Team Obama’s character assassination to combat supposed character assassination

posted at 10:40 am on August 28, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

“Slimy.”  “Smear merchant.”  “Character assassin.”  This kind of name-calling tends to undermine an argument against character assassination, especially when the argument comes with no supporting evidence at all.  Yet the Barack Obama campaign feels comfortable with this kind of ad hominem attack on Stanley Kurtz as a means to get him silenced:

The campaign e-mailed Chicago supporters who had signed up for the Obama Action Wire with detailed instructions including the station’s telephone number and the show’s extension, as well as a research file on Kurtz, which seems to prove that he’s a conservative, which isn’t in dispute. The file cites a couple of his more controversial pieces, notably his much-maligned claim that same-sex unions have undermined marriage in Scandinavia.

“Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse,” says the email, which picks up a form of pressure on the press pioneered by conservative talk radio hosts and activists in the 1990s, and since adopted by Media Matters and other liberal groups.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves. At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz’s lies,” it continues.

So let’s get this straight.  Team Obama calls Kurtz all of these names, and it’s Kurtz who’s the character assassin?  For the second straight time on this topic, Team Obama has delivered a hysterical, shrieking offensive on a topic they’d be better off ignoring.  Earlier this week, they demanded a criminal prosecution against a critic of The One for pointing out his association with unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers.  Now they’ve attacked Kurtz through an organized campaign of character assassination.

Team Obama has become so overwrought at the mere thought of criticism that they now overreact on a constant basis.  It’s a measure of the fear in the campaign that they have decided that they cannot abide any criticism at all, and instead of simply responding to it, they attempt to silence it instead.  Worse, they seem to believe that the Department of Justice is a great tool for oppressing such criticism — while Democrats accuse the Bush administration of the same, which much less evidence for their allegations.

And in this case, what has Kurtz done?  He has demanded access to records that should have been public all along to investigate the workings of a program funded at least in part by public funds.  Kurtz wanted to check the records on Obama’s denials of a close working relationship with Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers.  In other words, Kurtz attempted to commit the crime of journalism, a crime that seems rare enough as it is when it comes to Obama and his past.

Maybe other journalists should take heed.  If Obama becomes president and they commit the crime of Journalism in the First Degree, how will these same people react with the full weight of the federal government behind them?   If they stoop to character assassination now, what will they do when they have much more powerful tools at their disposal?

Update: As Ed Driscoll notes, Team Obama calls Kurtz a lot of names, while he has defended Ayers as “mainstream” on his website and in comments.  Which deserves more calumny — a reporter or a terrorist?

Update II: Michelle has a good round-up and adds her own thoughts to the hypocrisy of this pre-emptive attack on Kurtz.

Update III: Andrew Malcolm calls this “surprising” at the LA Times, and the Tribune’s Washington bureau has begun reporting on it, too.

Update IV: My friend Guy Benson was on hand to witness what happened:

The experience was surreal, amusing, and chilling. In a matter of hours, a major national campaign had called on its legions to bully a radio show out of airing an interview with a legitimate scholar asking legitimate political questions. Coupled with the Obama campaign’s recent attempts to sic the DOJ on the creators of a truthful political advertisement —which also happened to feature Obama’s relationship with an unrepentant terrorist— last night’s call to action represents an emerging pattern. Any criticism of Obama’s unknown past is to be immediately denounced as a “smear,” and the messenger is to be shut down at all costs. …

Team Obama is fast becoming the campaign that cried “smear.” They labeled the National Right to Life committee “liars” for providing evidence of some unpleasant facts about their candidate’s record on a series of infanticide votes. This tendency to lash out and engage in baseless name-calling not only smacks of desperation; it also may foreshadow an Obama presidency’s strategy in handling unfavorable media reports and sources.

In other words, they’re becoming whiny wimps.  Just what we need in a President.


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Comment pages: 1 2

looks like someone hit a nerve. pathetic obama.

elduende on August 28, 2008 at 10:44 AM

What a great, great post, Ed.

RushBaby on August 28, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Ugh.

tigerinexile on August 28, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Is the Mob running Obama’s campaign?

