Smear Tactics, Left and Right

This one is so inane I wouldn’t even bother to comment if Memeorandum didn’t show that so many right wing blogs are drooling all over this one. This one is about on the same level as the repeated posts in conservative blogs where they link to one absurd diary at Daily Kos and claim it represents the views of Daily Kos and the entire liberal blogosphere. Today’s example of this form of right wing idiocy can get starts with a post from Ed Morrissey.

Captain Ed exposes a rather lame attempt to smear Fred Thompson with a blog promoting the KKK under a url similar to his actual blog site. With a little detective work, Ed shows that the blog is actually owned by an attorney who has contributed to liberal causes.

If Ed had patted himself on the back for exposing this I wouldn’t blame him at all. I really doubt that anyone would be fooled by this smear on Thompson, but the person who put it up certainly deserved to be exposed. Ed’s updates actually are rather amusing after the guy realized people were on to him. Unfortunately this is quickly taken by the conservative blogosphere to be not the act of one individual but something representative of progressives. For example, Blue Crab Boulevard calls this “the latest in progressive progress.” (Gaius also is apparently unaware that not all of us consider ourselves to be progressives as opposed to liberals.) Iowa Voice claims that “This is what the left does. Routinely.”

What is especially hypocritical about this is that, while there are certainly individual cases of such behavior on both sides, it is the right wing which has institutionalized smear tactics as its major strategy. From the Swift Boat Liars to Plamegate to the right wing commentator of your choice, this is business as usual for the right wing.

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  1. 1
    Captain Ed says:

    Well, I probably should not have used the plural in the title, but in my last update, I did warn people not to blindly equate Henry Reynolds to all liberals. I linked back to Jazz and Ron at MEJ, who often comment on my blog and put up a (deliberately) hilarious explanation of Reynolds’ intent.

    Both sides have their nutcases. I was just a lucky squirrel in this case to find Reynolds.

  2. 2
    Gaius says:

    Nonsense, Ron. You’ve taken what I wrote out of context. You can call yourself whatever you want; the ‘liberal’ label is being rejected by the ‘progressives’. That was the point of what I wrote. I merely reminded people of the history of ‘progressive” in the language.

    And a really nice generalized, sweeping condemnation at the end there. We could go around and around about who did what to who when but the extremes on the left are arguably worse. They are the first to throw a gay slur or a racist innuendo – despite their professed support for both. Someone on Kos did it just yesterday to Drudge after he posted the story about Armstrong pleading out of the SEC violation.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:


    “They are the first to throw a gay slur or a racist innuendo – despite their professed support for both. Someone on Kos did it just yesterday to Drudge”

    Wasn’t that just a lone person posting a diary at Kos? That’s what I mean by the difference between individual slurs as opposed to the organized use of slurs by the right. This is not simply a generalized, sweeping condemnation. It’s an accurate description of how the Republican party and allies run their campaigns.

    Captain Ed,

    Actually I rewrote the post from how I initially started it, reducing the blame on your part. As I see you agree, your title was a bit of a problem, but I did note your actual original post was more on the one guy as opposed to other conservative sites which did claim this is somehow characteristic of the left. That’s why I reorded it along the lines of “Unfortunately this is quickly taken by the conservative blogosphere…”

  4. 4
    Gaius says:

    One “diarist” and 153 mostly approving comments? (One comment did denounce the homophobic diarist, however – and appeared to mean it.)Or the “cutting edge humor” of putting Wolf Blitzer in blackface?

    You make a sweeping charge – show me the same level of nastiness on the right and we’ll talk. (I don’t have a link to the firedoglake blackface or the now erased HuffPo incident of the same, so you’ll have to settle for a fairly minor left blog post – but do read the comments on my post.)

    Incidentally, Ron, whether you realize this or not, I write all my own material – I do not do mailing lists (unlike Kos and kompany – does “townhouse” ring a bell?) and am notoriously bad about even reading my email. So charging that I am a cog in some machine is, at best, insulting.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    A diarist and people commenting on a blog don’t mean all that much. I already gave a few examples of the institutionalization of smear tactics by the right. This has nothing to do with mailing lists or whether you read your email.

