A Thousand Cuts
By Tom Sullivan
May 15, 2008 - 11:50pm ET
Found somewhere on a Digby comment thread:
I was reminded of this today, when a rightwing work colleague mentioned Obama not looking at a flag during an anthem or allegiance or something. Meant nothing to me, but apparently all the wingers know some clip of Obama not staring at a US flag.
Of course they do. Somebody kicks out the screaming-text political spam I receive as conservative pass-it-on e-mails. There's a ton of it, and the disinformation moves like wildfire. It doesn't matter that it's 95% false, so long as it poisons an opponent's chances. The strategy is "death by a thousand cuts."
The people who forward this bile learn nothing of substance. Substance is beside the point. Like a prosecution by defense attorneys, e-mail propagandists don't have to prove anything about their targets. All they have to do is plant enough doubt in the minds of voters.
With Sen. John Kerry, it wasn’t just the Swift Boaters. It was windsurfing. Frenchness. Theresa’s money. Week after week. A relative commented about Sen. John Edwards, that she'd heard “bad” things about him. Unspecific, distorted, petty bad things. Another relative sends me political spam forwarded by friends and relations. Lies, slurs, distortions, meanness. Nothing of substance. Substance is beside the point.
Expect to hear more of the same, week after week, from now until November. "It's going to be Swift Boat times five on both sides …” said an anonymous McCain adviser recently.
So what can be done to neuter this kind of propaganda? Forget rapid response. I’m thinking rapid preemption, and I'm coming up blank. Suggestions?
Has anyone heard of – or thought up – an effective countermeasure for “death by a thousand cuts”? A grassroots countermeasure?
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