Tracing a Smear Artist

Some of you know that I’ve been writing for some time about hearing planted stories — anonymous callers to talk shows, letters-to-editors, forwarded e-mail letters, etc. – saying Kerry cuts in front of lines and says “Do you know who I am?” I’ve been saying this obviously is part of a coordinated smear campaign. Well, I think the following adds some weight to what I have been suspecting.

Take a look at John Kerry: Uppity Rich Guy with a Superiority Complex:

“In Boston, where the junior senator from Massachussets [sic] lives when he’s not skipping Senate votes, John Kerry stories are commonplace. Most of these stories involve Kerry pulling rank on a “little guy,” cutting to the front of the line, expecting special treatment, or demanding something for free. When confronted about his behavior, Kerry defiantly asks, “Do you know who I am?” Evidently, Kerry believes that once the “little people” understand how important he is, they will simply back down and shut up.”

Read the whole thing. It’s just wonderful propaganda — the stuff that comes out of the Right’s think tanks and gets repeated through their editorial writers, talk-show hosts, cable TV pundits, etc. You’ve seen every line from this piece used in one form or another lately. (There must be a template provided by the Right’s think tanks, sent to their writers, all of it tested in focus groups…)

It says the writer, George C. Landrith, is “is an adjunct professor at the George Mason School of Law”. Check out the funding and the other funding.

To show you how this kind of stuff is spread far and wide, here’s a Landrith piece, circulated by Heritage Foundation’s TownHall (see Heritage funding here), reprinted at the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance,

“As dubious as Kerry’s claims of foreign endorsements may be, there is at least one foreign leader who hopes for a Kerry-Edwards win in November. However, even the two Johns are smart enough not to brag about having this foreign leader’s support. Of whom am I speaking? Osama bin Laden.”

If you want to hear some more of this sort of slime at your organization’s upcoming event, you can hire a right-wing subsidized speaker. Here’s Landrith’s info at the Young America’s Foundation’s (check their funding here) “Conservative Speakers Program,” where it also says he is “President, Frontiers of Freedom.” (“A member organization,” they boast.) While at their webite you can take their poll, “If Osama Bin Laden were a U.S. citizen, who do you think he would support in the upcoming presidential election?” And here is THEIR funding. Here’s more info on them. Frontiers is described as “a conservative group that maintains that human activities are not responsible for global warming” in the (reprinted) NY Times article “Exxon Backs Groups That Question Global Warming.”

Here’s Landrith info at

Here is his bio, at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. And here is their funding.

OK, it’s late and I’m tired so I’m going to stop and make my point. Did you notice anything in common in those funding sources I pointed to for the organizations above? I just wanted to show how the Right’s smear machine, funded by a small core group of funders, employs people like this, (so many), setting them up in think tanks or other jobs, paying them (very well) to crank this stuff out, citing their stuff at their OTHER think tanks and organizations to give them an aura of credibility, and then spreading this awful, smelly stuff around through every channel through which people receive information, poisoning the national debate, always pushing, pushing, pushing the public further and further to the right. There are billions of dollars at work behind this stuff.

Here’s an interesting thing about this — most if not all of those think tanks and other organizations I pointed to are tax deductible charitable organizations – which is another way of saying government subsidized – that are forbidden from engaging in partisan activities, all of them are engaged full time in working to get Bush a second term, all of them are funded by the same crowd, and none of this spending counts toward the election-spending totals you read about in the papers. And the Bush administration is now pumping more millions into this network through various schemes including the “faith-based funding” initiative, or direct contracts or other subsidies. This is The Apparat. This is the Right’s network of advocacy think tanks and communications organizations at work, and this is what they do.


Just for fun, from a Moonie thing, a story with another form of the same smear,

“The talk about Hillary Rodham Clinton [. . .] There was that business about her primping while the troops stood waiting in the chow line for a half-hour and then cutting in front of them to scoop up her Thanksgiving dinner. Then she smeared and attacked their commander in chief and told them no one at home supported the war.”

All those damn rich liberal elitists, cutting in front of regular people like us… That line must have focus-group tested as well as “only served four months in Vietnam.”