Monday, September 15, 2008

Smeared with the truth

Have to hat-tip the Standard for this one, since it was one of their posts that gave me the idea for it. Not that I'm endorsing their post, mind you - as a partisan site for Labour, there's (always) too much spin in their analysis for my liking. For example, they list mentioning Helen Clark having no children as "dirty"campaigning, because it's nothing to do with her policies or political persona; well, that played OK only until Clark made Bradford's s59 bill a govt one by whipping her MPs to vote in favour. As soon as she decided she had the right to arrange my childrearing habits, her total lack of experience in the field became relevant to the argument.

Anyway, that's a side issue. I read the post at the Standard and thought of the bleating taking place on right-wing blogs (eg, this one!) about the "smear" campaign against Sarah Palin, as compared to the supposed free ride Obama's had from the media. I think there's a useful example here of the difference between negative campaigning and smear campaigning.

Negative campaigning is a standard and legitimate aspect of electoral contests. Apart from highlighting your own good points, there's value in highlighting your opponent's bad points. Of course, the bad points you highlight ought to be either a legitimate matter of opinion, or things you can back up with evidence. If you stray beyond those limits, you're into smear campaigning.

So, let's have a look at the "smear" campaign currently running against Sarah Palin (the one supposedly being carried out by the biased, liberal media) and compare it to the one against Obama, which wasn't featured at all in the, clearly, blatantly biased liberal media.

Against Palin:
  • She's under investigation for trying to get a state trooper involved in a dispute with a member of her family sacked.
  • She lied when she said she told Congress "thanks, but no thanks" for funding for the "bridge to nowhere."
  • One of her first acts as mayor of Wasilla was to ask the Librarian the procedure for getting offensive books removed from the library.
  • She claimed per diem travel expenses for nights spent at home.
  • Far from being a fiscal conservative, she left Wasilla with large debts it didn't have when she took office.

Against Obama:
  • He's apparently a Muslim. (For those thinking "so what?", in Redneck-World this is right up there with "he's a pederast.")
  • He supposedly has a background as an extremist.
  • He may not even be American, as there's this bizarre story about his birth certificate being fake.

Indeed it's true, the media have run with all the Palin "smears," but none of the Obama ones. Confirmed, then? Unspeakable media bias? Er, no. Have a look through those lists. The Palin one consists of actual events of the kind you expect the media to take an interest in. The Obama one consists of some infantile rumours peddled by the loony fringe of American right-wing bloggers, with nothing in the way of evidence to back them up. It would be astounding if the media did pursue any of them, and it's astounding Palin is still a candidate after the list she's piled up.

How about feminists abusing Palin? Shouldn't they be giving credit to the Republicans for putting a woman on the ticket? Again, no - not really. Jessica Valenti explains why:

Never mind that Palin talks about her teen daughter's decision to keep her child while awaiting the chance to take that choice away from American women. Don't worry about how Palin cut funding for a transitional home for teenage mothers. And forget that, under Palin's mayoralty, women in Wasilla, Alaska, were forced to pay for their own rape kits to the tune of up to $1,200.

We're not supposed to care about these issues because - say Republicans - we should just be happy that there's a woman on the ticket. The McCain campaign is cynically trying to recreate the excitement that surrounded Hillary Clinton's candidacy, believing that all women want is ... another woman.

Ungrateful or what? But the killer punch comes further down:

...the same people who moaned that women - those darn feminists, especially - were only supporting Hillary because of her gender are now screaming to the rafters because they're not supporting Palin for the same reason. That's what makes Republicans pulling the feminist card that much more insulting - the stunning hypocrisy. The McCain touting himself as the person who will put a woman in the White House is the same man who joked that Chelsea Clinton is "so ugly" because "her father is Janet Reno".

Ouch. And you know what? Reading that crack about lezzos from McCain (and if you want to argue whether he actually made it, check the original 1998 story), who could not be put in mind of the constant shit sprayed by right-wingers about accused lezzos Clark and Simpson? Birds of a feather, alright.


Anonymous said...


Why is PM still allowed to post on this blog?

I mean, if it wasn't PM - if exactly the same words were signed by anyone else - I'd assume it was a giant pisstake

The facts of the matter are that the smears against Palin are false --- while the questions raised about Obama Hussein are quite simply valid and in most cases correct.

KG said...