Elizabetty on August 28, 2008 at 10:45 AM

you know the problem is if he has to disavow another radical associate at this late date it brings up all sorts of doubts about whom else he has in his closets…

elduende on August 28, 2008 at 10:46 AM

Listen to the WGN podcast – the last half-hour or so is full of shrieking Obama defenders shocked at the lack of ‘balance’ because nobody from the Obama camp was on the broadcast.

Except WGN called Obama campaign HQ and they refused to send anyone to the program.

Paradol Ex on August 28, 2008 at 10:46 AM

Now that it’s official, and too late to change, the Ayers and Rezko connections need to be hit, hit hard, and hit repeatedly.

Of course, I’m just a bitter, clingy, gun-totin’ redneck racist, I guess.

JamesLee on August 28, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Is the Mob running Obama’s campaign?

Elizabetty on August 28, 2008 at 10:45 AM

bingo! wouldn’t surprise me a bit, the chicago outfit has always been hand in glove with the democratic power structure…the unions, courts, aldermen, etc.

right4life on August 28, 2008 at 10:48 AM

One of the positive results of this election will be meaninglessness of being a called a racist. Every little criticism or commentary is labeled racist. His lost will be labeled racist. It will be racist this and racist that. In the end, the accusation will not label the accused but the accuser as a hypersensitive twit.

oldvannes on August 28, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Obama gets scarier and scarier everyday.

Dariaanne on August 28, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Woah. This comes out of the communist handbook on how to suppress voices of descent.
Fidel had the same tactic in Cuba as well as Chavez and Mao.

jencab on August 28, 2008 at 10:49 AM

This is the “Fairness Doctrine” according to Obama.

I mean if someone could so restrict the 2nd Amendment as to make it meaningless in vast stretches of the country, why wouldn’t they also push “common sense” restrictions on the 1st or any other Amendment.

Keith_Indy on August 28, 2008 at 10:51 AM

To respond to the question “Is the Mob running Obama’s campaign?”: No, the Mob isn’t running it – the party of “Free Speech” is running Obama’s campaign.

JDice on August 28, 2008 at 10:51 AM

How many liberal Supreme Court appointments are needed to create Canadian-style Human Rights Commissions in the US?

Loxodonta on August 28, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Elizabetty on August 28, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Is the Mob running Obama’s campaign?

Nope. The mob had more honor than this.

ynot4tony2 on August 28, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Chicago politics, on a National scale…

Wonder who my ward boss is here in Colorado?

Romeo13 on August 28, 2008 at 10:53 AM

ThugLife.

Akzed on August 28, 2008 at 10:54 AM

That’s why we have the Second Amendment.

TexasJew on August 28, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Great post Ed! This behavior is typical of the way Liberals view the world; our way is the only way, if you don’t see things our way, we will shut you down my any means possible.

Freedom of Speech is already under attack by the left in this country. Obama’s behavior is typical of a leftist.

Keemo on August 28, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Is the Mob running Obama’s campaign?

Elizabetty on August 28, 2008 at 10:45 AM

He is a Chicago machine politician…right?

Seriously though, between wanting to remove oversight of the teamsters and being against the secret ballot for union “elections” there isn’t much question who organized crime will be supporting this year…

18-1 on August 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

If you crawled out of a political sewer like Obama has you would not welcome anyone that tried to document your past associations either.

Call him un- electable…..

DeweyWins on August 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Let’s not act like the GOP doesn’t do the same thing.

I remember getting an email telling me to ask the Federal Government to investigate the dealings of Stryker Corporation because the son of its founder was financing leftist political activities.

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

So Team D’oh!bama is trying the same tatics as radical muslims (at least as far as responding to criticism).

Yeah, that should make people like them more.

KCSteve on August 28, 2008 at 10:56 AM

*newbie alert, first post*

The campaign slogan of the Obama campaign:

What is good for me is not good for thee.

SuzEQCitizen on August 28, 2008 at 10:56 AM

when do we have to put big “C” or “R” on the front of our homes?

trailortrash on August 28, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Well said, Ed.

