Note from Dan: When I embarked on this column, it was on a weak hunch that Dean Chambers might be a liberal pulling a devilishly clever stunt that would a) lure conservatives into an argument that would backfire badly on them; and b) make some money for himself at the same time. But as you’ll discover below, that wasn’t exactly the case.
Once upon a time nine weeks ago, there was a guy nobody had ever heard of in Duffield, a teeny Scott County town deep in the heart of Virginia coal country. As the crow flies, it’s about 40 miles or so west of Abingdon.
His name is Dean Chambers, he’s 45, unmarried, with no kids and he grew up on Cape Cod. Years ago, he earned a political science degree from a college in Maine, and later did some graduate work at the University of Tennessee.
His ardent hobby was writing about politics from a conservative perspective. Chambers published his work on The Examiner, a citizen-journalism website that pays authors about six-tenths of a penny each time someone reads one of their stories.
But his efforts languished there in relative obscurity, buried under a mountain of more provocative stuff. Last week, The Examiner had 492 article about contrails, 3,500 about bigfoot, 45,000 about the Tea Party, and 368,000 that mentioned Britney Spears.
So for years, Chambers had paid his bills working in tech support jobs for outfits such as AOL while he bounced around the western United States.
By March, he had dropped his last tech job and moved to Duffield because his brother and sister-in-law already lived there. And those small checks from The Examiner dribbled in.
Initially, those had amounted to little more than pocket change. But by the end of August a respectable amount was coming in — about $120 per day, paid monthly. That wasn’t steak and lobster, but it was a living. Still, after federal and state taxes, the self-employment tax, rent for his apartment and other expenses, there wasn’t a lot left over.
Then one day Chambers hit upon an idea: He’d “correct” all those polls that showed Mitt Romney, the presidential candidate he preferred, losing the race.
READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN HERE.