I see you conveniently left out Obama's connections to (and the deals he's profited from) dodgy developers. His record of getting opponents in Chicago politics disqualified rather than running against them, The large number of muslim supporters who are contributing to his campaign from overseas (illegal), his connection to a racist preacher and "mentor" which he only disavowed after it became widely publicised etc etc.
There's plenty more.
So you quote a few of the more outlandish slurs against Obama and carefully cherry-pick a few things about Palin which may have some substance. (Although two of those have been adequately anwsered in any case)
This is a dishonest post PM.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Watching the left in action reminds me of my first week-end in Australia. One of the locals bought a slab of Emu Bitter and invited me over to 'watch the Dings.' He had a family of Italian migrants living behind his place and their various antics provided the afternoon's entertainment - for free.

Such is the left as it goes about that which it does best - losing unlosable elections.

Psycho Milt said...

Why is PM still allowed to post on this blog?

Because he's one of its owners.

The facts of the matter are that the smears against Palin are false...
There's no investigation, then? Who is that's subpoena'd Palin's husband to appear before it, in that case? The Anglican Synod, perhaps? If you're going to post lies on my comments thread, at least make them plausible lies.

KG: yes, I missed all of those ones. You do realise, the fact you regard these kind of rumours as ugly leftist smear tactics when they're used against Palin kind of reduces their efficacy against Obama?

As an example, "his connection to a racist preacher and "mentor" is basically a matter of opinion - it either bothers you or it doesn't. Just like Palin being a hick-town redneck with an oversupply of religious fervour either bothers you or it doesn't. It's a matter of personal opinion - "smear" tactics don't come into it.

Ackers said...

I'm assuming 'anonymous' is the same loser who continually posts ludicrous comments on here such as this gem

"This woman will be President of the US until 2020.

and I hope she fucking has the special forces come in to to NZ and wipe you out, your family, and every other unionist and lefty and labour and NZF party member."

WAKE UP said...

Ah Miltie, Miltie /'re the best kamikaze blogger I've ever seen :)

QUOTING YOU: "...they list mentioning Helen Clark having no children as "dirty" campaigning, because it's nothing to do with her policies or political persona anyway, that's a side issue."

To the contrary, it's EVERYTHING to do with both her persona and her policies; childless by choice, rumoured to be gay, and absolutely on record as being opposed to marriage - all attitudes that have negatively infected (a word I use deliberately) the entire social fabric of this country, through their pernicious effects on government behaviour and legislation. And it's not a side issue, it's absolutely the central underlying polemic of the coming election, which can be summarised thus: are we going to continue with a nanny state run by a barren, humourless auntie figure, or are we going to MAN UP?

Ed Snack said...

PM, there is the little point that the usual accusation with regard to the Library books isn't that Palin asked about how to ban books, she is accused of banning books, burning them, and trying to burn the librarian (joke). Very few people ever get pilloried for asking about it first.

In a different vein, the issue with the Trooper, he was accused of Tasering a 10 year old, a lot of people might have wanted to see him fired for that. The entire context is not quoted.

For Obama, the "community Trust" he is fond of mentioning as an example of his experience, it is not mentioned in the MSM exactly what ACORN is involved in, like voter enrollment fraud, and other light hearted exercises in democracy.

Face, we don't get an even handed approach, and this time around, despite the claims from the left, the Republicans are mostly on the receiving end of the "official" smears. Out in the blogosphere, its a free for all though.

kisekiman said...

Heather Simpson is not an accused lezzo, she is an open & self confessed one. No smear there PM. It's a fact.

KG said...

Err..except the ones I mentioned about Obama, that you failed to mention...aren't rumours PM.


I've just been up north for the day, so feel a little tired.
As on of our bloggers, PM is free to say what he wants, and I enjoy and welcome his contributions, even when he is wrong or I disagree with them.

I think PM has been reading too many leftist blogs for the dirt on Sarah Palin. There again, I read mny righty ones too.

The taser story has been well exposed now. I tihnk Ed Snack covered it all.

Anonymous said...

Clunking Fist said...

And the "fact" that Palin's daughter is the mother of Trig?

That amongst known and acknowledged mentors of Obama are communists? (Frank Marshall Davis before you ask for a citing).

You don't counter FFM's more blinkered posts by putting up rubbish of your own: 2 loads of rubbish just makes "loads" of rubbish...

Psycho Milt said...

Ed Snack: bloggers are carrying out ugly, lying smear campaigns against both candidates, sure. However, the issues I'm addressing in this post are:

1. Bloggers can hardly bleat about a smear campaign against Palin if they've been busy participating in one against Obama. Stands to reason, doesn't it?

2. Right-wingers have promoted the view that the smears against Obama have been carried only by bloggers, but the mainstream media have been active participants in smear campaigns against Palin. I've only seen the mainstream media actual stories about Palin, and pointed that out.

I stand by those views.