GOP playing the media for fools

The manner in which this story came to light is a lesson in modern journalism. The mainstream fellows simply reported the Parlock perspective, but it was an intrepid band of online newshounds - bloggers Rising Hegemon and Atrios, who picked up on the work of one Rezmutt, member of the forums at DemocraticUnderground.com - who pieced together the strange coincidences surrounding these Parlock incidents. Once upon a time, stories like this would get missed. The internet has created a whole new phenomenon. If the mainstream media wants to avoid being embarrassed, they might want to think about paying attention to this brave new world of investigative journalism.

You can read about the media being scammed on TruthOut.com

Guest entry from Glenn Smith of Texans for Truth

I made a post earlier today on the well-coordinated right, and the lack on the left, which began a conversation that led to this guest entry, here's what Glenn's up too: I'm in Cleveland tonight for a Texans for Truth event and signing party for my book, "The Politics of Deceit". The campaign has far exceeded our expectations  -- in contributions and in attention among bloggers, conventional media, and voters. Even the Wall Street Journal reports a sharp decline in the numbers of Americans who believe Bush completed his Guard duty as he should have.

Last night I was in Midland, Texas, Bush's former home. Such a home-team attitude they've sold Bush T-shirts at  the airport gift shop. About 50 people came to the event, quite remarkable for a town that blacklists Democrats.

I've covered a good number of campaigns and run a good number of campaigns. I think I've made a bigger mark on this one with this small, pointed, independent effort, than almost anything I've done before. I don't take credit. I think it is due to the growing number of Americans who have awakened to the dangerous truths about the real George Bush.

A word about Texans for Truth and the blogosphere. I've written a book that, among other things, speaks of  the importance of online activism to the future of progressive politics. We at DriveDemocracy.org had some time ago started our own blog, and it was there we first launched some of the messages this campaign now employs. I'm also proud and honored to have been asked to join the terrific political minds contributing to BOPNews.com.

I just did an interview yesterday with the Chicago Tribune touting the importance of blogs, the caliber of much of the reporting, even excusing the excesses on the right as part of the price we pay for opening the political conversation to powerful new voices.

No one should misunderstand an oversight from the overworked folks at the communications firm I've asked to help for lack of respect for bloggers generally, or my recognition of their important -- I'm not sure I can overstate just how important I believe these voices are -- to the very future of democracy....

What I mentioned to the good folks at Texans for Truth was that they institute a pledge drive to up the anty for the Reward for Truth about Bush's time in Alabama. If anyone steps up to vouch that Bush was actually in service, to prove it, they get that reward money. I'll pitch in $100, I'll pledge that amount, and so will thousands of others. Right now, the Reward for Truth is at $50,000, it should be at $500,000, because George Bush lied, he didn't serve in Alabama, nobody will back it up, and everyone needs to know that Bush's lies didn't start with Iraq, he's been lying all along.

The success of coordination

Here's theirs:Creative Response Concepts (CRC), the VA-based agency promoting the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, used right-wing blogs and news sites to turn a CBS report casting doubt on President George W. Bush's National Guard service into a potential black eye for both the network and the Democrats.When Texans for Truth launched, I was pretty excited we'd see some counter to the Swift Liar crap. I called up Michelle Mulky, left her a message, talked with her secretary, asked them to include me in their conference calls... but you know what?

The agency that Texans for Truth hired states they are for "for credentialled press only", ie., not bloggers. Not only would they not return my calls, they wouldn't even add my email to their list to update MyDD as to what was going on, such is the lack.

That the right's success exceeds the lefts because they have a communication coordination and we don't is inexcusable. There are communication consultants that know how to use the netroots. We've seen many of them with the blogads. But when Texans for Truth, funded by Moveon and Soros, goes out and hires a communication firm (Fenton Communications) that wants nothing to do with bloggers, the failure isn't just theirs, it's everyone that's trying  to respond to the Swift Boat Liar agenda effectively.

Update: Good news, I got word from Texans for Truth that they are making sure that the communication firm gets this message, and that bloggers are included in the media process.

Media Narrative on Bush "Surge" Working

Bush's electoral position looks decent, and certainly a lot better than it did five weeks ago. Even I, perhaps the most strident writer to argue that Kerry is not in fact losing by much, would guess that Bush would win if the election were held tomorrow. However, he certainly isn't blowing Kerry out, as he leads by four according to Rasmussen, one according to the Economist, -1 according to Harris and -2 according to IBD / CSM (those are the four most recent polls). However, the media narrative has certainly hammered home the idea that Bush is going to win to the general population. Thanks to reader Peter Jung, I now have access to the IDB / CSM internals (one of the three I am missing--if anyone has the AP internals I would be grateful), which show the following: The poll also has good news for Kerry. Among independents, Kerry leads Bush by 10 points, 48%-38%. His lead is 12 points -- 51%-39% -- in battleground states.(...)

The zeitgeist still points to a Bush victory. Some 48% of those polled foresee Bush retaking the White House, while only 16% think Kerry will win. Another third (31%) feel the race is too close to call.

Only 16% thinking that Kerry will win is a dramatic falloff from other measurements (emphasis in original): Regardless of who they plan to vote for, 46% of all voters now believe the Kerry-Edward team will win while 45% say the Bush-Cheney ticket will be re-elected.

While the one-point advantage is statistically insignificant, it's the first time that a plurality has expected a victory for the Democrats. Last week, 46% thought Bush would win while 44% said they expected a Kerry victory. That's quite a change from a month ago when 53% of American voters believed Bush would be re-elected and just 35% said Kerry would win.

The biggest difference is that Democrats are a lot more confident today than they were a month ago. Eighty-two percent (82%) of Kerry voters believe their man will win. That's up thirteen points from 70% a month ago.

No wonder there have been so many suicide watches. Our confidence is in the toilet because we are swallowing the narrative about a Bush surge, and we really need to get our confidence back. Knowing that we are consistently ahead among independents should help.

Incidentally, I'm pretty sure IDB / CSM over-sampled independents in their poll, thus giving Kerry a two-point lead when it is probably tied. Obviously, weighting can work both ways.

Is Kerry Making The Same Mistake As Dean?

When providing an excerpt from a new interview with Time Magazine, Political Wire notes something truly shocking (emphasis mine):Time gets the first interview with Sen. John Kerry in over a month to discuss his "comeback plan."

On the swift boat ads: "I think the President's unwillingness to walk away from those comments makes it clear that he and the Vice President will say anything and do anything to get elected and to hold on to power. It was a shameful and outrageous effort.

"But you know, I've been in worse situations in my life. The attacks don't attack me as much as they attack Americans and America. They're trying to distract people from the real issues that matter."

This is a good response by Kerry to the attacks. Of course, it would have been about ten times better had he given this response three weeks ago, when the story was still in the news. Then again, since he hasn't given a significant interview to a news outlet in over a month, I suppose it wasn't possible.

Shortly after the Gore endorsement, media access to Howard Dean became severely limited. It was almost exactly at that point that the attacks against him began to severely pile up. Perhaps Jerome can correct me on this, but as far as I could tell it was largely because of the restricted media access that the campaign was not able to effectively respond to the varying attacks (electability, "we're not safer," sealed records, etc.). From Christmas until the end of the campaign, it was a slow steady decline for Dean.

Free media has become far more influential than paid media in politcal campaigns. If Kerry incomprehnsibly only does only one more significant interview in the next five weeks, his decline will almost certainly continue unabated. This has gone on far too long already. It is time to throw open the doors and let the interviewers in.

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