Friday, June 20, 2008

My Response To An Obama Smear Video

This was my response to a friend of mine who forwarded me an Obama smear video and asked me if I thought it was all lies. I think it is worth sharing.

Sorry it took so long to respond, but I wanted to watch the whole thing before I responded to it. I have been busy lately and it took me a while to get the time to sit down and watch it all.

In an interview last year Karl Rove said that the reasons his tactics work are not because Republican voters are stupid, but because they have "short memories" and they "don't pay attention to the news." That video plays off of both those qualities.

The short answer to your question is yes, that video is full of lies. You can tell the guy who made it is an experienced rightwing propagandist because of his opening shot "I invented the internet", which references a popular fallacy that Al Gore supposedly said he "invented the internet". The truth, as I am sure you already know, is that Al Gore said in an interview that he "was instrumental in creating the Internet" and the fact is, he sponsored the legislation that privatized ARPANET and created the Internet. Without his legislation, the internet you and I are using to communicate right now would still be just another "big government" project. (which, incidentally, was started under the last Republican who understood the role of government, Eisenhower)

A better description for that video is "propaganda", because it is more insidious than a mere lie. It will take one true fact and draw a bunch of false conclusions from it. It gathers and propagates all the worst lies about Barack Obama and tries to slip them in randomly to make them seem more legitimate. It also just cherry picks the most unflattering clips and pictures they can find and strings them together to paint the person in an unflattering light. You can find thousands of videos like this about both the Clintons and Bushs all over the internet. It is a very common propaganda tactic.

Basically it piles the bullshit so high, you have a hard time picking out individual pieces anymore. It just becomes one big stinky pile of bullshit.

It partakes in what is called "molehill politics". Taking something insignificant and trivial and theatrically trying to blow it up into a much larger issue than it really is.

"Flag-pins" for example. Seriously, who really cares about flag pins? How does wearing a cheap flag pin made in China mean you are a patriotic American? With everything else that is going on right now, inflation, gas prices, outsourcing, unemployment, forclosures, credit crisis, the falling value of the dollar... who is really concerned about flag pins? Seriously.

It seems to me that if you were a politician who really secretly wasn't patriotic, you would be wearing one 24x7 to cover for it.
Patriotism is caring about the welfare of your country and I think that means caring about the real issues instead of wasting time on meaningless theatrical bullshit like flag pins.

The "National Anthem Photo" is another example, you don't have to put your hand over your heart for the national anthem. All you have to do is stand. You are only supposed to put your hand over your heart for the pledge of alliegence. ...because its a pledge... The national anthem is just a song. Just look around the next time you are at a sporting event, everyone stands and takes their hats off and some people put their hands to their hearts and some do not. The announcer even says it at the beginning of almost every sporting event "Please stand for the national anthem".

Do you see? They take a true photo and draw all sorts of false conclusions from it. They mislead the viewer into drawing the specific conclusion that they want you to draw. That he is supposedly insufficiently patriotic.

Another example is the "danger" that his middle name supposedly represents. They spend quite a bit of time trying to evoke some fear from the viewer because his middle name sounds like the name of a dead bad guy. Even Karl Rove asked Republicans to stop saying his middle name all the time because he said it sounds racist.

It also uses blatent race baiting, even going so far as using a clip of a radical extremist, Ann Coulter, talking about his "three muslim names". Barack and Obama are actually African names, not Islamic. Hussian is actually a very common Arabic name which means "Blessed one". Islam is a religion not a nationality or ethnicity. She is using that term to lump Arabs, Persians and Africans into one group... basically, "brown people". We should all fear the brown people. Thats the real message.

The Rev Wright thing was all just the attempt to redefine Obama as an "angry black man". Before that whole boondoggle, the question that was asked was "is he black enough". They are trying to do the same thing to his wife Michelle. Tell you what, watch her appearance on the View from this week and tell me if you think she is the radical they try to paint her as.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59twO1fJwtQ

It does state some blatently untrue things, obviously.
The claim that there is no information available about Obama's background is a lie. How lazy can they get? He wrote two autobiographies for pete's sake. All anyone has to do is read them. A good portion of his life is already public record. He has been a public figure in Chicago for decades so the facts of his background have been gone over with a fine tooth comb.

Also the claim that he was raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. Thats a lie.
He spent most of his childhood in Hawaii and Kansas. He only visited Indonesia when he was a kid. He also traveled all over Africa, Europe and Asia. By the time he was a teenager, he was more well traveled than a lot of Congressmen.

The claim that sitting down and talking to the leaders of countries we don't like is "radical". That's a blatent lie.
Every President before George W. Bush practiced more open diplomacy and they very often met with the leaders of countries we didn't like. George Washington parlayed with leaders of the British Army. George Washington also met with and enlisted Pirates to help the revolutionary army. John Madison talked to the British and Indians during the war of 1812. Jefferson signed a treaty with the Barbary Pirates. They founding fathers all would have talked to King George if they had the chance, but the King had a policy that he did not talk to his enemies.
How did that work out for him?

FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford and Reagan all talked to the Soviets.
Nixon met with the Red Chinese.

Anyway, I think you get my point. The claim that talking to our enemies is a "radical" idea is a big steaming load of crap.

That video is a lot of things, but true is not one of them. I would think that most people would find their intelligence insulted by a video that tries to make all three assertions, that Obama is 1. a radical muslim, 2. a Marxist (athiest), and 3. a radical Christian, all the in same video just a few minutes apart. How stupid does this guy think his audience is?

Anyway if you are curious about doing any fact checking, you should check out these sites:
http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/fightthesmearshome/

http://factcheck.barackobama.com/

By the way, if you are curious about my take on Obama, you can read about it on my blog.
http://thesarcasticcynic.blogspot.com/2008/06/defining-candidates-professor-obama.html

Your friend,
Kyle

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