Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Spreading and fighting smear campaigns online" (with video)

NECN, with video (03:29):
The Internet has become a powerful political tool, taking campaign fundraising to a new level and allowing candidates to bypass media gatekeepers. However, it also gives a candidate's opponents a platform like no other.
NECN's Alison King has more information regarding Internet smear and damage control.


Smear campaigns are nothing new to American presidential elections -- Democrats and Republicans have both been targets. Now, Barack Obama is learning firsthand just how quickly half-truths and even downright lies can spread.

E-mails like this are spammed to millions of households in a matter of minutes. They say Obama's wife, Michelle, is a militant racist and that Obama is a Muslim.

Obama happens to be a Christian and has said so repeatedly, but many Americans have only heard the rumors.

Lee Brooks, Dallas, TX: What about that he won't wear a flag pin? Well, if he's going to be running for office he should be wearing a flag pin -- it's part of being in the U.S.

Michael Goldman is a Democratic political consultant:

Goldman: The term we use in my business is "the empty vessel." The truth is that Al Gore, even as Vice President, certainly John Kerry and absolutely Barack Obama to many, many Americans is an "empty vessel." He hasn't existed long enough. If they fill the vessel with their negatives early then he will never recover from that.

The Obama campaign is fighting back. It has started a website called "fightthesmears.com." It lists all of the mis-information: that he's hiding his birth certificate, that his wife has used the term "whitey" and that he was sworn into the U.S. Senate using a Koran. After each allegation, the Obama campaign has provided what they call an explanation of the facts.

Michael Goldman: If John Kerry had that set up -- the swift boaters would never have done the kind of damage they did to him in 2004.



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