Monday, September 22, 2008

If You Need any Proof...

...that the new media--particularly the blogosphere--is doing the job of the MSM, look no further than today's edition of the Jawa Report. Rusty Shackleford of Jawa, with assistance from other bloggers, has uncovered strong evidence that a Democrat public relations firm, with extensive ties to the Obama campaign, was behind a recent smear video aimed at GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Is their case 100% conclusive? No, but there's more than enough circumstantial evidence to link the video to the p.r. outfit (Winner and Associates), and one Ethan Winner, a principal in the firm. The video included false allegations that Governor Palin was a member of a secessionist political party, and holds radical, anti-American views.

In a short post, I can't do justice to Jawa's account. Read the whole thing. If you don't have time right now, here's a bullet list of highlights, taken directly from the post:

  • Evidence suggests that a YouTube video with false claims about Palin was uploaded and promoted by members of a professional PR firm.
  • The family that runs the PR firm has extensive ties to the Democratic Party, the netroots, and are staunch Obama supporters.
  • Evidence suggests that the firm engaged in a concerted effort to distribute the video in such a way that it would appear to have gone viral on its own. Yet this effort took place on company time.
  • Evidence suggests that these distribution efforts included actions by at least one employee of the firm who is unconnected with the family running the company.
  • The voice-over artist used in this supposedly amateur video is a professional.
  • This same voice-over artist has worked extensively with David Axelrod's firm, which has a history of engaging in phony grassroots efforts, otherwise known as "astroturfing."
    David Axelrod is Barack Obama's chief media strategist.
  • The same voice-over artist has worked directly for the Barack Obama campaign.

Why does this matter? Beyond the clumsy attempt to "get" Sarah Palin, there's the issue of whether the video violated Federal Election Commission rules that require a disclaimer on "electioneering communications," even those not paid for by the candidates or their parties. A professionally-produced commercial, masquerading as an amateur You Tube video, and distributed by a p.r. firm employee--on company time--would constitute a potential violation.

One more thing: when Jawa's intial report hit the blogosphere late last night, it apparently touched off a panic among those responsible for the Palin video. Within an hour, the p.r. exec believed responsible for the smear had pulled the video and associated accounts from You Tube. But not before Jawa and other conservative bloggers backed up the video and all relevant websites. As Dr. Shackleford notes, you'd think an "amateur" would want more attention for his video, instead of pulling the product and attempting to cover his tracks.

We can only hope that Fox News and The Wall Street Journal decided to follow the trail, because the MSM won't touch this with a 10-foot pole, at least for now. But they may be compelled to cover the story, just as they did with RatherGate in 2004. This one has many of the same trappings; sensational, fabricated charges against a member of the Republican ticket, circulated in hopes of changing the outcome of a presidential election.

Unfortunately for the folks behind the video, their plans were derailed by citizen-journalists, performing the watch dog role that the MSM abandoned long ago.

1 comment:

tanyaa said...

Here are interesting comments that are appearing variously in the blogosphere about the iPhone 3G. If Apple or the carriers have some clarifications on any of these points, I will be glad to publish them.

* No video calling
* No AD2P on the Bluetooth
* Can’t share ANY (mp3, images,videos….) files via bluetooth
* Can’t use as a wireless modem, (you pay data charges to activate internet on your phone, but cannot connect it to your PC and browse when you are at home)
* No copy and paste, (cannot copy a part of a…. say…. email & send it….have to type it out yourself)
No 3.2 or 5 megapixel camera, (has a 2MP camera)
* No video recording with camera
* No front camera
Consumer Generated Media