Dirty Tricksters Come After Obama, Again

by: Matt Stoller

Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 18:01

The Obama is a Muslim smear and the stupid whitey video rumors aren't the last nasty dishonest rant to test our press corps's willingness to publish anything.  

A few months ago I noticed claims being circulated by a fellow named Larry Sinclair making allegations that Obama had sex and used drugs with him in 1999.  Whitehouse.com offered $100,000 if Sinclair could pass a polygraph test; Sinclair took the test, and failed.  Now Sinclair has gotten himself booked at the National Press Club, which is a venue that books press events, as well as weddings and bar mitzvahs, so as to have a sheen of legitimacy.

His stuff has been circulated on youtube and on various websites, but with clear debunkings of his claims and his credibility.  Hopefully journalists will continue to ignore this person (though there has been a little coverage), and whoever is fronting him will stop and eventually he can get the medical help he needs.  It's just another attempt at pushing the 'whitey'-style rumor, which has gotten attention in the press.

Expect more from the Republicans and the press corps.  They want to see this stuff drive politics.

Matt Stoller :: Dirty Tricksters Come After Obama, Again

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Rapid Response / War Room (4.00 / 3)
I'm wondering how exactly Obama's going to use his soon-to-be-formed war room to battle false online rumors like the Muslim and whitey video things and how, also, that will apply to more offline BS like Larry Sinclair.

These things are going to be out there and I have to think they're going to hurt him a bit.  I also think there is going to be a furious push against Michele Obama with online rumors, as the notion of a strong black woman is going to drive certain people crazy and plays to a lot of ingrained societal prejudices.

I'm just curious what the exact pushback is going to be on these issues?  Does he speak to them directly and then give the media an excuse to report on them extensively (assuming they haven't already made good inroads into the media)?  Does he work through legal means?  Either way, it opens the rumors to public dissemination.  Theoretically, that dissemination would come with the specification that they're false, but . . . people don't always get the full story.  Swiftboat, etc.
What would be most interesting is if Obama could create a narrative around these smears that ultimately strengthens him.  They will be out there, they will be numerous, and they will have a certain traction among segments of the population.  Can he use them to create a sympathetic backlash, turning the weakness into a strength?  Even more fun, can he put together a narrative of the right wing as a whole maliciously spreading lies about him and engaging in widespread morally-sickening and destructive personal politics, thus creating a political backlash with the public against McCain, the Republican party and conservative media and information outlets as a whole?  It's probably way too much to ask for, but it sure would be fun to use these smears against the right.

I don't think Sinclair quite rises to swiftboat status... (0.00 / 0)
I mean, ti the uninformed the swiftboaters at least seemed credible.  Sinclair also claims Obama is a murderer...so this is more on the level of the Clinton Chronicles than the swiftboat vets.  I think the best response is to ingore it.

[ Parent ]
A narrative around "Larry" might be difficult (4.00 / 2)
Unless he wants to get confrontational and call the guy out in a public way.  

But the "Obama is a closet Muslim" thing might be handled by making a concerted effort to reach out to the US Muslim communities.  Granted, its an indirect way to push back, more like showing that the rumors don't bother him one bit, because he's willing to openly associate with the leaders of that community.  The "narrative" would be that a President Obama will work to heal the breach that the Bush/McCain approach to alleviating the radical elements from Islam has created.  It could present a positive story about Obama and Muslims to counter the negative narrative that now dominates the "news" on the subject.  

Outside the box: Obama could go on SNL and do a skit where he convinces Usama bin Ladin to shave his beard and join Rev Wright's church.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
"secret Muslim" (4.00 / 1)
Sam Seder and Marc Maron do a weekly vlog. One of the main subjects today was e-mails their fathers (and Sam's father-in-law) are getting about Obama not being a "real American", or not being a strong enough ally of Israel. One of them contains a fabricated quote from Dreams of My Father in which Obama vows to stand with Muslims, or something like that.

I think if anything, Sinclair (who was a star attraction among the PUMA-Nobamists at the Rules and Bylaws meeting two weeks ago--seems longer) could backfire and make all anti-Obama stuff look crazy. I'm not counting on it, but it could happen.

[ Parent ]
agreed and... (0.00 / 0)
that Maron V. Seder vodcast is awesome!

