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NYT: ‘Obama Smears’ Circulated By Right

From the despicable New York Times:

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Obama’s Campaign Opens a New Web Site to Strike Back at ‘Dishonest Smears’

By JULIE BOSMAN and JOHN M. BRODER

June 13, 2008

KAUKAUNA, Wis. — Confronted with one of the trickiest problems in politics — when to ignore rumors and misrepresentations and when to risk giving them greater visibility by rebutting them — Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign began to push back aggressively on Thursday against what it said were unfounded and potentially damaging reports.

Mr. Obama’s campaign unveiled a new Web site on which it listed five sets of rumors about Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, along with responses intended to establish that they are baseless and false.

The Obama campaign encouraged supporters to read each rumor and the corresponding facts debunking it, and then to e-mail the entries to their entire address books.

By Thursday evening, more than 20,000 people had registered at the site, and more than 18,000 e-mail messages were sent, said a spokesman, Tommy Vietor.

The Obama campaign isn’t going to let dishonest smears spread across the Internet unanswered,” Mr. Vietor said in a statement. “Whenever challenged with these lies, we will aggressively push back with the truth and help our supporters debunk the false rumors floating around the Internet.”

Mr. Obama has been dogged by potent, fast-moving rumors about his religion, his birthplace and his patriotism, to name a few, for more than a year. More recently his campaign has confronted persistent but unsubstantiated reports about Mrs. Obama using angry and derogatory language about white people.

Until now, the Obama campaign has tried to confront Internet rumors with a more local, less visible approach, quietly encouraging supporters to forward misleading e-mail messages to their local field organizers, who in turn would notify the campaign’s research department. Then the research department would respond with a factual rebuttal, which would then be e-mailed back to every recipient of the original e-mail message.

While the campaign considered this tactic effective in the early primaries, especially in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses in January, the general election was seen as requiring a more robust response mechanism, so the campaign created the Fight The Smears Web site. Details of fightthesmears.com were first reported by Time magazine.

The campaign unveiled the new Web site amid indications the general election could be as much of a slash and burn affair as any of its recent predecessors, despite assertions from both Mr. Obama and his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, that they intend to elevate the political discourse.

On Wednesday, James A. Johnson, a longtime fixture in Democratic political and business circles, stepped down as the head of Mr. Obama’s vice-presidential search committee after Republicans used news reports about Mr. Johnson’s business dealings to suggest that he had ethical problems.

On Thursday, Mr. McCain, at a news conference, raised questions about another member of the search committee, Eric Holder, noting that he had played a role in President Bill Clinton’s last-minute pardon of the fugitive financier Marc Rich in 2001…

But the final straw for Mr. Obama, his aides said, was the story circulating on conservative blogs that a video existed showing Mrs. Obama making a racially tinged speech at their former church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

Mr. Obama was visibly irritated by the rumor when a reporter asked him about it last week.

“It is a destructive aspect of our politics right now,” Mr. Obama told reporters last week as he flew through Virginia. “And simply because something appears in an e-mail, that should lend it no more credence than if you heard it on the corner. And you know, presumably the job of the press is to not go around and spread scurrilous rumors like this until there’s actually anything, one iota of substance or evidence that would substantiate it.”

The Web site devotes its most prominent space on the home page to that rumor. “The Smear,” it begins. After describing the smear in a point-by-point fashion it concludes, “The Truth: No Such Tape Exists.”

How can you not hate the New York Times?

And, just in anyone still had any doubts that this was a setup from the git-go, this article together with the suddenly appearing Obama website should put your doubts to rest.

This was clearly a well thought out concentrated effort by the other side.

First we had the endless reports of the anonymous emails listing various claims about Obama. All of which are easily knocked down. And what a better source for strawmen then anonymous emails? Snopes and the rest of our watchdog media jumped right on the bogus claims. But somehow nobody ever investigated where these emails started.

Then began on various news forums the sudden and near endless spamming of more obvious and easily disproved disinformation. Such as the purported "quotes" from Mr. Obama’s autobiographies, which were either blatantly edited for the worse or simply made up out of whole cloth.

Most of these posts were from new posters, or ones who seldom posted before. And, in the telltale manner of trolls and disinformationalists, this was often the only thing the poster would post.

(Sadly, anyone with a copy of Obama’s books could have and should have corrected the claims post haste. As we did whenever possible. But this seldom happened elsewhere.)

Similarly, as we have oft mentioned, the "whitey" tape was begat and promulgated by the erstwhile Democrat spokesman Larry C. Johnson. (A man whom the DNC once picked to give their response to President Bush’s weekly radio address.)

The rumor was then embellished by websites that nobody had ever heard of before — or since. It was given further credence on TV by the uber sleazy Democrat hack Bob Beckel.

This rumor was also fanned by suspiciously new posters and some willing dupes at various online forums. And alas, too many conservative sites fell for these traps — but not nearly as many as the New York Times would have you believe.

But The Times lies.

For it also strongly implies that these rumors were not just circulated but also started by conservative blogs. It lies by omission when it does not deign to mention Larry Johnson or his anti-Republican political background.

The Times also lies by omission when it fails to correct some of the glaring mendacities on Mr. Obama’s new anti-smear site. Such as the claim that Rush Limbaugh said the "whitey tape" exists:

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Of course Mr. Limbaugh said no such thing.

Indeed, even the quote from the great man Mr. Obama himself, which is featured in the banner (click on the image at the top), is itself a lie:

"What you don’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge…"

As we have noted previously, Mr. Obama has been only too happy to use religion as a wedge.

From the great uniter’s address to the United Church of Christ’s 50th Anniversary General Synod in Hartford, CT, on June 23, 2007:

Barack Obama says Christian right has hijacked faith

"Somewhere along the way faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart… Faith got hijacked partly because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who’ve been all too eager to exploit what divides us. At every opportunity they’ve told Evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and Intelligent Design."

But the New York Times and the Obama campaign have about the same regard for the truth.

Which is to say none at all.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, June 15th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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