I believe the only way we can end the threats Obama poses to this country — inexperience, incompetence and Stalinist oppression of questioning/dissent — is to crush him totally at the ballot box.

Anything less, and the reprehensible sliminess of would-be totalitarianism might survive.

Obama is enough to make anyone believe in conspiracy theories. He must be removed, peacefully and democratically, along with his fellow travelers and sycophants.

MrScribbler on August 28, 2008 at 10:57 AM

I am appalled at the thuggery…so much for the new politics.

HawaiiLwyr on August 28, 2008 at 10:57 AM

And what they’re doing is not a violation of our U.S. Constitutional right to free speach. That only covers restrictions imposed by the government.

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 10:58 AM

jencab on August 28, 2008 at 10:49 AM

I had the exact same thought. I wonder when they will start burning books?

Great post!

becki51758 on August 28, 2008 at 10:58 AM

My only question is, how much of the Annenberg records have been altered or destroyed since Kurtz first made his request to examine them? My guess is that if the Obama people allow Kurtz to see the documents, it means the damaging ones (or at least, the most juicy ones that they could remember–there’s a TON of docs) HAVE been altered or destroyed.

It really makes you wonder. The volokh.com resident Democrat (Jim Lindgren) had a post where he claimed the Annenberg thing is much ado about nothing, but the ferocity of Obama’s reaction suggests to the contrary.

Outlander on August 28, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Let’s not act like the GOP doesn’t do the same thing.

I remember getting an email telling me to ask the Federal Government to investigate the dealings of Stryker Corporation because the son of its founder was financing leftist political activities.

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

That’s not even close to being the same thing.

Captain Hate on August 28, 2008 at 10:59 AM

What’s hilarious is that these people think they are only imitating us on “the right” who they believe have won all these elections because we have intimidated and shut down dissent.

What’s also high on the unintentional comedy scale if you look at the Obama email is that the first thing they throw at Stanley Kurtz to attempt to deligitimize him is that he served on some board with Bill Kristol. So….it’s a problem when a conservative journalist serves on a board with another conservative journalist — but it’s NOT a problem when Barack Obama serves on two boards with an unrepentant terrorist! ooookay.

rockmom on August 28, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Let’s not act like the GOP doesn’t do the same thing.

I remember getting an email telling me to ask the Federal Government to investigate the dealings of Stryker Corporation because the son of its founder was financing leftist political activities.

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Was that directly from the GOP? I never got that email, and this one was directly from Obama’s campaign.
No comparison at all. Try again…

TexasJew on August 28, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Maybe other journalists should take heed. If Obama becomes president and they commit the crime of Journalism in the First Degree, how will these same people react with the full weight of the federal government behind them? If they stoop to character assassination now, what will they do when they have much more powerful tools at their disposal?

Let this guy get elected, and this site will be among those on the target list.

Vashta.Nerada on August 28, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Ed

copy edit fix:

…which much less evidence for their allegations.

should be:

which with much less evidence for their allegations.

iconoclast on August 28, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Here’s a great round-up and comments section from a left leaning site that’s pissed off by Obama’s tactics.

BadgerHawk on August 28, 2008 at 11:01 AM

A perfect tu quoque (I’ve been wanting to use that word since I read it yesterday).

lionheart on August 28, 2008 at 11:01 AM

B.S. Captain Hate. You are a LIAR.

Read one paragraph in the article again (hint: the important words are capitalized): Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse,” says the email, WHICH PICKS UP A FORM OF PRESSURE ON THE PRESS PIONEERED BY CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOSTS AND ACTIVISTS IN THE 1990s, and since adopted by Media Matters and other liberal groups

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Next thing you know, they’ll be taking our lunch money.

Mr_Magoo on August 28, 2008 at 11:02 AM

TexasJew, it was from the Michigan GOP.

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 11:03 AM

How can his character be assassinated, he doesn’t have any. Proves it every day.

Tommy_G on August 28, 2008 at 11:03 AM

These actions are pretty significant and unprecedented. Why is the MSM not even touching upon this? (yes, this is a rhetorical question)

davenp35 on August 28, 2008 at 11:03 AM

As usual, the attempt to cover up draws the attention.

