, quickly identified that the letter was eerily similar to a letter published June 29 in The Gainesville Sun. A number of the paragraphs are identical.
A June 28 press release on the Planned Parenthood website also carries some similar language.
Again, in each instance, the published articles carried multiple instances of paragraphs copied word-for-word. All of them authored by different people—three are presidents of Planned Parenthood organizations in their respective states.
It's hard to say exactly what's happening here.
We reached out to Kelly Martin Broderick, the student at UMBC, and to officials at Planned Parenthood in Washington for comment.
This kind of effort, some times called astroturfing by opponents, is not uncommon among groups across the political spectrum. An organization will some times provide boiler plate language and ask supporters to send the copy to local papers or elected officials after making minor tweaks to make each seem personal.
Or it could just be a really weird set of coincidences.
After all, this Friday is the 13th.