Sunday, September 14, 2008

The campaign that cried smear

From a post at NRO by Guy Benson on the William Ayers / Stanley Kurtz / WGN debacle:

It didn't take long to discover that the Obama campaign—which had declined invitations to join the show for its duration to offer rebuttals to Kurtz's points—had sent an "Obama Action Wire" e-mail to its supporters, encouraging them to deluge the station with complaints.

Why? Because, naturally, Kurtz is a "right-wing hatchet man," a "smear merchant" and a "slimy character assassin" who is perpetrating one of the "most cynical and offensive smears ever launched against Barack."


Team Obama is fast becoming the campaign that cried "smear." They labeled the National Right to Life committee "liars" for providing evidence of some unpleasant facts about their candidate's record on a series of infanticide votes. This tendency to lash out and engage in baseless name-calling not only smacks of desperation; it also may foreshadow an Obama presidency's strategy in handling unfavorable media reports and sources.

For more information about Obama (incorrectly) labeling (slandering?) National Right to Life as liars, see here. I may come back to post about that whole thing later.

But, for now, here's some thoughts on the William Ayers / Stanley Kurtz / WGN debacle.

For those that are normal people (not political junkies) who don't know the back story, allow me to explain by quote Wikipedia:

During the 2008 election cycle, [Kurtz] has published several journalistic pieces detailing the relationships between Barack Obama and various Chicago church leaders such as ... radical Weather Underground Organization William Ayers. In August 2008 Kurtz attempted to obtain the University of Illinois at Chicago's Annenberg records detailing the professional relationship between Obama and Ayers. ... Kurtz's reporting became the subject of an "Obama Action Wire" issued by Barack Obama's campaign. This release, issued in advance of Kurtz's appearance on the popular Chicago radio show, "Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg," instructed Obama supporters to call WGN radio prior to his appearance and ask them not to allow Kurtz to on the air, and to call into the show "Us[ing] the talking points above" and "report back on your call". Zack Christenson, executive producer of "Extension 720 with Milt Rosenburg," told the Chicago Tribune that the Obama campaign was asked to have someone appear on the show, and declined the request

Let me boil that down. Kurtz did research about Obama's relationship with William Ayers. Kurtz was scheduled to share his research on a radio talk show, and despite being invited to appear on the show, Obama's response was to use his supporters to try to intimidate the radio station into not having Kurtz as a guest.

Right now there are a sizeable number on the left that are getting worked up over (non-verified) claims that Sarah Palin tried to get books banned. Allow me to submit that anyone who's getting worked up over that but isn't equally worked over Obama's actual and verifiable attempt to silence the speech of someone he disagrees with is a major hypocrite. And Obama's actions here should give everyone pause. This is how Obama deals with criticism and opposition - by trying to intimidate them into silence?

And this isn't the first time Obama has used intimidation tactics to try to silence people from speaking about his connections to Ayers. What follows below is, literally, the "ad Obama doesn't want you to see". How badly does he not want you to see it? Well, he's trying to pressure advertisers - and use the Justice Department - to block TV stations from airing it.

Also, please note that it this ad is not "slanderous", nor can you dismiss it by calling it false. Supporting references for each statement of the ad are shown as the ad goes along.

(Side note: I do continue to dislike negative ads and non-issues-based ads - of which this certainly is one, and I had some hesitation posting it here. But I dislike the fact that Obama's trying to bully people from being able to speak freely much much more. If Obama continues to intimidate people out of showing ads he disagrees with, I'll continue to show those ads here on my blog.)

Final thought: Silencing critics through intimidation = "change you can believe in"?

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