Mark Groves on August 28, 2008 at 11:04 AM

BO strategists must be what, 14 years old? A campaign has three choices: get out in front of the story truth, counter with evidence contrary, or slam the source. BO’s people chose the latter. What a messed up, egotistical, non-entity!

Oh, but he is a rock star!

jbh45 on August 28, 2008 at 11:04 AM

Evidently the Obama team is engaging in character suicide.

Paging Dr. Kevorkian...

Gilda on August 28, 2008 at 11:04 AM

I would very much like to remind the B.O. Campaign, especially Chicago Democratic Machine Maestro David Alexrod, that there is something in this country called Freedom Of Speech.

If Truther Loon Deluxe Alex Jones can stand out in front of the Denver Mint and shout his fat mouth off on how 9-11 was an inside job, and no one so much as says a peep to stop him, then someone like Stanley Kurtz can get on WGN Radio and say whatever he wants to say about B.O.

I think the problem B.O. is having here is unlike Alex Jones, Stanley Kurtz has hard evidence to back up what he was to say.

All Jones has are words.

Just words.

pilamaye on August 28, 2008 at 11:05 AM

18-1 on August 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

I like the name. Are you a Giants fan, Patriots fan, or just an everyday Patriots hater?

BadgerHawk on August 28, 2008 at 11:07 AM

Me thinks you protest too much…..

SDarchitect on August 28, 2008 at 11:08 AM

I don’t see that there is anything wrong with orchestrating a call-in campaign against someone on the radio who’s views are radically different than your own. I am pretty sure that KSFO has done the same thing in the past. What is OBVIOUSLY wrong is to try to stifle someone’s speech. The “Drown them out” philosophy seems to be working. The left doesn’t want any speech not liberal, and blames the right for their actions. Maybe call it a filibuster from the left?

TimothyJ on August 28, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Outlander

Since this is the party of Sandy Berger,, it is a pretty good working assumption that the records have been tampered with.

The problem is that it isn’t enough to delete the records. They also have to clean up the indexs as well. And redact all references to the missing records. An impossible task. Better to threaten the journalist and the political groups with (1) current prosecution through lawfare, and (2) the subtle message that–if Obama were to win the election–these people and groups will become targets of a totally politicized DoJ.

These fascists in the Democrat party have already seriously discussed the likelihood of conducting criminal investigations of the outgoing administration for the “crimes” of Iraq. They already believe–absent any proof to the contrary other than their fervent desire for it to be so–that the current DoJ conducts political prosecutions and harassment. So the justification, dishonest though it is, is already out there.

iconoclast on August 28, 2008 at 11:08 AM

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

When did someone from the Stryker corporation run for POTUS.

swami on August 28, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Did anything new come out in Kurtz’s interview last night? Has he found any good stuff in the document dump they did earlier this week?

Dudley Smith on August 28, 2008 at 11:09 AM

What’s hilarious is that these people think they are only imitating us on “the right” who they believe have won all these elections because we have intimidated and shut down dissent.
rockmom on August 28, 2008 at 10:59 AM

I think that was always the point. No sane person believes that Bush “stole” the 2000 election, let alone the 2004 one. But it becomes a good cloak to argue everyone does it when members of the left get caught.

The fact that the left has an established record of doing this sort of thing since at least 1960 doesn’t seem to matter though…

18-1 on August 28, 2008 at 11:10 AM

There’s a difference between calling and engaging in reasonable discussion, providing evidence to refute the opposing argument and shouting over someone so he isn’t heard or insisting he be silenced.

Disturb the Universe on August 28, 2008 at 11:11 AM

That’s why we have the Second Amendment.

TexasJew on August 28, 2008 at 10:54 AM

For now.

MarkTheGreat on August 28, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Liberals are all for free speech as long as the content is something they agree with.

TooTall on August 28, 2008 at 11:12 AM

It’s about time people started talking about these brown shirt tactics! This is the kind of behavior you get from the cook fringe of the far left. They can’t tolerate factual criticism of their overlord, so they are forced to make threats, namecall and attempt to prosecute their political opponents into silence. Obama ’84!

