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Monday, June 2, 2008

The "Whitey" Tape and Blogosphere Filth

There appears to be a rumor floating around the internet of a supposed tape in which Michelle Obama makes incendiary comments against whites at a conference in which Louis Farrakhan and Reverend Jeremiah Wright were also participants. It all started with this item from liberal blogger and former CIA agent Larry Johnson.

I learned over the weekend why the Republicans who have seen the tape of Michelle Obama ranting about “whitey” describe it as “STUNNING.” I have not seen it but I have heard from five separate sources who have spoken directly with people who have seen the tape. It features Michelle Obama and Louis Farrakhan. They are sitting on a panel at Jeremiah Wright’s Church when Michelle makes her intemperate remarks. Whoops!! When that image comes out it will enter the politcal ads hall of fame. It will be right up there with the little girl plucking daisy petals in the famous 1964 ad LBJ used against Barry Goldwater.

Now, even Johnson comes to this supposed tape second hand and all of his supposed first hand sources are anonymous. In other words, this whole entire story is built on nothing more than rumor and innuendo. It is juicy and thus it is difficult to ignore. Yet, that's when journalists, even citizen journalists, must show the most restraint.

Instead, what we have seen is unholy alliance between the liberal Johnson and many conservative blogs. Conservative blog Redstate had an item on it. Rhiel World View also had an item. Stop the ACLU had an item as well. Several other smaller blogs followed suit as well. All of them carefully worded it and only presented rumor as rumor, but why present rumor at all.

Furthermore, many are linking to this video.

Now, in the video, it was a Fox News guest, not contributor, that spread the rumor, and it was challenged by Geraldo. So, gain, how does this advance the story? No one is on record as seeing the tape. If it is out there, there will be plenty of time to explore it. So why explore mere rumor now?
Rumors and innuendo are not journalism. Just because it is racy doesn't mean that journalists of any stripe should run with it. Furthermore, conservative bloggers are playing a duplicitous game. At the same time they question the sourcing of Johnson, they are perfectly happy to link to the story. By creating a blogging media firestorm, it lends more credence to the story naturally.

By pursuing this story so forcefully, what the right blogosphere does is marginalize itself. It becomes the outlet for filth and rumor, rather than legitimate debate. I don't know if there is a tape out there. If there is that is really bad news for Obama, however until there is I won't report on it. I will point out those that are willing to run with it though.


Anonymous said...

Although I do not like Senator Obama and plan to vote for Anyone But Obama, I believe your post is a fair criticism.

In the modern internet campaign, a candidate can be seriously injured by the endless repetition of stories which are complete fabrications. Many liberals "know" that John McCain cursed his wife in public - even though no one actually heard it.

Many conservatives "know" that there is a "whitey" tape, even though no one has actual seen it.

We need to stick to the facts. There are many perfectly legitimate reasons to dislike and distrust Senator Obama (the earmarks to Fr. Pfleger, for example). If we can't defeat him with the facts, then maybe he deserves to be president.

Redwood509 said...

The way I know it Larry Johnson has his own menu of ideas and is not what one could call a "Conservative" - a Republican- or "Right Wing" type. He is a frequent guest of Sunday morning radio show of the phony - pretentious Aussie Ian McMaster, a florid, rabid, frothing mad leftist with a tenure and a few debatable titles. The usual subject of the 2 hours radio show on Radio Pacifica, News from The Left Coast -oink-oink-rah-rah...(rela name) a mouth piece of the American Bolsheviks is to put down Bush, republicans, jews, Israel and everybody who may have different views than those of the hateful American Marxists. So for many, the U Turn taken by Larry Johnson is a surprise, because he was, is and in the future will remain an enabler and helper of the extreme left of this country.

Anonymous said...

Rumors are something a political campaign should be able to handle. The Obama campaign has shown no difficulty in spreading rumors or deflecting them at Mrs. Clinton (e.g. the African garb). Obama posters need only to look at Obama's official website to find ways to defend their candidate against this rumor or to spread rumors against Mrs. Clinton or Mr. McCain.

I'm not going to lose too much sleep on this one.


Anonymous said...

You won't report on rumor your lasy sentence states. Then what the hell was your rntire post about. YOU JUST REPORTED ON THE RUMOR!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of hurt that he did no include my blog as one of the ones that reported on it. You know, at the Partisan Report.

mike volpe said...

I did NOT report on the rumor. That is a crude and simplistic way of viewing the situation. I reported on the blogosphere's reaction to the rumor. What I reported on is the blogosphere's insistence on running full board with a rumor.

lawhawk said...

You linked to Johnson. You posted the video.

How again did you not advance the rumor?

Oh, I see that your spin is that you were merely commenting on the blog reaction to those rumors.

Spare me the sanctimony.

mike volpe said...

Of course, I linked to Johnson. It would violate fair use if I didn't.

My story is NOT about the rumor itself, but rather about gutter journalists like you that try to advance it while at the same time running a duplicitous game condemning the original source.

You have to explain the story. I can't merely say there is a rumor floating from a source I won't mention and a video I won't post.

Unlike you, my intention is not to advance the story, but rather to condemn gutter journalists like you, and your flimsy attack proclaiming that there is no difference between us is verification that I am right.

Anonymous said...

Haha, whitey. What a word. He is unelectable. Check out this website, there is a movement going on.