Things got a little weird Tuesday for enthusiasts of monetary policy when Hollywood ankle monitoring bracelet model and sometime actress Lindsay Lohan got all up in the Federal Reserve's grill on Twitter, sending out the following message:
Why the sudden interest? Well, as it turns out, her Twitter-missive was a sponsored tweet -- a message she was paid to send. But as she endeavored to explain to an inquirer, "i actually do care about gas and food prices, so whether it's an #ad or no, it's important for people to be aware of it."
Of course, you might be wondering, "Who on earth would pay Lindsay Lohan to broadcast their opinions on the Fed? Clearly not someone who ultimately wanted to be successful at affecting Fed policy." Well, you'd be right. As SF Weekly reported, the tweet was sponsored by the National Inflation Association. As Dan Mitchell reports:
It seems likely that Lohan had no idea what the mysterious group was all about. I imagine she genuinely thought it was a grassroots outfit opposed looking out for consumers' welfare. As it turns out, though, it isn't interested so much in consumer rights -- or even in the fate of the economy -- as it is in selling often-marginal stocks in companies that deal in gold and silver. It's the stuff of Glenn Beck and late-night informercials, and, more to the point, of sleazy stock spammers.
MarketWatch columnist Chuck Jaffe earlier this month described the two guys behind the NIA as "stock jockeys, one of them being a notorious pump-and-dump schemer from the Internet bubble era."
(Later, Lohan retweeted a link from HuffPost Green directing readers to Bill McKibben's piece, "If Brazil Has to Guard Its Rainforest, Why Does Canada/U.S. Get to Burn Its Tar Sands?" Obviously, she does McKibben no favors, but for what it's worth, she did it for free.)