BackSeatDriver on August 28, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Of course, I’m just a bitter, clingy, gun-totin’ redneck racist, I guess.

JamesLee on August 28, 2008 at 10:47 AM

No need to guess. That’s exactly what you are. But, just keep on clinging, and keep on totin’. There may come the day when us armed rednecks are called upon for a redo of the “tea party”. Or would that now be a latte party?

What do you end up with when the conservatives have all the values, all the guns and all the guts to fight back, while the liberals have … ?

Yoop on August 28, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Freedom of Speech is already under attack by the left in this country everywhere.

Fixed it for you.

MarkTheGreat on August 28, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Camp Obama wails:

“It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves. At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz’s lies,” it continues.

But according to the LA Times blog, they were invited and refused!:

Christenson also stressed that the Obama campaign was invited to send a representative to appear on the show to balance the discussion of the newly-opened documents. But the campaign headquarters just down Michigan Avenue from the station refused the request. This is not the first time Obama’s organization has sought to steer supporters to influence a broadcast outlet airing criticism.

And from the Politico story:

The campaign mentions, and objects to, one specific claim of Kurtz’s, for which I’ve never seen hard evidence:

Just last night on Fox News, Kurtz drastically exaggerated Barack’s connection with Ayers by claiming Ayers had recruited Barack to the board of the Annenberg Challenge. That is completely false and has been disproved in numerous press accounts.

Okay Barry, if Bill Ayers didn’t recruit you, then who did? Tom Ayers? Out with it man!

Buy Danish on August 28, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Obama thinks he’s being smart by being so defensive but he’s actually re-creating and reminding America of Kerry campaign’s psychotic overreaction.

With him being so unknown it will just increase people’s desire to know what the story is that struck such a raw nerve. Why is he so proud of the ex-terrorist friend, yet hates journalists who tell the story of their relationship? Maybe it’s worse than just the terrorism and involves corruption, etc.

And note the weird Freudian angle here. Thanks to Obama’s campaign strategy here, Obama+Sinclair Google searches will trend up to try to look into this mystery.

This campaign is imploding fast.

econavenger on August 28, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Goebbels would be very proud of the attempts to shut down any disagreement or statement of fact.

Ray-500 on August 28, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Stanley must be real close to pay dirt. I have often wondered where $150 million went.

tarpon on August 28, 2008 at 11:16 AM

I have to think if 0bama had a story to tell, he’d have had a flunky there to tell it. For pete’s sake, he’s got 300 advisors for foreign policy alone, surely the campaign could cough up someone to tell Stanley why he’s wrong. But no, they just sic the minions on the station, instructing them to complain that Kurtz even got air time.

I’m sure that’s going to make Rosenberg much more sympathetic to the 0&Joe road show. Just like that ABC producer – once his larynx recovers, I’m sure he’ll be singing the DNC’s praises, too.

Quisp on August 28, 2008 at 11:17 AM

“Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse,”

How contemptible and predictable to characterize someone doing legitimate opposition research to being a smear merchant. And to make the claim that this form of pressure to silence critics (instead of rebut them) was supposedly pioneered by talk shows is just my point: no matter how slimy and evil the Dem’s strategies become, it is all ok because the Right did it first. A dishonest form of moral equivalence for which the Left is justly famous.

And somehow this moral equivalence excuses a Presidential candidate’s campaign as it attempts to subvert the law and free speech to silence not even critics but investigative journalists like Kurtz! Nice example of the kind of administration you would create, Obama!

iconoclast on August 28, 2008 at 11:17 AM

Woah. This comes out of the communist handbook on how to suppress voices of descent.
Fidel had the same tactic in Cuba as well as Chavez and Mao.

jencab on August 28, 2008 at 10:49 AM

I wouldn’t go that far. I thought it looked like what you do when you know someone’s about to drop a bunch of negative press about you. A pre-emptive “smear-the-messenger”, so to speak.

LastRick on August 28, 2008 at 11:17 AM

WHICH PICKS UP A FORM OF PRESSURE ON THE PRESS PIONEERED BY CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOSTS AND ACTIVISTS IN THE 1990s

jim m, so you are saying that talk radio hosts and activists are part of the republican campaigns?

