22 February 2007


We are nearly a year away from the first primaries of 2008 and already the slime machine is working overtime.

An early start is key to the slime game - the practice of shaping a negative image of an opposing candidate before they've had an opportunity to define themselves to voters.

Dan Hazen, the executive editor of AlterNet wrote a lenghty piece today, defining step-by-step how the slime machine works. (Below is a quote but take a few minutes to click the link above and read the entire commentary).

"Sliming" is the rabid, rapid, media barrage of persistently repeated lies and innuendo mastered by the right-wing media machine, which aims to tar candidates with negative associations before their campaigns get rolling. Or alternatively, to bruise them enough so that they will suffer under the burden of damaged goods as they try to gain footing. The conservative roots usually puts out a speculative story through Fox News or Matt Drudge (of the Drudge Report), a powerful mouthpiece for the Bush White House. Then the right-wing echo reverberates as the lies make their way to talk radio and the right-wing blogosphere. Eventually, it gets picked up and carried by the mainstream media, with few understanding where the story originated."

Barack Obama has been the first to spend serious time in the slime machine - drawing gobs of attention from the machine's largest cog - Fox News. (Check out this video highlight reel of the Fox slimers working overtime to discredit Obama).

Fox is owned Australian Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the New York Post. The Post has always been a rag, of course, but under Murdoch the paper has become more of a political Saturday night special than an information source.

This morning, the paper had a field day with yesterday's first major dust-up of the presidential political season, between Obama and Hillary Clinton.

It was clearly stupid for the two camps to become involved in an intramural battle, particularly this early. But the Post's description of the dispute over comments made by Obama backer David Geffen about the Clintons was more than a little over the top.

The paper said the two sides traded "furious insults" and that the race for the Democratic nomination "erupted in astonishing bitterness."

Astonishing bitterness? Overstating a bit are we? Why not sully two birds with one slimey shot?
And then there's this bit of cerebral political discourse.
I came home to an e-mail from James Carville, urging me to give money to help stop something called the StopHillaryPac. He said the people involved with the PAC are calling The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth the "real heroes" of the 2004 election and that people just like them were out to get Hillary.
I checked the site. And Carville is right.
"Those Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were the real heroes of the 2004 election. We at the StopHillaryPAC want to do the same thing to Hillary: take her record- ever since she became a radical, America-hating lawyer at Yale Law School in the 1970's all the way through her years in Arkansas and the White House and now as a Senator - and use it against her. We cannot make the mistake all other Republicans have made in the past when running against the Clintons: refusing to attack them and their out-of-touch-with-mainstream-America record. "
Are they kidding? The Clintons have gone scott-free all these years? The absurdity of the statement is mind boggling.
My hope in writing this blog is to add positively to the discourse as the '08 election approaches.
As a citizen I'm outraged at the way politics is done - how the PACs and the lobbyists control the message.
As someone who makes his living as a journalist, I'm outraged at the three main cable newsotainment networks and what they pass off as news and poltical discussion. And you can throw in the broadcast networks as well.
Fox is in business for one reason. To spread the word of the right-wing fringe. If I can contribute in any way to the understanding of that truth, than this blog will have served a purpose.
Additional info: Don't Believe the Right-Wing Media; Uncle Sam Wants You!

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