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.
- 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.
- 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.