MarkTheGreat on August 28, 2008 at 11:17 AM

Here you go curious America. Find out why we’re upset with the evil Sinclair Communications just like John Kerry was:

http://www.google.com/search?q=obama+sinclair

econavenger on August 28, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Can you say “projection”? Yes, I knew you could.

JimK on August 28, 2008 at 11:19 AM

Did anything new come out in Kurtz’s interview last night? Has he found any good stuff in the document dump they did earlier this week?

Dudley Smith on August 28, 2008 at 11:09 AM

They have found that Obama and Ayers attended many meetings together and exchanged e-mails.

Which makes Obama’s claim that they had little contact, let’s say questionable.

MarkTheGreat on August 28, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Good thing for us he’ll be uniting the country tonight.

JammieWearingFool on August 28, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Obama gets scarier and scarier everyday.

Dariaanne on August 28, 2008 at 10:49 AM

If you think it’s scary now just wait until after he wins. I hate to say it but I’m glad the liberals have had their dreams come true with the election of an African American because I can’t wait to see their reactions when the nightmare starts. That is if we get to see it which I highly doubt after the Internet and media is nationalized for the good of the people. Last night was puke time as I scanned the channels and looked at some of the unbiased media with tears running down their face proclaiming how wonderful it is that an African American has been nominated. It was rather disgusting seeing everyone near orgasmic has they pretty much proclaimed in one voice how truly fantastic it was to be part of the party that nominated an African American. As one talking head put it, it’s emotionally overwhelming to be part of history that future generations will celebrate because the dream of an African American president has come true. As another put it, the place became brighter as all the people around the world unified due to an African American being nominated. It’s not about BO, his lack of experience or his ability to get the job done. It is all about him being African American and a very, very safe one at that. We’ve had African Americans run for president many times in the past but in every case they have been tainted, very well known activists with a long history to make them unattractive. BO on the other hand is so very, very safe because he has no history, no accomplishments and therefore he represents not a person that may muck up the works but a empty symbol that is harmless but offers the greatest thing liberals long for and that is proof that they are good and righteous because they have nominated an African American.

jmarcure on August 28, 2008 at 11:22 AM

cook fringe

did you mean kook fringe, or crook fringe.

Though when talking about Democrats, it’s possible you meant both.

MarkTheGreat on August 28, 2008 at 11:22 AM

“slimy smear merchant” “character assassin”

“Ken Starr”

OH NO THEY DI’N’T!

fossten on August 28, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Funny that they didn’t have any problem with WGN giving air time to the filthy douchebag from Rage Against the Machine who called for President Bush to be shot.

But apparently journalist Stanley Kurtz is a full category beneath “tattoed punks who call for political assassinations”.

Jaibones on August 28, 2008 at 11:23 AM

B.S. Captain Hate. You are a LIAR.

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Once again; typical leftist behavior. Jim m, you are pathetic.

Keemo on August 28, 2008 at 11:24 AM

How contemptible and predictable to characterize someone doing legitimate opposition research to being a smear merchant.

iconoclast on August 28, 2008 at 11:17 AM

It is contemptible, but keep in mind that Stanley Kurtz is not just some “oppo research” guy. He has been writing for years about education issues and has written detailed expose’s on Ayer’s Maoist ideas are on education, ideas which presumably Obama has at least some affinity for (or why else would he serve on the Annenberg Challenge with him)?

I’ll be back shortly with some of Kurtz’ pieces, and IIRC, they preceded Barry’s entrance on the national stage as a presidential candidate.

Buy Danish on August 28, 2008 at 11:25 AM

jim m, so you are saying that talk radio hosts and activists are part of the republican campaigns?

MarkTheGreat on August 28, 2008 at 11:17 AM

Rush Limbaugh is a private citizen, unlike Obama.
Preventing private individuals from stating their views is unconstitutional, or at least it is right now…

TexasJew on August 28, 2008 at 11:27 AM

B.S. Captain Hate. You are a LIAR

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 11:02 AM

If you were interested in making a valid point, you would’ve called me “mistaken” instead of “a LIAR”. I’m not interested in name-callers who sound like they’re wound too tight.