  6. 6
    Gaius says:

    I see. So I am touted as an example of your idea of a right wing smear machine but the facts are irrelevant? Or did I miss something?

    And funny thing, you have avoided the points I raised. Why not address the homophobic and racist smears coming from the left, Ron? Doesn’t fit the model you have formulated?

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:


    “Or did I miss something?”

    Yes, you did miss something. You totally misunderstand my post. I am not touting you as an example of the right wing smear machine. I am touting you as one who is repeating the bogus claim that the actions obscure individuals are representative of all liberals.

    “Why not address the homophobic and racist smears coming from the left, Ron?”

    Have you actually read this blog before coming to that conclusion? I’ve often criticized things at Kos and other liberal sites when objectionable and signficant. I generally do not consider a diary at Kos to be something of enough significance to talk about. Not only have I criticized both left and right, this blog was established when I left The Democratic Daily in protest because of their attitudes on anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial. Since then the blog has been the target of a number of attacks from their corner of the looney left for the “sin” of criticizing others on the left.

    As I’ve written many times, there are plenty of kooks on the left and right. Using them to characterize either side is falacious. The real difference is that the Republican establishment uses smears as a major tactic to a much greater degree than any establishment liberal groups.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:


    It is also particularly absurd to base your argument on asking, “Why not address the homophobic and racist smears coming from the left?” While I’m sure you could find examples, homophobia and racism is far more prevalent on the right. More importantly, they have been a part of the instutionalized election strategy. The Republican southern strategy was largely based upon pandering to racism. It is hardly a coincidence that a map of the red states is virtually identical to the former slave-owning states and territories.

    Homophobia has also became a major aspect of Republican strategy iwth the use of gay marriage to bring out the vote. It is notable that not a single Republican was willing to attend the HRC/LOGO forum.

    Racism and homophobia aren’t topics I’ve written on very much with respect to either side, but if I did there are far more meaningful things to say about the right than the left. When you have to resort ot hunting down a diary on a group blog to make a case it only shows how desperate the rigtht is to fabricate their case against the left.

  9. 9
    beachmom says:

    I dropped a few comments on that DailyKos diary you guys are talking about. When I saw that post about Drudge being supposedly gay (which is a lie), I rolled my eyes and skipped over that subthread. I probably should have troll rated or told the idiot he was off topic, but there were over 900 comments on that diary, and I was skimming through it quickly. I am sure there are others who did the same as me.

    It’s just not right to characterize an entire community, especially one as big as DailyKos, based on a stray comment even if a few people agreed with him/her. Instead, I think it best to judge a site on the following: front page entries, recommended diaries, a majority of comments in a certain direction (although sometimes you can’t do that, if there is a roughly 50/50 argument). I’m just talking about being fair and being truthful. Obviously, the likes of Bill O’Reilly will never care about the truth. Clearly, that is not true of many on the Right (at least that is my hope).

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:


    “When I saw that post about Drudge being supposedly gay (which is a lie), I rolled my eyes and skipped over that subthread.”

    I’ve heard ocassional rumors regarding Drudge being gay which I haven’t paid any attention to them, primarily as even if he is gay it wouldn’t matter as well as assuming that they were just slurs.

    There’s far too much garbage (along with good stuff) at Kos and personally I couldn’t see wasting the with posts of this nature. As you say, such diaries on a site as big as Kos’s are not a fair way to judge the site. It says something when the conservative blogs have to dig for diaries as opposed to commenting on the actual front page entries. They come up with their slurs first, and then dig for such weak evidence.

    When I first saw conservative blogs attacking this post I checked the link. As soon as I saw it was a diary and not a front page entry I considered it irrelevant and didn’t waste any more time on either that post or the posts attacking it.

  11. 11
    beachmom says:

    For the record, that diary by The Angry Razakkan was front paged. So the diary itself was fair game but not individual comments. Also, I think diaries on the Recommended List obviously have a lot of support from the community and are also fair game.

  12. 12
    Jeff says:

    “What is especially hypocritical about this is that, while there are certainly individual cases of such behavior on both sides, it is the right wing which has institutionalized smear tactics as its major strategy. From the Swift Boat Liars to Plamegate to the right wing commentator of your choice, this is business as usual for the right wing.”

