I could have added this as an update to the earlier post on Attack Watch, since this lame effort by Team Obama to rustle up a posse of snitches for their debunking efforts probably doesn’t deserve too much attention. However, this video by Ezra Dulis is just too good to bury in an older post. Ezra adds about 20 As to both words as he hilariously skewers this redundant and silly effort by Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. It’s a bit long and very mildly NSFW, but well worth the time:
On a more serious note, classicist Victor Davis Hanson explains just why this snitch-building effort is offensive as well as ridiculous:
Yet go onto the new (“Paid for by Obama for America”) AttackWatch.com website. It reads and looks like some sort of Stasi file (“file” is their vocabulary, not mine). It asks readers to inform them of criticism of Obama. The format is, I guess by intent, supposed to resemble a government intelligence dossier (“Attack files”), with its blaring black and red headers: “Attack” /”Attackers” (followed by names and pictures of the supposed bad guys)/”Attack Type” /(“public statements”) followed by check off boxes like “Have your seen or heard this attack?” “Yes/No”. It reminds me of of living in 1973 dictatorial Greece, when we all kept silent about the Colonels upon entering the apartment building, lest the government-paid concierge write something down not nice in her black book.
Apparently no one in the administration learned from the spooky tone of the now defunct Journolist. That obtuseness begs the question, what is it with these extra-journalistic efforts to intimidate critics, as if the 2012 campaign will be based around deterrence: e.g., as if: “Beware: if you criticize Barack Obama, your name and picture will appear on our “Attack File”. We are watching you, so you watch out!”
So creepier still is the request to snoop around and collect evidence for what the Roman emperors and French monarchs used to call maiestas/Lèse-majesté—supposed crimes against the head of state, by circulating criticism of his authority that might lessen his proper sense of majesty. Indeed, on AttackWatch.com there is a special pop-up window that is reminiscent of Crimestoppers.com that supposedly will help form some sort of a clearing house: “Your email”/”content of attack or link”/”Attack type”, “Attach” with a link “Report” that pops up yet another window.
The Romans and French emperors aren’t the only precursors, either. John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts during his single term in office, which also criminalized criticism of the US government. This is obviously not attempting to make dissent illegal, but it definitely has that Stasi vibe to it — and in general paints dissent as some sort of conspiracy while ironically attempting to create an underground movement of sorts to combat it. When done in service to a serving President, that’s more than just a little creepy, and so tone-deaf as to be laughable.