Captain Hate on August 28, 2008 at 11:28 AM

A bit off topic…

But I watched Bill C.s speech yesterday, and it WAS a good speech…

BUT, its tailor made for an advert with Bill’s own prior words juxtaposed with the speech, to make the “politics” makes strange bedfellows arguement…

They could, with ONE ad, totally make that speech worthless just by quoting Bill before, and after…

Romeo13 on August 28, 2008 at 11:29 AM

Ed, you failed to quote the line of the email that explains why the journalist, rather than the ‘professor,’ deserves to be calumniated:

“Tonight, WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears.”

So you see, Ayres is “mainstream,” but Kurtz is a “terrorist” or at least using “terrorist” tactics. Ergo, in smearing Kurtz, the Obama campaign really is denouncing terrorism.

msyb on August 28, 2008 at 11:29 AM

Let’s not act like the GOP doesn’t do the same thing.

I remember getting an email telling me to ask the Federal Government to investigate the dealings of Stryker Corporation because the son of its founder was financing leftist political activities.

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

No comparison. All kinds of groups ask for investigations into what they consider wrong-doing. But this was an attempt to stop someone’s exercise of their right to free speech. And if you don’t believe that you need to listen to the broadcast.

I did, and the show could not handle all the calls and emails, all using the Obama “talking points.”

What was frightening was the fact that even the more rational sounding callers really are Kool-aid drinkers. They couldn’t, and wouldn’t, understand why this was important and why it had anything to do with Obama. They all perceived it as a smear. They reminded me of the Jonestown villagers, and I do not exaggerate.

Did anything new come out in Kurtz’s interview last night? Has he found any good stuff in the document dump they did earlier this week?

Dudley Smith on August 28, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Yes, There were shown to be many meetings attended by both Ayers and Obama(so much for “a guy in my neighborhood), among other things. And that Ayers was listed as an Ex Officio member of the board and sat in on meetings.

I suggest you all listen to the podcast and recommend it to everyone you know.

Deanna on August 28, 2008 at 11:32 AM

I had to laugh reading this on the Obama website link asking for a report on their soldiers’ calls to the radio station:

http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/WGNstandards

“Tips for making your call:

* Be honest, but be civil.
* Be persistent. It may take a few attempts to get through to the show. Just keep trying. Your call is important.
* Use the talking points above to help you speak confidently and concisely.”

Be civil? This from an email screeching that “WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears.” What a bunch of hypocritical, unhinged a-holes.

Django on August 28, 2008 at 11:36 AM

If people don’t start paying much closer attention to WHO this guy is and WHAT he represents, a pitchfork revolution may be in the future…. I fear for our Constitution, our Liberty, and our Freedom. It’s becoming more and more apparent that the underlying theme is to REPLACE or ELIMINATE everything we have under the guise of “change & hope”, manage all aspects of our daily lives, and in some cases collaborate with external forces to give up our sovereignty.

HomeoftheBrave on August 28, 2008 at 11:38 AM

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Links? Copy of the email?

Sorry, kid, you’re going to do better than offering some half-baked anecdotal evidence to try to change the subject.

Still, even based on what you stated (taking into account your limited ability to communicate effectively), I fail to see any similarities to the topic here.

Go back under your bridge.

reaganaut on August 28, 2008 at 11:38 AM

In other words, they’re becoming whiny wimps. Just what we need in a President.

No, just par for the course for leftists. Wasn’t China doing the same thing during the Olympics?

Rick on August 28, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Thou shalt not take the name of Big Brother in vain.

Steve Z on August 28, 2008 at 11:42 AM

…WHICH PICKS UP A FORM OF PRESSURE ON THE PRESS PIONEERED BY CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOSTS AND ACTIVISTS IN THE 1990s, and since adopted by Media Matters and other liberal groups

jim m on August 28, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Why do I think jim m just might be a liberal Dem?

- His response to a simple disagreement from someone else is an all caps shriek of “LIAR”.

