We’ve been watching this happen for years now: Some juicy bit of disinformation appears on a far-right blog or forum, and within hours it goes up the rightie media infrastructure food chain — to NewsMax to Drudge to Limbaugh to the Washington Times to Bill O’Reilly — and then corporate media reports that “a story is circulating about. …”
And, IMO, many of these juicy bits are planted originally by highly placed political operatives who also make sure the other links in the chain are tipped off.
Dave Johnson provides a current example (emphasis added):
“Someone” posted an anti-semitic comment at the Obama blog. (See if you can guess who posted a comment that a right-wing blog knew about a few minutes later.) A few minutes later the hate site Little Green Footballs wrote a post saying that the Obama blog says so-and-so. (If you don’t know about this site, spend a few minutes there and you’ll get the picture. No, it is not a parody of right-wing nuttiness.) Then dozens of far-right-wing sites quickly echoed the “story.” It rapidly turns into a great big right-wing hissy fit.
Soon the right’s Politico has picked it up. (Which shows they’re spending time reading hate sites.) And then Rush Limbaugh talked about it on his show.
You see, someone (guess who) leaving a comment at the Obama site proves that Obama is anti-semitic. You’ll be hearing about it from every direction very soon.
Obviously, it’s enormously unlikely LGF would have known about and blogged about the anti-semitic post “a few minutes later” unless someone involved in the origination of the post tipped them off.
The Right did a hell of a job with this during the 2004 “swift boating” of John Kerry. It’s the easiest thing in the world to pull a crazy allegation out of thin air and then float it around as if it were legitimate inquiry. You’ll remember this classic confrontation between Chris Matthews and Michelle Malkin:
Ah, I never get tired of that. Anyway — Questions are being asked whether John Kerry shot himself to get a purple heart. We don’t need evidence or anything approaching a factual basis for those questions. Somebody makes up some questions, and away we go. Questions are being asked whether Michelle Malkin worships the Devil. Questions are being asked if Michelle Malkin tortures puppies. Hey, I’d like to know.
Now Michelle Malkin is asking questions about Barack Obama.
We tried to obtain a copy of Obama’s birth certificate, but his campaign would not release it and the state of Hawaii does not make such records public.
Has anyone seen it? Why shouldn’t the record be in the public domain for presidential candidates?
Geraghty walks through various rumors now circulating in the wake of the Obama campaign’s birth certificate blackout, including this one:
Rumor Three: His mother did not want to name him after his father, and his birth certificate says “Barry.” Perhaps the most plausible of the rumors, as Obama was known by that name through much of his childhood and young adulthood. If true, this would spur a new round of “When Barry Became Barack” stories – a minor headache for the campaign, but hardly a major scandal.
Other rumors are that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii; his middle name is really “Muhammad,” not “Hussein”; his parents weren’t really married.
One might argue the Obama campaign ought to just release the mystery birth certificate to put the rumors to rest. But you know that would just set off a new round of rumors. Some rightie blogger would question the authenticity of the birth certificate, and that very evening Sean Hannity would look into a Faux Nooz camera and intone, why did Barack Obama release a forged birth certificate? Questions are being asked, after all.
The hunger of the right-wing rumor beast can never be satisfied. However, I do strongly suggest the Obama campaign hire some hall monitors for their campaign web sites — no more unfiltered public comments allowed. Obama supporters will understand.
Regarding the Barry/Barack question, you might ask why that’s a question. I don’t know, but then — I’m not insane. Apparently Obama’s given name is Barack, and as a child people called him “Barry,” but as he approached adulthood he decided he’d rather be called “Barack.” No rational person could read anything sinister in that. Little Jimmies and Bobbies do have a way of becoming Jims and Bobs when they grow up, and Jameses and Robertses if they become important.
But we’re talking about wingnuts, so … never mind. Questions are being asked about why Obama changed his name. There must be some double super secret darkest Africa gang-related terrorist fist-jab reason.
Update: BTW, I won’t be letting the wingnuts hijack the site today. If you are a right-wing troll, don’t hold your breath waiting for your comment to be posted. No, wait … do hold your breath. Please.