    I get very tired of so many on the left that cite “Swift Boat” and “Plamegate” as being smears by the right. A smear label is accurate if in fact what is being touted is incorrect. Unfortunately it has been shown time and time again that what over 200 Swift Boat sailors said against Jon Kerry was in fact TRUE. John Kerry lied and you guys on the left still won’t own up to the facts. Same with Valerie Plame, Libby and Cheney had NOTHING to do with her “outing”. Richard Armitage admitted that it was he that told Robert Novak and Armitage was no friend of Bush/Cheney. I would’t be at all surprised if it comes out eventually that he was doing it with Colin Powell’s tacit approval. Third, it has been well establishe that the left’s hero Joe Wilson is a LIAR. He lied about what his report said and he lied to congress.

  13. 13
    Ron Chusid says:


    I didn’t realize it was front page. That makes things a little different, but still one person’s writing at a site like Kos can hardly be used to characterize the liberal blogosphere..

    These things are fair gaime if you want to say that some liberal bloggers hold a certain belief, but not to extrapolate such beliefs to all. For that matter, Daily Kos as a site/community is not entirely representative of the full liberal blogosphere.

  14. 14
    Ron Chusid says:


    We have absolutely no interest in your distorted accounts here.

    The evidence has supported Kerry and demonstrated that the Swifties were fabricating politically motivated lies. The evidence was quite clear that there was a concerted effort to discredit Wilson and obstruct justice by people in Cheney’s office and the White House. Despite the claims on the right wing blogs, the accusations against Wilson have not held up and his statements have been verified.

    As I said, use of such smears is standard operating procedure of the right as people like you contine to spread them regardless of how throughly they have been discredited.

  15. 15
    beachmom says:

    The story itself said nothing about Drudge’s sexual orientation. Only an individual commenter — I don’t think individual comments are “fair game”. the diarist, The Angry Razakkan, is a member of

  16. 16
    Ron Chusid says:

    In that case its worse than I thought if they were making all that fuss over something someone said in a comment.

    Knowing Daily Kos, any off the wall thing could have been said by an individual. However, there is also the possibility in cases such as this of a conservative troll. From time to time tracking back controversial comments leads to various conservative forums where they are laughing about what they posted, unaware of how easy it is to track where someone came from.

  17. 17
    beachmom says:


    It is you who cannot accept the facts. John Kerry was telling the truth. This LA Times article from a year ago uses recently declassified Pentagon papers, so you can’t dismiss it.

    Headline: Civilian Killings Went Unpunished
    Declassified papers show U.S. atrocities went far beyond My Lai.,0,6350517.story?coll=la-home-headlines

  18. 18
    Ron Chusid says:


    I’m not sure if Jeff is speaking about Kerry’s Vietnam testimony or about the medals. Kerry’s accounts have been verified on each.

    With regards to Kerry’s testimony on Vietnam, there was no doubt as to accuracy of Kerry’s testimony even before the article you link to. The right wingers often complain about Kerry saying war crimes were committed. This generally comes down to Kerry’s testimony about the free fire zones, which are both a war crime and which have been verified to have occurred. What the right wingers leave out is that a major point of Kerry’s testimony was to defend the soldiers who were placed in such a position due to improper orders from those running the war.

    As for the medals, Kerry’s word has been verified by the military record, by historians who have reviewed the case, and by those who actually witnessed the events. The claims of the Swift Boat Liars not only contradict all available evidence, they sometimes even contradicted their own claims about Kerry. There are plenty of articles on the topic on the site here if anyone wants to see the evidence.

  19. 19
    beachmom says:

    You are correct, Ron. There are so many lies told about John Kerry, one has to read more carefully which category they are referring to. To add to what you have said, I saw Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia stand on the Senate floor in the summer of ’06 and recount how he remembers, as asst. to the Sec. of the Navy, when Kerry’s silver star came through their office. Then he said, “And I rechecked the records, and found them to be accurate”. A telling moment that puts the Right Wing attack dogs to shame.

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