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The Little Design Firm That Caused a Big Political Scandal

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Although we don’t really understand what happens in those big white buildings (refer to our sister blog for that), one political story has popped onto our radar this week.

For the Washington-clueless, it’s recently been suggested that Karl Rove and other administration officials were doing business via email hosted by Chattanooga company Smartech, rather than on federal servers. Bloggers began blasting Smartech as some underground right wing computer network and also implicated Coptix, a nice little graphic design and web development company that provides backup DNS hosting for Smartech.

But it was this photo of Rove leaving a Chattanooga restaurant, with the Coptix name tucked under his arm, that got people really riled up. Since the image was originally posted on a right-wing blog, it couldn’t have been Photoshopped, reasoned bloggers. It got picked up everywhere from Wonkette to DailyKos as proof of Rove’s direct link to Coptix.

The whole thing, however, was a cleverly executed April Fool’s joke, orchestrated by Coptix (if you squint, you’ll see a still from the show “Land of the Lost” superimposed on the TV in the upper right corner). The Chattanooga Times Free Press covers the story from beginning to end, and Coptix VP Josiah Roe comes clean, and gives us this follow up report:

Everyone and their grandmother seems to be talking about it. It’s all over Reddit and Digg, and a few smaller mainstream sites have picked up the story. We’re just trying to weather the storm. Oh, DailyKos called us fat, stupid, and that we had marginalized the entire blogosphere, which is kind of funny (and wildly insecure and untrue).

Plus, you gotta love today’s DailyKos headline: Coptix Dirty Tricks.

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