Anyways, this guy is blatantly nutso, some attempt to get him psychological help might highlight the fact.



[ Parent ]
Not Larry (0.00 / 0)
I agree, I don't think working around Larry would be effective or advisable.  The guy's crazy and the tales are so wild I don't imagine the media will ever pick up on them to a serious degree.  Probably just scattered mentions.

If there were a narrative created around the smears, I think the Muslim one would be prime, the whitey video might get in there, and other inevitable smears based around Michelle and probably future ones around the notions of Obama being unpatriotic / foreign (there's something going on with his birth certificate not being released for viewing in Hawaii) / and various other forms of "scary other" that are not of the general "he's unpatriotic" talking point vein but something more specific and false.

It's all a big if, though, considering I'm not anywhere sold on the idea of a narrative.  I'm just intrigued by it.

Also, interesting thoughts on using the Muslim smear.  I don't know if that would work or not, but it's an interesting idea.  I also like the idea of him going on SNL and doing a skit based around the rumors.  Utilizing humor to ridicule them would be a nice way to bring them up, knock them down, and doing it all without ascribing any legitimacy to the circulation of the smears.

[ Parent ]
Sometimes, you need to get out front (0.00 / 0)
Yes, its risky, in the sense that you may give more attention to the smears than they have right now, but there's also the notion of nipping problems in the bud.

The idea of reaching out to the American Muslims is based on an indirect push-back.  The entire effort could be "narrated" by the campaign without even mentioning the rumors. It is true that the GWOT has alienated the Muslim communities, it is true that they have felt the brunt of the "anti-terror" campaigns in the US, it is true that Obama's message is compatible with his reaching out to this community.  If he did so, it is pretty much inevitable that those promoting the smear would see it as another example of how Obama was "favoring" Islam, of how he was "coddling" the terrorists.  At that point, he can smack those issues down (Keith Ellison might be able to help out) and counter with an argument based on how that kind of response is representative of the "old politics" of hate-mongering and sowing division.  Not to mention its wrong and bigoted.  

Or not.  He could also simply ignore the rumors.  Point is: his efforts to reach-out to American Muslims would provide a positive counter narrative concerning Obama and Islam.

You are 100% correct about using humor.  It has power.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
You know what be a good push-back? (4.00 / 2)
See if there is enough out there to drive a wedge between McCain and the conservative base by suggesting that McCain is a crypto-atheist/agnostic who bears false witness to the Gospel with politically-motivated moves like his sudden claim to be a Baptist and not an Episcopalian.  It fits into the wider message of McCain as someone who will do anything to get elected.

It's probably not true, but if there are a bunch of idiots out there who think that Obama is a Muslim, they can just as easily be fooled by something like this.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
Fight fire with fire (0.00 / 0)
I like the approach, but I don't think it is something the Obama campaign can get involved in supporting.  

I've heard/read rumors that McCain is/was quite the womanizer. Maybe we need a few of his partners to step up and start spouting off. like Larry Sinclair.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Muslim Papa (4.00 / 1)
So what?

McCain is a mess.  

Push back with that.

(Did I hear McCain praising Cheney today?)

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
Well it has been remarkably effective so far, innit? (0.00 / 0)
The trajectory of the future of the Murkin faux-democratic, political kabuki was described this primary season when both Parties happily turned over the campaign to the hucksters who packaged and presented it as a "reality" show-cum-popeil gadget advo-tainment.

In the Corporate State, corporate media are State Media.

Sinclair (4.00 / 3)
I should show up at that National Press Club event as well -- I once had a threesome with McCain and Hillary.  I was traveling in Estonia, and they had vodka on the breath...  maybe I can get some news coverage too...

Hello, My name is Buster McDermott (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
What a joke (4.00 / 1)

National Press on Ethics

Walter William's Journalist's Creed

This creed was written by Walter Williams (1864-1935), the man who founded the world's first school of journalism at the University of Missouri and perhaps contributed more toward the promotion of professional journalism than any other person of his time.

I believe in the profession of Journalism.

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of lesser service than the public service is a betrayal of this trust.

I believe that clear thinking, clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true. I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one's own pocket book is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another's instructions or another's dividends.

I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public ser vice.

I believe that the journalism which succeeds the best-and best deserves success-fears God and honors man; is stoutly independent; unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power; constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of the privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance, and as far as law, an honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship, is a journalism of humanity, of and for today's world.


