Thursday, June 12, 2008 Only Straw Man Obama Rumors Need Apply

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"What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon--that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first." ~ Barack Obmama, June 3, 2008"
--from the header at Obama's Fight the

ALSO at Obama Site Another Attempt to Limit Discussion

A round-up of predictable headlines from the (largely) usual WWW suspects.

* Ben Smith notes in "Fighting smears, gaming Google" an email by Wired's Thomas Goetz:
By putting their own website out there front-and-center, and then getting everybody to link to it (starting with all the media covering the launch of the site), the result will be to drive towards the top of a Google search on, say, "obama muslim" or "michelle obama whitey". Ideally, if enough of the pro-Obama network links to, it'll drive the sites that peddle in the rumor-mongering, which are now the first results on said searches, off the top of the results list. Ideal long term result: any curious low-information voter who eventually bothers to google these pesky rumors will immediately be led to the debunking rather than the rumor.

My take: Did the Obama campaign create to game Google? If so, they're even more net-savvy than folks give them credit for.

Excellent tech-savvy observation!

* The same Brave New Folks ask "Can Sunshine Help Obama Fight the Slime?" New Republic is certainly an expert on slime: it was the home Baghdad Diarist, Thomas Scott Beauchamp. TNR's Michelle Cottle gushes:
The fabulous Karen Tumulty has a piece up over at today (sorry, for some reason can't get our blog's link function to work; go to's home page and you'll see it) about Obama's rumor-fighting initiative, a web site called that seeks to confront head on all those nasty flasehoods being whispered--and emailed--about him and his family. In addition to debunking the more pernicious tales, the site asks Obama supporters to, with a click of a button, "Spread the Word" about the truth (or, rather, the lack thereof) behind such rumors.

Too bad about that link function.

* MSNBC chips in with "OBAMA CAMP TRIES TO 'FIGHT THE SMEARS'", where NBC/NJ's Athena Jones also does her bit to add to the Obama fluffery.
Obama's campaign has mastered the use of the Internet for fundraising. His backers have used viral videos like the "Yes we can" mash-up and the 'Empire Strikes Barack'-style videos to rev up supporters. But there have also been instances where the Web has hurt Obama, like the Rev. Wright playing on a loop on YouTube. There have also been numerous emails about Obama being a Muslim and a man who refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance and most recently messages accusing his wife Michelle of uttering a racial epithet at Obama's former church. (The first two are demonstrably untrue, and Michelle has denied the latter and Obama himself has challenged anyone with video of his wife making the remarks to produce it.)

Rather, Obama is challenging anyone to produce a video he first said doesn't exist.

And Time is commenting on its own story, with "TIME: Obama Fights the Smears".
The Illinois Senator launches a “Web-based rumor clearinghouse” to counter the online rumors about his faith, family and connections with controversial figures.

Obama adviser Anita Dunn: “We will not allow Michelle—or, for that matter, Barack—to be defined by rumors.”

Does this mean that anything Obama doesn't want discussed will end up on

Or do only straw man rumors need apply?

by Mondoreb

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