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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Not That It Matters

by digby

David Riley at Businessweek notices that McNasty is McNasty

What the McCain campaign doesn’t want people to know, according to one GOP strategist I spoke with over the weekend, is that they had an ad script ready to go if Obama had visited the wounded troops saying that Obama was...wait for it...using wounded troops as campaign props. So, no matter which way Obama turned, McCain had an Obama bashing ad ready to launch. I guess that’s political hardball. But another word for it is the one word that most politicians are loathe to use about their opponents—a lie.

This is what some people are calling the Hannity strategy. Right wing nut-muffin Sean Hannity employs a slick strategy of repeating canards very quickly over and over, day in and day out, which aren’t challenged by his TV co-host Alan Colmes or by any of his radio listeners. By relentlessly repeating falsehoods day after day, the theory goes, it becomes embedded in the media. There is truth in this. In 2004, the Bush campaign ran an ad and daily repeated that John Kerry was a flip flopper, running a Kerry clip with the Democratic candidate saying he voted for an $87 billion military appropriation before he voted against it. It sounded bad when ripped out of context. Kerry voted for it in committee, and then voted against in on a floor vote when the bill included giveaways to Halliburton he didn’t support.

The distortion took on a life of its own, parroted by mainstream media including Chris Matthews, and even the Tom Brokaw and the late Tim Russert. It is a case study in how effective advertising can work when it is done relentlessly and consistently…even if its untrue.
I don't know why they are calling this the "Hannity Strategy." It's a long time propaganda technique that goes back to the birth of propaganda --- and it's one that's been constantly employed by Republicans for the past 20 years.

What this person fails to realize is that it isn't Hannity or even Limbaugh who make these things work. It's the mainstream media. They Blackberry each other the latest hilarious snotty talking point, which they repeat like a bunch of parrots with ADD, and it doesn't matter if it's true or not because "it's out there." Even when they are arguing that the facts are incorrect or claiming that there's a 'risk" of Mccain being perceived as too negative --- they are getting the smear out.

I just heard Andrea Mitchell argue for 10 minutes with McCain's campaign manager along those lines. She put a quote of his on the screen:

Only a celebrity of Barack Obama's magnitude could attract 200,000 fans in Berlin who gathered for the mere opportunity to be in his presence. These are not supporters or even voters, but fans fawning over The One. Only celebrities like Barack Obama go to the gym three times a day, demand "MET-RX chocolate roasted-peanut protein bars and bottles of a hard-to-find organic brew -- Black Forest Berry Honest Tea" and worry about the price of arugula

It sat there for quite some time as Davis and Mitchell talked over one another, making little sense. The only thing you remember from the exchange is that quote.

Enough of that and you wind up with this, (Via Stoller):

Perhaps one of the clearest indications emerged Tuesday from the world of late-night comedy, when David Letterman offered his "Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident." The examples included Obama proposing to change the name of Oklahoma to "Oklobama" and measuring his head for Mount Rushmore.

"When Letterman is doing 'Top Ten' lists about something, it has officially entered the public consciousness," said Dan Schnur, a political analyst from the University of Southern California and the communications director in John McCain's 2000 campaign. "And it usually stays there for a long, long time."

For historical purposes, here is an example of the late night jokes that were done about Kerry in 2004. (Interestingly, Letterman hates Bush so much that he doesn't seem to have joined in the fun.):

"Bush and Cheney say now they're targeting people who can't make up their minds, so apparently they're trying to get John Kerry's vote as well." —Jay Leno

"You see the pictures in the paper today of John Kerry windsurfing? He's at his home in Nantucket this week, doing his favorite thing, windsurfing. Even his hobby depends on which way the wind blows." —Jay Leno

"We make jokes about it but the truth is this presidential election really offers us a choice of two well-informed, opposing positions on every issue. OK, they both belong to John Kerry, but they're still there." —Jay Leno"

Vice President Dick Cheney attacked John Kerry. He said that John Kerry 'lacks deeply held convictions.' Today Kerry shot back, he said, 'That's not completely true.'" —Jay Leno

Once it's out there, it's out there. It doesn't matter how it got there.