Or not. Bring on the illicit gay sex and murder allegations!

John McCain

The rapid response should prob focus on trace back (4.00 / 6)
Outing the names of the people behind these rumors and making the news about the rumor spreader and not the rumor is probably the most effective response. For example, the email with the Obama in the African outfit was really not that damaging because all the coverage of that story was focused on how it came from someone inside the Clinton campaign. Similarly, any response to this crap coming from the right needs to be re-focused as a story on who is doing the spreading--i.e., terrorist fist-jab becaomes story about "Fox anchor says ... " If any of this crap can be traced to McCain or supporters you can flip an internet rumor that could do some minor but important damage into a big McCain / dirty politics backlash story. Thus, the best response is to not let such crap happen anonymously.

This is the biggest dirty trick going right now (4.00 / 1)

Seriously, I can't find anything on these people except that some of them work in PR. Others seem to have appeared out of outer space just a few months ago -- no easily verified history as democrats or bloggers or squat.

This is the first ratfuck of the season right here, folks.

Montani semper liberi

Agreed (4.00 / 2)
Yeah, I did a quick look up on that Adkins lady and she is some nutjob hypotist / spiritualist / nurse in Reston, Va that apparently uses mind control to get people to lose weight. She did leave a few anti-Obama comments online back in Feb. (how he uses mind control, ironically). But I never saw anything that was pro-hillary. I also didn't find any trace that she donated to the HRC campaign (how much of a HRC supporter could she be?) She appears to be a Repub plant to try to whip former HRC fans into an anti-Obama / pro-McCain frenzy. I think this is further supported by the fact that this small "grass roots" group has a PR firm working for it (hmmm?) The other names I found associated with the group were Will Bower, Diane Mantouvalous, Robin Carlson, Thuc Nguyen, Anne Franklin, and Peter Boykin.

Anyone know more about any tof these characters?  

[ Parent ]
one more thing ... (4.00 / 1)
I am 99 percent sure that Cristi Adkins screwball is the user "freespeechnow" on MyDD, she sounds the same and even cited her own website and the work of her hypno-buddy doctor. Since her website only has about 8000 hits it seems highly unlikely anyone but her would cite it (I mean how many people bring up hypnosis in political conversations?)

check out here:


These posts, however, do eliminate my above Repub theory because they do make her out as someone that liked HRC and hated Obama from the start.

[ Parent ]
Did you see her interview on (4.00 / 1)
of all places, FOX NEWS? (They don't even try to hide what they're doing).

Some of the choice quotes were:

American citizens, we will now allow Hollywood and the left-wing news nut media to determine our next president. We have a voice . . .

And quite frankly, John McCain is a maverick. He's a fighter. He's scrappy. And I like that. I like fighters . . .

John McCain is not so far right. He is not. He is right there in the middle with most of America . . .

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
I read that mydd piece (0.00 / 0)
what a nutjob! She is barely coherent, no wonder she has such a glassy stare in her interview.

This is certainly a strange situation.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Is anyone doing a background check on Sinclair? (0.00 / 0)
That fucker needs to be publicly humiliated.

check larrysinclair.com (0.00 / 0)
there's a little bit of info about him there,

[ Parent ]
I think (0.00 / 0)
I think Sinclair really took care of the public humiliation for us. Or have you not watched the video?

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
Some folks enjoy being humiliated (4.00 / 1)
or, so I've heard.  Especially if its a way to get the attention they can't get by other means.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Kerry Ignored Them Too (4.00 / 1)
A number of posters have suggested variations on ignoring these Swiftboat-style attacks.

Ask Kerry how that works out.  

There's a difference (0.00 / 0)
Accused of being Muslim is quite different than accused of being a fraudulent war hero.

In the first case, if true, one is simply Muslim, no better or worse than being a practitioner of any of the major religions.  

But being a fake war hero has no upside.

In the first case, one can answer, "So what? Even though I'm not Muslim,  it's true my father was.  A billion people around the world are Muslim.  It has some pluses and some minuses.  Did you know Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet?"  Etc. . .  It can be a teaching moment that exposes the bigotry in the accusation.

Beyond straight-out denial, the fake war hero accusation doesn't offer the same kind of rhetorical pivot for a constructive counter-argument.

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]

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