- His excuse for liberal misbehavior is “IT’S ALL RETHUGLICANS’ FAULT!!1!” It’s a standard liberal trope – “everybody does it, and the worse the behavior, the more it’s Republicans’ fault in the first place.”

Django on August 28, 2008 at 11:44 AM

This stuff needs wide distribution. Thank goodness Dr. Sanity is back!!

http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2008/08/information-obama-doesnt-want-you-to.html

Donald Douglas on August 28, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Here is the link to Obama’s talking points for radio callers. Then you are asked to complete a report about your call.

Once you fill out the form, amazingly you are directed to another form:

Thank You for Taking Action
Now take the next step. Make a donation to support the Action Wire and push back on the petty and divisive methods of our opponents.

I’m sure they’d like to hear from everyone. Note, there appears not to be email verification prior to accepting your “report”…lol….

moxie_neanderthal on August 28, 2008 at 11:47 AM

I was confusing Stanley Kurtz with Sol Stern. Sol Stern has written a lot about great stuff about Bill Ayers and his Maoist education theories.

The Ghosts of Bill Ayers
By Sol Stern
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, October 17, 2006

And

Obama’s Real Bill Ayers Problem
The ex-Weatherman is now a radical educator with influence.
23 April 2008.

That being said, I would not call Stanley Kurtz an “oppo research” guy:

Mr. Kurtz received his undergraduate degree from Haverford College and his Ph.D. in social anthropology from Harvard University. He later taught at Harvard, winning several teaching awards for his work in a Great Books program. He was also Dewey Prize Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Chicago.

For those of you who haven’t read Stanley Kurtz’ take on Obama, here is Barack Obama’s Lost Years. I put this in the must read category…

Buy Danish on August 28, 2008 at 11:50 AM

My only question is, how much of the Annenberg records have been altered or destroyed since Kurtz first made his request to examine them?

Whatever remains is smoldering in the trashcan besides the file cabinet.

moxie_neanderthal on August 28, 2008 at 11:53 AM

It comes from the statement “we will not be swift boated”. They are so hyper sensistive about Kerry supposedly not defending himself when attacked, that Obama has taken it to a new level. Every attack will be met with a greater counter attack.
They just don’t understand balance in life.

right2bright on August 28, 2008 at 11:54 AM

Well said, Ed.

I believe the only way we can end the threats Obama poses to this country — inexperience, incompetence and Stalinist oppression of questioning/dissent — is to crush him totally at the ballot box.

Anything less, and the reprehensible sliminess of would-be totalitarianism might survive.

Obama is enough to make anyone believe in conspiracy theories. He must be removed, peacefully and democratically, along with his fellow travelers and sycophants.

MrScribbler on August 28, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Yes. And then, and only then, will the democrat party be able to begin to rebuild.

God help us all if these thugs manage to get Obama into the White House.

Jim Lindgren has two posts in a row over at volokh that seem to indicate a growing discomfort with the totalitarian tendencies of The One.

funky chicken on August 28, 2008 at 11:56 AM

What’s also high on the unintentional comedy scale if you look at the Obama email is that the first thing they throw at Stanley Kurtz to attempt to deligitimize him is that he served on some board with Bill Kristol. So….it’s a problem when a conservative journalist serves on a board with another conservative journalist — but it’s NOT a problem when Barack Obama serves on two boards with an unrepentant terrorist! ooookay.

rockmom on August 28, 2008 a

Touché! One of the most insightful comments yet!

moxie_neanderthal on August 28, 2008 at 11:56 AM

scroll down to read the post on The One’s “mandatory” kiddie volunteer corps

http://www.volokh.com/archives/archive_2008_08_24-2008_08_30.shtml#1219917291

the comments are a good read

funky chicken on August 28, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Touché! One of the most insightful comments yet!

moxie_neanderthal on August 28, 2008 at 11:56 AM

+1

Buy Danish on August 28, 2008 at 12:01 PM

At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz’s lies

They offered you the chance to rebut, on-air in real time.

You declined.

Suck on it.

mojo on August 28, 2008 at 12:05 PM

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