Maybe spam is in the eye of the beholder

MAYBE SPAM IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER…. Sometimes, stupid stories boomerang in interesting ways.

Republican critics pilloried the White House for making it too easy to request e-mail updates about health reform, but it turns out the GOP could have spam problems of its own.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) sent a tweet this morning from her @michelebachmann account saying: “If you’re interested in receiving mobile updates from me, text MN6 to 467468 or visit Bachmann.house.gov and subscribe. Thanks so much!”

The homepage of her congressional site allows users to sign up for the “Bachmann Bulletin” by entering only a first name, last name and e-mail address. Then you get a confirmation message that says, “Thank you for registering.”

That system rang a bell for some Democrats, who recalled that opponents of health reform claimed that groups could enter names of other people — and even lists — to receive White House updates without the addressees’ permission.

A Democratic official said: “Bachmann is using official government resources in a way that allows groups to simply add individual e-mails … into her government-run database. Fox spent a lot of time on this story when it involved the White House. I wonder if they or anyone else will pay the same attention now that it is a Republican Member of Congress.”

Salon‘s Mike Madden had a fun report on this today, noting that he visited Bachmann’s site, and found “there’s no requirement that you confirm the subscription before receiving messages.” He signed up some of his colleagues, without their permission, who’ll now receive Bachmann emails without having asked for them.

“When the White House was doing the same thing, of course, that was a big deal for Fox, which reported on ‘hundreds’ of people who complained to the network that they were getting unsolicited messages from David Axelrod about healthcare reform,” Madden noted.

In August, this “controversy” was so important that Fox News’ White House correspondent pressed Robert Gibbs on it during a White House briefing. Soon after, in the hopes of making Republicans and their network move on, the White House changed its email policy.

A Democratic official told Madden, “Given how obsessed they were to make a federal case out of this when it came to the White House, you would think that Fox ‘News’ would be asking all sorts of questions of Republicans about the same practice. But apparently not. Maybe there’s a breaking story about how ACORN is planning a swine flu vaccine that will indoctrinate children so they will support a world currency that will undermine the dollar that they are covering. But more likely, the disparate treatment here is just further evidence that Fox ‘News’ is an arm of the Republican Party.”

If I didn’t know better, I might think Democrats are enjoying going after FNC.